Hello, everyone. This blog has moved to JOHNVOELZ.COM!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hirsch on Church

Thursday, our staff had an opportunity to hear Alan Hirsch speak in the Detroit area. I have been a fan of Alan’s books for a while.

Alan spoke for an hour on leadership, ecclesiology, church planting, mission and incarnating culture. I knew before we got there that Alan was going to have a big dose of “doing the same thing we have been doing won’t work anymore” and I was right. But, Alan had some great food for thought and it is always wonderful to hear someone frame ideas in a way that is tangible and inspiring and moves you to action. Too, we can become deaf very easily to a sentiment we hear often and I am thankful for men like Alan Hirsch who breathe new life and perspective.

Here are some of my takeaways:::

• We’ve inoculated the world to the church. Christology should form Misisology, which should form Ecclesiology. Yet, we have got it jumbled up and we have placed our Ecclesiology on the front end.

• Are we planting more religious stuff or are we getting back to Jesus? We have lost our sense of what incarnation means. Jesus dwelled in the neighborhood 30 years. Jesus gave us a model of our own humanity. Our churches have little resonance with the person and work of Jesus. Jesus made booze for the rednecks of Galilee as his first miracle.

• Jesus always comes up in conversation as one of the top three greatest people who ever lived (Mother Theresa, Gandhi). That is leverage for us. The church is the mechanism to deliver the message.

• The church is not an afterthought in God’s mind—it is preordained. It is the Mystery of God in the mind of God for eternity. The church as a cultural historical entity must always express itself cross culturally. If the church was a business, we would say you have a great product but your delivery system stinks.

• Listen to the music of a culture in order to interpret how to reach it.

• We need to think like foreign missionaries. If we do, we will begin to kick it up a notch and behave like a missionary.

• Our knowledge of God is most profoundly mediated through the second person of the trinity. He plays the most significant role in our imagination when it comes to missiology.

• Don’t plant churches—plant movements or . . . plant gospel. A movement is an ongoing dynamic. We can learn a lot from China—the phenomena of growth mirrors the early church—the experts are swinging in the wind and the people of God are rising up. The church in China is not afraid to cry “BS! BS! BS!” to the norms of church leadership and conventionality. When planting a movement, we are not thinking about planting “our” church. Every believer is a church planter—every church is a church planting church. Every Christian carries within them the power of ecclesia.

• As soon as Luther discovered the priesthood of all believers, he hid it because it was threatening to the church, church leadership, and the reformation. It simply became a doctrine rather than a practice.

• All the things you think you need you don’t need. Stop thinking like a church—be a movement.

• Americans are still mad enough to plant movements—Europe has given up.

• Decline is as exponential as growth and the American church is about to become the next Europe—churches falling like dominoes.

• It’s not so much that the church has a mission but the mission has a church.

If you are a church leader, go buy all of Alan's books. You can buy them right from his website.

blog comments powered by Disqus