This time Alan partners up with Tim Chatchim and Mike Breen…but truly, I don't know how he has done it over the last several years. Everytime I open up my Amazon account, there is another Hirsch book. Now, for some of us, redundancy would be the name of the game if we had to pull numerous books out of our souls even if given a lifetime to write. But Alan has consistently produced and delivered…frankly, if it wasn't for the fact that he articulates what is the foundation of his life in apostolic ministry, that being, the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, I would start wondering if he was more robotic than human.
Let me tell you up front, that I have only read the introduction. But as I tweeted today, I highlighted almost half of what I wrote. In all of Alan's books (and yes, I've read them all), he has not been as suscinct nor as prophetically targeted on THIS particular issue -
Here are some highlights of the INTRODUCTION…did you get that? The INTRODUCTION:
"We are forced to ask ourselves…what are God's orginal purposes in and through His people? Is the gospel capable of renewing the world and transforming the hearts of human beings? Did God really mean for the ecclesia to be the focal point for the wholesale renewal of society? Are we really called to be a colony of a much-disputed kingdom, or did Jesus intend that we become chaplains of a so-called Christian civilization in the West? These are the questions that take us to the core of our self-understanding and purpose, and we must be willing to ask them again and again."
"…we certainly do not believe that Christianity was ever meant to become a domesticated civil religion. As far as we can tell, Jesus intended us to be a permanent revolution-an outpost of the kingdom of God no less."
"The reality is that in a complex world with an ever-increasing rate of discontinuous change, we can use an existing approach only until the environment shifts, or a black swan requires an adaptive solution. A simple improvement in current practices will no longer do in these circumstances. When strategy and environment are radically incongruent, innovative strategies have to be explored in order to reengage the environment."
"We (Christ followers) were never meant to settle down and become a civil religion; there is no indication of that in our primary scriputs. It is time to become again the permanent revolution that we were meant to be in the first place."
"By changing our metaphors, or paradigms of church, we can change the game. The name we give to this different paradigm of church is simply apostolic movement…in short, apostolic movement involves a radical community of disciples, centered on the lordship of Jesus, empowered by the Spirit, built squarely on a fivefold ministry, organized around mission where everyone (not just professionals) is considered an empowered agent, and tends to be decentralized in organizational structure."
"Thinking like a movement instead of an institution has massive implications…"
So, my encouragement is to do one of two things – follow me over the next couple of weeks…I'll summarize major sections of the book as I make my way through it…secondly, and better yet, pick one up yourself. When Alan posted on Facebook and Twitter that this book was going to be most likely his most important in terms of ecclesiology I was tempted to diminish his words. Now I've come to see, that he is right!