The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church

Heroes Of Faith

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How did the number of Christians in the world grow from as few as 25,000 one hundred years after Christ's death to up to 20 million in AD 310? How did the Chinese underground church grow from 2 million to over 100 million in sixty years despite considerable opposition? In The Forgotten Ways, Alan Hirsch reveals the paradigmatic insights he discovered as he delved into those questions. He then translates these findings into the context of the contemporary Western church.

Hirsch identifies six latent potencies in God's people that lie dormant and forgotten until something catalytic prompts the rediscovery of them. These elements are clearly seen in the church during times of phenomenal growth and impact, but he suggests that they are actually always present and can be reactivated to create apostolic movement. He describes them as the centrality and lordship of Jesus, disciple making, the missional-incarnational impulse, organic systems, apostolic environment, and communitas (a type of community formed in situations of significant ordeal and/or mission).

A key missional leader, educator, and strategist, Hirsch draws from his own experiences, as well as the experiences of ministries around the world, to provide examples of growing churches, church planting movements, and other missional projects. He further illustrates his points with charts and diagrams, as well as a glossary of terms and an index.

Church leaders, strategists, seminary professors, and students will benefit from Hirsch's discoveries and his ability to put those ideas to work in contemporary churches and ministries.

0.74" H x 8.92" L x 6.1" W (1.1 lbs) 295 pages
Publisher: Brazos Press
US SRP: 19.99 US
Pub Date: January 2007

Author Information: Alan Hirsch is the founding director of Forge Mission Training Network. His experience includes mission and church planting to the marginalized as well as leading at the denominational level. He is coauthor of The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st-Century Church.

Endorsements: "Among the welter of 'how-to' books calling the church to this new strategy or that, The Forgotten Ways is a full-blooded and comprehensive call for the complete reorientation of the church around mission. Nothing less than the rediscovery of a revolutionary missional ecclesiology will do for Alan Hirsch. His book makes an irrefutable case for its establishment and offers the exciting, though frightening, DNA necessary for it to flourish. A master work."--Michael Frost, coauthor of The Shaping of Things to Come and author of Exiles

"This is a provocative and insightful contribution to the discovery of effective missional engagement with post-Christendom Western culture. Grounded in Alan's own experience as a missionary pastor and illustrated by examples from various places, The Forgotten Ways challenges and equips both inherited and emerging churches to recover the dynamic of a missional movement."--Stuart Murray Williams, author of Church after Christendom and Changing Mission: Learning from the Newer Churches

"It is refreshing to read a book relating to the missional church that provides theological depth coupled with creative thinking. Alan Hirsch reestablishes the essential links between Christology, missiology, and ecclesiology. The Forgotten Ways helps to rescue the concept of church from the clutches of Christendom, setting it free to become a dynamic movement in place of a dying institution."--Eddie Gibbs, coauthor of Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures and author of LeadershipNext: Changing Leaders in a Changing Culture

"A fascinating and unique examination of two of the greatest apostolic movements in history (the early church and China) and their potential impact on the Western church at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Hirsch identifies and describes the primal energies of apostolic movements and describes the components that make for catalytic, spontaneous expansion. The book may well become a primary reference book for the emerging missional church."--Bill Easum, Easum, Bandy & Associates (

"It is AD 30 all over again. While many church leaders are trying desperately to retrofit institutional expressions of Christianity in hopes of achieving better results, Al Hirsch helps us understand the necessity for us to reengage the movement in its primal missional form. This volume identifies a missional, not a methodological, fix if we want to experience first-century Christianity."--Reggie McNeal, author of Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders and The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church

"The Forgotten Ways is worth the price of the book simply for the diagrams in chapter 3. I feel the same way about his insights on movements later in the book. And every other chapter has the kind of rich insight and inspiring challenge that we have come to expect from Alan Hirsch."--Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian, A Generous Orthodoxy, and The Story We Find Ourselves In

"I have known and appreciated Alan's work and missional thinking for some years. His latest book clearly demonstrates his original and creative thinking. There are few books that one can describe as markers in the field of mission--this is one such book. It is essential reading for all those who are grappling with the key issue of what the church can and must become."--Martin Robinson, author of Planting Mission-Shaped Churches Today

"With a scholar's attention to detail and the critical lessons of history, as well as a first-century missionary's creative passion, Alan Hirsch recalls us to a faith life that is flexible, fast-moving, and unbound. He rescues the term 'missional' from the mass grave of church buzzwords in the process."--Greg Paul, author of God in the Alley: Being and Seeing Jesus in a Broken World; founder and director of Sanctuary Ministries in Toronto

"Alan has been shattering paradigms and challenging ideas for years. Now, in The Forgotten Ways, Alan describes missional movements and challenges us to reorder the church around its mission, all filtered through his deeply personal experience. You will be provoked, challenged, and motivated to embrace the missional DNA and incarnational impulse of the early church in your own life and ministry."--Ed Stetzer, author of Breaking the Missional Code and Planting Missional Churches

"The age of Christendom is over, but a renewed age of true Christian movements and discipleship is dawning. Churches and leaders who don't pay attention to the analysis presented here are liable to be deceived into a Christianity that is either locked in the passing Christendom mode or, conversely, lost in mere emerging fads. The biblically based and Jesus-centered focus of this book makes it stand out above dozens of other books on similar themes."--Howard A. Snyder, author of Radical Renewal, The Community of the King, and Models of the Kingdom

"The Forgotten Ways is a compelling challenge to awaken the church's innate entrepreneurial instinct and propel it into the fringes of our emerging culture. I recommend it highly, especially to those endowed with the boldness to align the church's operating system with the missional heart of God. Alan's book brings this vital edge to the emerging missional church conversation."--Andrew Jones,

"When I first read The Shaping of Things to Come there was one thing I didn't like about the book--I didn't write it. Now, with The Forgotten Ways, Alan has brought us closer to the reality of seeing a true apostolic church-planting movement in the West. This is a seminal work that will change our thinking, our vocabulary, and hopefully our way of being the church in this new century. I have already read the book twice and will probably devour it again."--Neil Cole, author of Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens and Cultivating a Life for God

"Alan Hirsch is right. Many of the more promising 'new' ways of 'doing church' today are not really new, but rather a recovery of what our predecessors once knew--insights that once formed and informed significant Christian movements that their successors forgot. Hirsch's model of the Emerging Missional Church will help many churches to recover from their long night of amnesia."--George G. Hunter III, Asbury Theological Seminary
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The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church
Heroes Of Faith




isbn - 10 

9781587431647 Paperback 1587431645 $ 13.95
They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, "We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son's robe." Genesis 37:32







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