The Challenge

20 05 2008

A few weeks ago there was a conference called “Exponential” in Orlando.  The three keynoters were Tim Keller, Andy Stanley and Alan Hirsch (and then Rick Warren showed up – so there were really 4 keynoters).  Most of us know Keller, Stanley and Warren but I doubt many of us know anything about Alan Hirsch?  Two of Hirsch’s books The Shape of Things to Come (2003) (co-authored with Michael Frost) and The Forgotten Ways (2007) (co-authored with Leonard Sweet) are being widely discussed on the blogs and have much to say about the church in this time and place. 


Following is a paraphrase of a statement made by Alan Hirsch that I read recently: 


The church in the West is facing a massive adaptive challenge: positively in the form of compelling opportunity and negatively in the form of rapid, discontinuous change. These twin challenges comprise a considerable threat to Christianity locked, as it is, into the prevailing Constantinian (Christendom) form of church with all its associated institutional rigidity. We are in a situation of liminality – the transition from one fundamental form of the church to another. Environments of discontinuous change require adaptive organizations and leadership that require a pioneering and innovative mode of leadership to help the church negotiate the new territory in which it finds itself. This is clear enough when we consider the Emerging Missional Church, which relies heavily on an innovative pioneering spirit, but it is equally true for established churches.


Q: What things are you reading that agree or disagree with his comments?  What do you think?




One response

21 05 2008

Thanks Eric for getting this started. I personally prefer living in Thomasville to living in liminality.

But I have to face the fact that the culture that we are living in is changing in ways that will make the way we have always done church irrelevant. The church will be more relevant than ever, but not the way it has been. The best example of this is my two children. Though probably Christians, they have no use for church right now.

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