just felt a need to summarize some of the best insights from Alan Hirsch's, The Forgotten Ways. some of his quotes from others were very stimulating:
A church which pitches its tent without constantly looking out for new horizons, which does not continually strike camp, is being untrue to its calling... [we must] play down our longing for certainty, accept what is risky, and live by improvisation and experiment.
here's a simple outline of the main points of the book:
1. the heart of it all: Jesus is Lord
"when the surrounding culture intrudes on the lordship of Jesus and his exclusive claim over all aspects of our lives, then monotheism functions as the defining criteria by which we can discern between syncretism and incarnational mission." -- if Jesus doesn't change everything, then we have missed the point
2. disciple making
- "it will mean that we ourselves must become a substantial representation of what for many outside of Christ is an otherwise rather nebulous theory." ['we want to lower the bar on how church is done and raise the bar on what it means to be a disciple.' Neil Cole]
- "the key to Methodism's success was the high level of commitment to the Methodist cause that was expected of participants ('the recovery of the truth, life and power of earliest Christianity and the expansion of that kind of Christianity' George Hunter).
- "this cause declined to the degree that the movement moved away from its original missional ethos (evangelism & disciple making) and degenerated into mere religious legalism maintained by institution, rule books and professional clergy." -- can we repeat that again, for all to hear?
3. missional-incarnational impulse
- "the fact that God was in the Nazareth neighbourhood for 30 years and no one noticed should be profoundly disturbing to our normal ways of engaging mission."
- "mission in the incarnational mode is highly sensitive to the cultural forms and rhythms of a people, because these are the means of meaningful relationship and influence." -- being in and amongst people as jesus was in and amongst people
4. apostolic environment
- ('to the degree that you hold purpose and principles in common among you, you can dispense with command and control' Dee Hock)
- "apostolic leaders see as essential, networking the churches and exhorting the disciples by traversing among them, cultivating leadership and issuing guidance to ensure a correct apprehension and integration of the gospel message in the common and individual lives of the hearers."
- ['the central task of leadership is to build an apostolic, charismatically empowered, ministering community based on Eph 4:11-12.' Howard Snyder]
5. organic systems
- "emergence happens when a living system is in adaptive mode, all the elements in the system are relating functionally, and distributed intelligence is cultivated and focused through shared information."
- "That is why it is the network structure, where power and responsibility are diffused throughout the organization and not concentrated at the center, that more approximates our real nature and calling as the body of Christ."
6. communitas, not community
- "communitas happens in situations where individuals are driven to find each other through a common experience of ordeal, humbling, transition, and marginalization. it involves intense feelings of social togetherness and belonging brought about by having to rely on each other in order to survive." [with reference to Victor Turner]
- "maturity and self-actualization require movement and risk, and that adventure is actually very good for the soul."