10 questions for Alan Hirsch

Alan Hirsch-2
1. Question: Why did you write Forgotten Ways?

Answer: To cultivate an apostlic imagination and practice for the 21st century church.

I was fascinated with the question of what makes an apostolic movement tick? How did they do it? I ended up exposed to the phenomenon of the apostolic church in it's elemental forms—no resources and yet amazing growth and impact against the odds.

2. Question: What are you reading?

Answer: The Wisdom of Crowds by Surowiecki, an interesting book on how mass groups of people can be very smart.

Refounding the church by Arbuckle.

Lastly, Subversive Orthodoxy by Inchausti.

3. Question: What are you writing?

Answer: I'm writing with Michael Frost on a missional take on Christology. We're examining the place of Jesus in shaping the people of God as radical missionary movement.

4. Question: What are you learning?

Answer: I'm learning about multliplication movements and cause-driven people movements. In the West it takes a lot of resources to get a church planting movement off the ground. Our idea of the Church is too institutional. A dynamic movement has to multiply from the beginning. We need to simplify the ecclesiolgy so it's less onerous and more reproducible.

The Starfish and Spider has been a great resource for this.

5. Question: What are you excited about?

Answer: I'm too tired to be excited!

Seriously, I am excited about relocating to the US in June this year. I have a sense of destiny about the move.

I hope two things will come out of it. Firstly, I'd like to help develop training systems for missional leadership. Missio is an important partner with me in this.

There's a hunger in the US for a fresh take on the church and mission. The US is still key to impacting the Christian movement globally.

I'm also working on a Doctorate in the area of monotheism, Chistology and missiology. Monotheisim: one God over against the claim of many gods, shaped by Christology and informing missiology.

6. Question: What's the future of the emerging church?

Answer: I place myself within the Emerging church. But I am concerned that its movement ethos can be anxious and doubtful.

It must guard its ethos and focus on its transformative vision for the world. The Emerging church must not lose its sense of the centrality of the Gospel. It must remain confident in the message of the gospel. It must commit itself to a subversive orthodoxy— orthodoxy in the historic sense.

7. Question: What's the difference between “Emerging church” and “Missional church”?

Answer: I'm moving away from Emerging church as a term. I think it's been hijacked by side debates. Emerging is about contextualizing church and the Gospel in a postmodern world.

Context is a subset of missions. Missional church sees ourselves as a missional agency of God in the world. All churches have to be missional. Not all churches need to be “emerging”. Established church can be missional. Emerging churches can be non-misisonal and internally focused.

8. Question: What projects are you working on?

Answer: We've done a lot of work on creating online learning systems around the release of Forgotten Ways. We're just about to release some exciting new tools on the forgottenways website: the APEST Test, Missional Fitness, and Training Options.

I'm also doing some fun stuff with missio, Christian Associates, Dawn Europe, and glocalnet.

9. Question: If you were in your 20s, starting all over again, what would you do?

Answer: Start with applying organic multiplication ideas. Discipleship as a fundamental. I'm in full agreement in Neil Cole in his focus on discipleship and multiplication. If I was starting again I'd want to start a movement on that basis.

10. Question: At the end of your life, what do you want to be remembered for?

Answer: The church in the West is waking up. It's coming out of it's long slumber. It's beginning to see itself in a more “dangerous” potentially missional form. I think the “tipping point” for the idea of missional church happend two to three years ago.

I want to help birth and nuture the missional church wherever I find it. I have a great heart for the West. I want to be a midwife to what God is doing in birthing apostolic movements that will reach the West. That's why I wrote Forgotten Ways.


“The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church” (Alan Hirsch)