In ‘The Forgotten Ways’ Alan Hirsch sets out to explore what he describes as the Apostolic Genius’. How did the early Church grow so phenomenally before AD 310? How did the Chinese Church flourish so much after our missionaries were sent home in the 1950’s? There are no easy answers offered here for which I am grateful, but as someone who loves the Church and doesn’t believe God has given up on us yet, I find so much to challenge, inspire hope and ignite passion in this book. I have to say this is one of those books I first read thinking ‘I wish I’d written that’! – it’s probably the best compliment I can pay anyone because I’m saying it gives expression to some of those things deep within myself which I’ve not been able to find the words for and yet, simultaneously, stretching me to new levels of thinking, and hopefully practice, not previously reached. I realise some people will read this and respond with a ‘been there, done that’. I struggle to see that, because what Alan Hirsch is doing here is trying to help us translate some of the wonderful thinking we all do about the Church, Mission, Discipleship, Culture, etc. today and enable us to make the connections in such a way the dynamics, intrinsically there in the gospel, can be released. I think we’d all have to say we have some way to go, but I’ve found ‘The Forgotten Ways’ a source of hope. This is not so much a review as a buy it asap if you’re in any way concerned about the present and future state of the Church.
We’re very fortunate to have Alan speaking at our next WEBA Leaders Day on July 15th. and I am really looking forward to it. If you’re not part of WEBA, but want to try and sneak in for £10, try e-mailing The Old Forge - firstname.lastname@example.org - and see if there's any space left.
For further exploration: www.theforgottenways.org