THE SHAPING OF THINGS TO COME: MISSION AND INNOVATION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY CHURCH
Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch
In The Shaping of Things to Come Alan Hirsch
and Michael Frost take on the role of bringing forth a strong counter argument to the structure and actions that churches have been holding for many years. No longer should we be comfortable with the status quo of how church has been seen as successful for years through their attractional, dualistic and hierarchical models(p.18). Frost and Hirsch believe that “what the church needs is a revolutionary new approach”(p.6) that is incarnational with messianic spirituality and apostolic leadership(p.30).
By moving away from the Christendom model that ‘attractional’ church holds on to, the authors encourage a critical analysis of the current culture. With a greater understanding of the context in which one is aiming to build a faith community, there is then openness and flexibility to facilitate a spiritual journey that embraces all people and does not promote a ‘bounded-set approach’ (p.50). Through this new approach there is more scope to create a missional, incarnational faith community that connects with those that have previously been marginalised by structured faith environments.
Through Hirsch and Frost being willing to step outside the box and bring a contrary opinion to what is predominantly occurring in our churches, the reader is encouraged to become vulnerable to a lifestyle that dares us to “live in close proximity to those we are seeking to reach”(p.54). The idea that our faith should be a part of every single aspect of our life permeates through every topic explored in the book. While this is expounded more thoroughly in the later part of the book through Soren Kierkegaard’s wisdom that ‘our lives – our very existence – is our communication’ (p.154) it is clear that the importance of living lives of integrity is evident in each chapter. No longer should we separate our faith from the rest of our lives but integrate it into every aspect and hold our whole being to be open to a spiritual discovery.
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.