I read The Shaping of Things to Come by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch some time ago. I imagine that most people who have read the book have continued thinking through the issues it raises a long time after they’ve filed the book away on their bookshelf.
Both Frost and Hirsch have since written new books. Michael Frost has written Exiles while Alan Hirsch has released the book The Forgotten Ways.
The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church, covers some of the same ground as The Shaping of Things to Come which makes it worthwhile as a follow up or as a stand alone book.
The Shaping of Things to Come asked a lot of deep questions and pointed us towards possible directions. The Forgotten Ways seeks to build on the ground already covered but helps to plot a way forward for the missional church.
Introducing the book on the website of The Forgotten Ways we read a couple of questions that set us up for what the book is looking to answer.
How did the number of Christians in the world grow from as few as 25 000 one hundred years after Christ’s death to up to 20 million in AD 310?
How did the Chinese underground church grow from 2 million to over 100 million in sixty years despite considerable opposition?
In The Forgotten Ways, Alan Hirsch reveals the paradigmatic insights he discovered as he delved into those questions. He then translates these findings into the context of the contemporary Western church.”
I had the great pleasure of speaking with Alan Hirsch about his book and his understanding of missional church last week. My interview with Alan will be broadcast on 98.5 Sonshine FM both tonight and tomorrow night.
To listen to the interview online simply press the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.
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When we cycled past the Great Australian Bight last year we stopped to have a quick look at the cliffs. I was once again reminded of one of the great lessons God taught me on one of my first visits by bike.
Many years ago on our way to Canberra by pushbike, we stopped for a quick peek. Being someone who’s afraid of heights I wasn’t too keen on getting too close to the edge.
From a safe distance back I could see a spectacular view across the ocean and some of the other cliffs.
When I finally plucked up the courage to move slowly forward I got to the edge – on my hands and knees mind you – but I got there. The view was so much better because I could look down and see the surf pounding the rocks. I could see a lizard running through the cracks in the rocks. I could look straight down and see the rock-face disappear before my eyes. I was up close to the action and the view was no longer just ‘nice’ it was breathtaking, exhilarating.
I could have thought – no that’s not for me – and to this day I would never have known what I’d missed. I would still think I’d seen the most spectacular view. It was only when I moved away from my comfort zone and got close to the edge that I realised what it was all about.
We need to move out of what’s comfortable when we serve God because it’s only when we can rely on nothing else but God that God can truly work.
As we seek to serve God we can do one of two things. Do our very best for God and hope that it’ll be good enough – or let God do his best through us – knowing that nothing less really is good enough.
It’s scary when we’re not in control and we don’t know where God will lead us next but it’s a fantastic ride.
God is calling each of us to participate in his plans for this world. Not if we feel comfortable about it but calling us to be involved – relying only on the fact that we know the God we serve – and we know that he will equip us for every task.
Are we listening? More importantly – are we obeying?
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