Tag Archives: Alan Hirsch

5 for Leadership (8/10/12)

Today’s 5 will expose you to some new authors for me.  I have included a powerful leadership story, some great leadership principles, and some timely leadership quotes.  Enjoy.

Red Marbles and a Very Kind Leader  You must read this post.  I found it on the Teamwork and Leadership blog.  It is the story of personal leadership with influence and great generosity.  For me it highlights well that all leadership is influence and that generosity in leadership is often a forgotten component.

Overcoming The Fear of Asking  Are you an inquisitive leader?  If not, why not?  This is something I struggle with at times.  I either think that I am wasting someone else’s time or I fall into the trap that I don’t have time to be an asking leader.  This post from the Leadership Solutions blog provides some very practical reasons and practices for becoming a more inquisitive leader.

Leadership By Choice  I have often highlighted the Leading Blog for it’s quality content.  This offering is a simple four part evaluation to better determine if you are leading with great intentionality.  It is a brief summary of a book written by Eric Papp.  I think all four parts are critical and worthy of our reflection.

Can A Church Be Both Attractional and Missional?  This comes from Tony Morgan’s blog and is an interview with Dave Ferguson.  Dave and Alan Hirsch recently co-authored a book entitled On The Verge.  This is an insightful interview on this ongoing and very important topic.  It will give you a taste of the book.

Leadership Summit: Bill Hybels  The well known Willow Creek Leadership Summit is currently in progress.  I returned to Tony Morgan’s blog for this offering because he has been capturing some of the key principles and quotes from the summit for our digestion.  Here is Tony’s gleanings from Bill’s opening address.

There are the 5 for this week.  Lead well!

Europe’s Next Generation Leaders

I just finished a really significant week in Rome. Twenty emerging leaders from all over Western Europe for Campus Crusade gathered in Rome for the 2nd installment of the Next Generation Leaders initiative. This is a two and half year effort that gathers every 6 months for a week of energetic action learning towards becoming more effective Christ-centered leaders. The first gathering took place this past September in Ethiopia and the focus then was on community. The emphasis for Rome was on movements. Alan Hirsch (pictured front row far right) led four seminars on “The Forgotten Ways.” It was a very stimulating time of considering what true spiritual people movements look like–what is the core of what made the early church tick and how can we recover those essential principles today. We also spent time looking at how to develop learning teams, spiritual disciplines, and the value of feedback in personal development. The schedule was also spiced with daily prayer partners and corporate prayer. And we took advantage of some on site spiritual learning at the Colosseum, the San Calisto catacombs, and the church of Quo Vadis.

Two of our Italian leaders are participating–one of which I am personally coaching. Between the 6 month installments there are a number of reading, writing and reflection assignments that each participant must complete. Each leader must also live out a personal development plan and actively apply their overall learning to their local ministry setting.

My role during this week was primarily to observe and get a better feel for the process. I will take an active role in planning the next wave of training that will begin in the fall of 2010 with a whole new group of European leaders. I did get to serve as a mentor–meeting with two of the emerging leaders each day to discuss personal application of their assignments and current learning from the seminars. It was a rich time for me to get to know these men and women a little better and understand what they are up against in their various nations–Europe is a tough mission field–but being around these leaders gave me great hope that God has not forgotten His church and will always raise up the people necessary to extend the gospel–even here.

The Other Three Critical Components

The picture to the right is a depiction of Jesus and the twelve on an outer wall of the Montserrat cathedral. While quite striking I did notice that all 13 figures are portrayed as very old and pretty stoic–I wonder if that is how they really lived and led in this new venture called Christianity in the 1st century.

Today, I want to complete the description of what Alan Hirsch posed as six critical components of church DNA for the 21st century. In the last post I attempted to describe Jesus as Lord, Missional Incarnational Impulse, and Apostolic Leadership. Now for the other three:

4. Disciple Making
Hirsch argues that we are not really that good at this in Western Christianity–but we are comfortable with the notion because the concept is familiar. Hirsch sees this as the core task of the church–and it is vitally connected to the center, “Jesus as Lord.” The scriptures tell us that we are to be conformed more and more to the image of Christ–to become true representatives of Jesus out in the world–this takes real discipleship. Hirsch also advocates that we disciple both believers and unbelievers–and know that some will be evangelized along the way. This makes sense in Hirsch’s paradigm in light of an incarnational gospel–because this is a life on life approach to both evangelism and discipleship. One of the key phrases you will hear from Hirsch is that “we must lower the bar on church and raise the bar on discipleship.” He feels we have weakened discipleship in our current settings–even in the midst of an emphasis on small groups. Discipleship should result in a person embodying the message of Christ–and embodiment of the message is essential to transmission of the message. Hirsch goes one step further in stating that the quality of our leadership will be completely in line with the quality of our discipleship. The bottom line of discipleship is a deep involvement in a person’s life. Discipleship is face to face and it is primarily experiential. It is not just about educating a person’s mind–but engaging them in experiences that cause them to trust God in new and fresh ways.

5. Organic Systems
This is how we organize movements. Hirsch argues for organizing according to natural life systems. It has the “feel” of a movement–very spontaneous, flat in its organizational structure, and self reproducing. At the core, people absolutely believe in the message of the movement. Power and authority are distributed out–not centralized. There really is a sense of chaos and organization working together. The centralizing piece is the DNA–the core concepts or principles of the movement–but there is great freedom in the function of living our that core DNA. These core values combined with freedom of function is what can propel the movement and keep it organic.

6. Communitas
Notice Hirsch does not list number six as “community.” He is not advocating that just mutual fellowship will get the job done. He is aiming at something else–he is aiming at community built around shared faith experiences. This creates a different quality of community and bonding. Two critical aspects of this communitas are liminality (being thrown into something that is over your head) and ordeal (the actual challenge or goal to be reached). Hirsch points out that we see this both in Scripture and in our culture. In recent times, events such as September 11th and the Tsunami tragedy served to greatly rally people together in community to minister to the victims. In the Bible we see Jesus taking the 12 out and exposing them to many faith challenging situations–resulting in a greater learning and bonding. A part of this is to help a disciple really learn to live out their faith in the world. This also provides the sense of adventure in life and in the movement.

There you have it–six core components that Hirsch would say are essential if the 21st century church is to survive and have significant impact. I have been thinking at two levels as I consider this–both for my church here in Austin and for Campus Crusade as whole. I am still thinking–join me. I look forward to your musings on this topic.

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.

Mission & Innovation

The second half of my week in Spain was spent at Montserrat–a 1000 year old Benedictine community north of Barcelona. The setting was incredible. The focus of the time was a conference on Mission and Innovation within the church. Alan Hirsch, coauthor of The Shaping of Things to Come, was the guest lecturer. Representatives from some nine different European countries and the U.S. were present.

Hirsch laid a foundation for why he believes that the current model of church will not be effective in reaching the 80-85% of the unreached peoples of the world. He cited statistics
showing the rapid decline of the current established church–noting that the current models are that of church growth and the attracitonal model.

Hirsch argued for six core elements of missional DNA that he feels are essential if the church is to survive and be effective in today’s postmodern setting: first and foremost, the clear biblical principle that Jesus is Lord; second, a Missional Icarnational Impulse; third, an Apostolic environment; fourth, Disciple Making; fifth, Organic Systems; and sixth, Communitas.

There were some great exchanges within the group as we sought together to figure out what it might take to become a more missional movement in Western Europe and the U.S. More later on each of the core elements.