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The New Conspirators
Artist: Tom Sine
Publisher:  Paternoster (IVP)
304pp Paperback
Tom Sine collects stories like some people collect music or pictures. As a futurologist, he travels the world finding out what God is doing with individuals and small groups across the planet, discerning the trends and tracing their direction forwards. He aims to find out how God wants to change us to meet future challenges, and cultivate new inventive ways to build his kingdom.
Sine does not have a limited view of how much Christians can achieve or the forces that are stacked against them. He sees “the global mall” as the enemy of society, conning consumers into spending ever more, only to be dissatisfied, and to lose hours of life in working ever harder to fund the false hope. His ultimate dream for readers seems to be that they would buy their property in ways that create micro-communities that let fellow-Christians model true community and share living costs in order to release cash to fund a more mission-shaped lifestyle. But he knows that in reality, people will settle for far smaller projects and expressions of their faith: “I don’t expect for a moment that most readers would consider designing or living in this kind of alternative residential community.” 
This is why he so loves the phrase that was the title of the book that brought him to the attention of the church 30 years ago: mustard seed conspiracy. He sees us all having small mustard seeds of faith that can grow into far bigger things if we join with God in his conspiracy of hope. 
In an ever-changing world, our view of where God is working has to be constantly reviewed and this collection of stories updates and so replaces many of his previous books, as he sees God moving particularly in four major streams of re-invented church: emerging church, multi-cultural (Mosaic) church, missional church, and contemporary monastic movements. While he details these separate strands at the beginning, he soon moves to signs of God’s movement that all seem to share.
At the start, I kept notes of relevant pages and notable quotes, but after a while I found there were so many that it was almost pointless to try. The whole book is a very rich seam of inspiration, full of practical ideas that people of faith can pick up and work with together. It seems vital for any church leadership to be in step with God and to devise strategic means to build the kingdom. This book is a genuine must for consideration, if only for the analysis of where we are now. But Sine, though a humble man, does pointedly refer to times his predictions have been right, when ignored by others. 
As a Licensed Lay Minister, I have weighed up many writers’ advice on church direction, but Sine generally projects implications that others miss out. Mission organizations would do well to note his comments on the lack of future voluntary funding, because of the demographic trends in financial giving. His track record of seeing where the church needs to go is strong, and this book is full of experience, wisdom and inspiration. While he repeats himself a little and occasionally loses clarity, this is still a work that I recommend as invaluable for any church leader, strategist or teacher who takes the role seriously. 
Derek Walker



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