I was recently able to meet Alan Hirsch and listen to him speak at a couple events. I’ve finally made the time to sit down and record some of his points. Recording all the thoughts I have will take several posts. For this introductory post, I’m focusing on the portion of Alan’s talk pertaining to the Christian church’s recent history, its prognosis, and what is required to get back on track.
- The USA is the last hope of Christianity in the Western world. Australia has lost it. New Zealand has lost it. Europe, and the rest have had their go at Christianity and it has fizzled into obsolescence.
- 60% of the US will never be reached by the “seeker sensitive” movement. Without making any judgments on the pros and cons of this approach, it will only affect people that actually go to church. If people don’t show up at your door, what will you do about that?
- We have to ask ourselves two questions. #1 – Who are we trying to reach? // #2 – What are we trying to create?
- We (the church) are reaching the “oh crap” moment. If we don’t want to be irrelevant, we had better look at what we are doing and what we are willing to change.
- The problems of the world cannot be resolved by the same kind of thinking that got us here in the first place.
- We are perfectly designed to achieve what we are currently achieving. For example, if you are declining, there is probably something fundamental in your leadership that is creating decline.
- If we’re not transforming the world, something has gone horribly wrong.
- The original movement was not made up of professionals. It was just people (Jesus and his disciples) changing people. Certainly there is a place for church builders, consultants, speakers and the rest – but it was not these things that the church was built upon. The church was built on average people.
- The church of Jesus is such that everyone gets to play. You don’t need a degree or an ordination. You just have to get involved in people’s lives.
- Church leadership should be more amateurs and less professionals.
- The typical ecclesial solution is “more churches!” More churches are not a bad thing, per se, but we are missing the laity aspect. In other words, the mission of the church is not merely the mission of “the church organization”. It is the mission of everyone everywhere.
- It’s tough to call something a “movement” when there is no movement.
- The root word “missio” = sent. It is the root of the word missionary as well as the word missile. We have been sent. Are we going anywhere?
- We need to learn to be missionaries again – in our own back yard
- Be in movement! – That means actually doing something!
- We need to simultaneously move out and move in. Move out, because we are sent (missio). Move in, because we need to be incarnational just as Jesus was. He came to our neighborhood, wore our clothes and spoke our language. Are we willing to become a part as he did, or are we going to remain apart as the church tends to do?
More to come, I’m sure, but this is a good chunk of Alan’s message. This is what drives him, and it is very compelling. If you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend his books.
QUESTION: How does this concept of missio, and being willing to move out and move in impact how we do church?