Book Review – Alan Hirsch’s “The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church”

This is a great book and one which I will be revisiting as I work on my dissertation.  Hirsch has helped my perspective of the church as an organism and reintroduced the organizational and/or organism structure which will definitely help me as a doctor of the church.  The church grew from 25,000 Christians in AD 100 to 20 million in AD 310 just before the time of Constantine.  Hirsch presents this thought and question, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single question… How did they do that?  The purpose of the book is to answer this question in such a way as to provide a solution to the struggle between the modern church and the postmodern church.  According to Hirsch the solution is in what he termed “Apostolic Genius.”  The Apostolic Genius is the unique energy and force which has influenced historic Jesus movements.  According to Hirsch God has imparted six elements to every church which makes up its missional DNA (mDNA) as a living organism.  Five elements (missional incarnation impulse, apostolic environment, discipleship making, organic systems, and communitas) are viewed with the Christocentric theology that Jesus is Lord in the center and the elements growing out from Him (See page 275 for diagram).  Each element has an effect on the others and activates the “Apostolic Genius.”  As a pastor it is easy for me to follow the pattern or structure of other local churches or other pastors.  As a future doctor of the church and from what I have learned from Hirsch’s book I have a fresh understanding that the church is an organism with and how it grows does not necessary meet our preconceived structures.  This is exciting because the church is alive as a movement and growing in such ways to be the Body of Christ that is needed for this day.

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