More on the Innovation & Mission Seminar

Alan Hirsch presented six core principles for the 21st century church. Today I will try and give a brief description of the first three.

1. Jesus is Lord
This sounds obvious–but Hirsch took strides to exegete Duet. 6:4-5. He argued that the Great Shamah is not just about monotheism–but it is essentially about lordship. Jesus is not just one of many gods but He is God and He is God over every aspect of our lives. We in the west are famous for segmenting our lives–allowing Jesus to be Lord over the convenient parts. But the passage emphasizes that not only is Jesus Lord–but He is my Lord. In the diagram that Hirsch uses to portray these principles–this one is at the very center. This is bedrock and gives meaning to the other five.

2. Missional Incarnational Impulse
Hirsch described this phenomena as the kingdom of God being sneezed out–spreading like a virus. Like all social movements the gospel spreads from person to person. This is the missional aspect–every follower of Jesus “sneezing” out the gospel. This stands in contrast to what Hirsch calls the attractional model of many churches today–where we expect by putting on a great “show” the unbeliever will come to us. The incarnational aspect is that we must move among those we want to reach. Just as Jesus was God incarnate–donning human flesh and moving among us–so we must live, work, and play among others we intend to “sneeze” on. A virus does not spread very well from a distance–but it is almost impossible to stop when close up.

3. An Apostolic Environment
This is the leadership environment of the church. Hirsch argued that true spiritual leadership is bottom up leadership–not hierarchal. It’s authority comes from a life well lived–not a title. Apostolic leadership is leadership that extends the mission. The apostolic leader lives to extend Christianity and his chief concern is to protect the gospel message. Hirsch argues that these types of leaders are not valued today–the teacher/pastor gift is far more valued in our current model of church. Hirsch states that there is really a five fold leadership structure that is needed within every body of believers: apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. But he would stress that he believes that the first three are rarely valued and empowered–yet very necessary. This is what propels the missional incarnational impulse.

I will follow up on the other three elements tomorrow. Think on these things.

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