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On the Verge: A Journey Into the Apostolic Future of the Church (Exponential Series) [Kindle Edition]

Alan Hirsch , Dave Ferguson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The church is on the verge of massive, category shifting, change.
Contemporary church growth, despite its many blessings, has failed to
stem the decline of Christianity in the West. We are now facing the fact
that more of the same will not produce different results. Our times
require a different kind of church---an apostolic, reproducing, movement
where every person is living a mission-sent life.
Many of the best and brightest leaders in the contemporary church are
now making the shift in the way they think, lead, and organize.
Motivated partly by a vision of the church as ancient as it is new, and
with a driving desire to see Biblical Christianity establish itself in
Western cultural contexts, we are indeed seeing a new form of the church
emerge in our day. Hirsch and Ferguson call this 'apostolic movement'
because it is more resonant with the form of church that we witness in
the pages of the New Testament and in the great missional movements of

In this book, Hirsch and Ferguson share a rich array of theology,
theory, and best practices, along with inspiring stories about leaders
who have rightly diagnosed their churches' failure to embrace a biblical
model of mission and have moved toward a fuller expression of the
gospel. On the Verge will help church leaders discover how these
forerunners and their insights are launching a new apostolic
movement---and how any church can get involved.

Editorial Reviews


On the Verge is one of those pace-setting books that will cause you to think, rethink and change your paradigm for what the church can become.  This is a must read if you want to transition your church into the future.
- Craig Groeschel - Lead Pastor, Life Church

This book does more than provide solutions: it gives hope that the Church's best days are yet to come.
- Greg Surratt, Lead Pastor - Seacoast Church

There can never be a timelier conversation than the one God wants to have! And there could never be two more qualified voices to further the dialogue.
- Reggie McNeal (from the foreword) Author of Missional Renaissance

A spot on approach for the mega and church growth churches of the last decades to reframe ourselves as high impact, exponentially reproducing, missional movements.
- Mike Slaughter, Ginghamsburg Church and author of Change the World

Finally, a book of that not only connects you to the possibilities of apostolic movement, but gives you practitioner-based principles and stories that will help you live and lead in God's Gospel wave for the future."
- Hugh Halter, Author of The Tangible Kingdom, TK Primer, AND, & Sacrilege.

Hirsch and Ferguson point the way towards an exquisitely hopeful future for the church...and they show how the church united can be the church ignited. Brilliant.
- Linda Bergquist, church planting strategist with the North American Mission Board and co-author of Church Turned Inside Out

As you read this book, I'm sure you will find that the voices of these two great leaders become one and you hear the voice of Jesus inviting you to join his mission and love the church he is building.
- Mike Breen, (from the foreword) Director of 3DM and founder of the Order of Mission


'Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson are an exciting fusion for a book with stories, experiments, and best practices of the innovative, frontline churches. Europe has cause for great hope on the verge of something very significant in the life of the church in the west. With this book, inspiration and encouragement is given for all existing and future churches in Europe.' -- N. D. Strupler|There is a desperate need around the world for established churches to become more effective missional ventures into their local communities. Alan and Dave are passionate about this cause and On the Verge is an outstanding resource packed full of lessons for those serious about engaging in this exciting yet challenging adventure. I highly recommend it! - Mark Conner, CityLife Church – Australia -- Mark Conner|'This is a must read for every pastor and denominational leader. Alan and Dave have masterfully described the path to multiplication by revealing what it means to see an orchard in every activating 'the latent potentials that are already present but largely inactive in most churches.' It is seeing the potential for a church in the DNA of every believer. This is the 'both/and' approach that is desperately needed in the Church.' -- Tammy Dunahoo|'American pastors are naturally pragmatic. As these pastors look at the church scene there is a nearly unanimous note of despair and frustration: church is not working very well. And doing the same old thing and expecting different results is not the solution. The world in which the American church finds itself is radically changing; a changing world demands a changing church. The American church at its core needs to recapture and live out an “apostolic genius.” Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson in On the Verge invite readers to re-imagine what it means to be church. They contend that any church can be missional, and every church must be missional. This is not a call to new and quick fixes, rather it is an invitation to reflect and work hard, to question old structures, and be open to emerging structures, and to do all of this with a prayerful confidence in the moving of the Lord. I highly recommend this book to pastors and church leaders who are willing to be disturbed and are eager to see the Lord work in new ways.' -- Kurt Fredrickson|'For most leaders, the words 'apostolic' and 'movement' emote fear, guilt, and a sense of hopelessness. Finally, a book of deep concepts not only connects you to the possibilities, but gives you practitioner-based principles and stories that will help you live and lead in God's Gospel wave for the future.' -- Hugh Halter, , Author|Hirsch and Ferguson point the way towards an exquisitely hopeful future for the Church. They call upon it, in all of its various expressions, to rekindle and release it their essential missional DNA, and they show how the church united can be the church ignited. Brilliant. - Linda Bergquist, church planting strategist with the North American Mission Board and co-author of Church Turned Inside Out -- Linda Bergquist, , Author|'God is on the move and the church is On the Verge of seeing new apostolic movements in the West. This book shows us that even some of the churches considered by many to be highly successful in the US are not content with bigger and better worship services but are seriously considering ways to eventually release apostolic movements. It is encouraging to see that these high-profile churches realize that true success is becoming reproducible, empowering of the ordinary follower and measuring their success three and four generations removed out in the fields of real life. This book is a challenge to established churches to follow Jesus into the real mission fields all around us rather than expect the people to come to us. My hope for the future has been elevated.' -- Neil Cole, , Author|As a mega-church pastor I couldn’t put this book down. A spot on approach for the mega and church growth churches of the last decades to reframe ourselves as high impact, exponentially reproducing, missional movements. - Mike Slaughter, Ginghamsburg Church and author of Change the World -- Mike Slaughter, , Author|No doubt, missional is the “word of the day” right now. The word is slapped in front of almost everything. Often when people use that word, they are simply using it as a buzzword, swapping it for another subset word – evangelism, social justice, global missions, local missions, emergent, and the list goes on. If you’re ready to go to the core of what missional actually means, then On The Verge is the next book you should read. More than that, if you’re ready to move your local church beyond conceptual conversation toward real word practice, then On The Verge is the next book you should read. - Rob Wegner - Pastor of Life Mission, Granger Community Church / Lead Catalyst, EnterMission -- Rob Wegner, , Pastor|On the Verge extends the powerful categories and framework established by Hirsch in the Forgotten Ways, providing “handles” and practical examples of how to move forward for churches who are in the process of making the shift to missional, incarnational ministry. Ferguson’s insights as a leader who is making this shift brings proven concepts to life with real-world application. I recommend it for anyone looking to make the transition toward's a missional, incarnational church. - Jeff Vanderstelt, Pastor, Soma Communities -- Jeff Vanderstelt, , Pastor|This is who I'm called to be! That was my gut reaction when I first met the missional conversation. Since then I've been on the exciting and deeply challenging journey it is to figure out what it looks like to live in God's mission. Sadly, we've far too often placed lots of churches and people who follow Jesus in the 'not missional' box, instead of taking them on that same journey. Therefore, this book is a gift to the church, and a must read for every leader. It calls every church and Christ-follower to join God in His mission, and gives framework and tools we all can use to start the journey. - Egil Elling – Lead Pastor, IMI Kirken, Norway -- Egil Elling, , Pastor|'There are lots of books these days on being a missional church but this one adds practical ideas and real stories of churches implementing this into their existing ministry. While pointing to a need for a new paradigm, Ferguson and Hirsch give a needed framework for getting from where we are to where we are heading.' -- Dave Travis, , Managing Director|'The number one question I am asked in Canada is... Can existing churches change to become more missional?' Although we do not have many mega churches like in the States, what Alan and dave have done in On the Verge is to give principles and stories that will help churches of all sizes not only understand the missional conversation, but begin to move towards changing the DNA towards a deeper more missional understanding of who we are as the people of God - joining Him on His mission. You must read it often.' -- Cam Roxburgh, , Senior Pastor|'A priesthood of all believers, unleashed and commissioned to impact the world everywhere they touch it – what a novel idea! Sounds a lot like something Jesus taught and expected but, sadly, something much of the western church has long forgotten. Thankfully, Alan Hirsh and Dave Ferguson remind and challenge us anew to step back and let the Jesus’ church be his church. With careful analysis, thoughtful theory, and real-life examples they paint a picture of what it looks like when pastors and leaders once again realize that expanding the kingdom is far more important than simply building a bigger church.' -- Larry Osborne, , Pastor and Author|'This book won't just make you think. It'll make you rethink the way you lead, the way you dream, and the way you do church.' -- Mark Batterson, , Lead Pastor|'I truly believe God could use this work to usher in a whole new paradigm of thinking for thousands of pastors and ministry leaders across America. It’s time once again that we view and do church in a radically different way. I believe every church leadership team in the country should be reading this together right now.' -- Shawn Lovejoy, , Lead Pastor|'What do you do when the old ways of doing church just don’t seem to work anymore? Thousands of pastors are asking this question at a time when the Church seems to be in danger of being marginalized in our culture. There are no two people better equipped to answer this question than my good friends Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson. Their book does more than provide solutions: it gives hope that the Church’s best days are yet to come.' -- Greg Surratt, , Lead Pastor

Product Details

  • File Size: 5602 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (May 3, 2011)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004X7B8L6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,657 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critical questions for the church May 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The church needs to recover her most ancient, potent and beautiful form, that of the apostolic movement, according to Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson in this book. The book represents an attempt by the authors to articulate a dynamic learning journey called Future Travelers which is being undertaken by a group of large US churches that are reframing themselves as high-impact exponentially reproducing missional movements.

Readers who are not familiar with Alan's previous books will quickly discover that there is a whole new vocabulary to learn. The new paradigm of apostolic movements arises from the convergence of church growth theory, exponential thinking, and incarnational missiology. The new paradigm, which is referred to as "Apostolic Genius", encompasses mDNA which has six elements:

* Jesus is Lord
* Disciple-making
* Apostolic environment
* Missional-incarnational impulse
* Organic systems
* Communitas

Alan's perspective as a missional strategist and apostolic theologian is communicated in chapters 2 to 6, with Dave providing a short response to each chapter, and then Dave's perspective as an apostolic practitioner is communicated in chapters 7 to 10, with Alan providing a short response to each chapter. The two authors have distinctly different writing styles, but it is helpful to get the interposed theoretical and practical perspectives.

Most readers will find this a challenging book to read, partly because of the new vocabulary and partly because many of the ideas raised are likely to be unfamiliar to the typical church leader. However, in my view the book is well worth the struggle because of the importance of considering and thinking through the issues raised.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On the Verge--An Engaging Conversation July 1, 2011
The book, On the Verge, is like an engaging conversation between dinner guests that you overhear. Once the conversation is underway, you lean in closer to get in on it all because its so fascinating.

Authors Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson--respected missiologists in different contexts--carry on a lively conversation about the Great Commission and how to reach people with the gospel in the 21st Century. Acknowledging that the institutional church is not reaching approximately 60% of people in the Western context, the authors call church planters and church leaders to re-imagine the future. They are convinced that by reactivating the 'Apostolic Genius' of every believer thereby we will create a movement ethos. Hirsch and Ferguson are convinced we are on the verge of seeing it happen.

Calling on the reader to engage with the material, the authors have divided the book into a simple triad of: Imagine, Shift, and Innovate, a process they see as a means to moving the church to movement. They invite church planters and missional leaders to re-imagine this new future, shift their current thinking, and innovate in their context in order to fuel a verge movement.

At once theoretical and practical (and always inspirational) On the Verge is worth reading on your own and with your team.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
I wanted to like the book on the verge by Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson, I really did. (My first clue should have been the cutesy capitalization of their book cover, they are not e.e. cummings.) The ideas in the book, whatever they are, might transform churches. But until the authors learn to abandon jargon, no one will be able to figure out what they are saying. Is it really that bad you might ask? Here is an example from page 43:

So when exponential/viral/networked thinking informs church growth savvy, which in turn is being reframed around missional-incarnational theology, then history is in the making.

This may be true, whatever it means. The Venn diagram that followed this jargon fest was somewhat helpful, but if the terms remain undefined, communication is lacking. If I really wanted a church like this, I would just join Amway.

The authors reference a lot of interesting books. I am reading one right now that they praise--Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. If they had understood the book they praise they would have written a book without jargon. Stick's main point that I have gotten so far is to NOT "bury your lead." Wikipedia describes burying your lead this way:

In journalism, the failure to mention the most interesting or attention grabbing elements of a story in the first paragraph is sometimes called "burying the lead."

In other words, make what you are saying crystal clear right from the start. on the verge miserably fails this standard. If they do not understand one of the books they praise, I have to wonder if they also do not understand the other books they talk about.

Mega Churches have a big problem trying to form a community. Most of the attendees do not become active in the congregation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope for the future of the Church! July 13, 2011
By Keifer
This honestly is one of the best books on the topic of the future of the church that I have read to date- it goes beyond theory and actually lays out practical examples of people that are doing it.The authors recognize that God is moving and we are in fact "on the verge" of a major movement of the church! This is a must read for anyone who is ready to reclaim church as identity and movement centered around the core truth "Jesus is Lord".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Start and apostolic fire by know your gifts
Published 24 days ago by Larry Fletcher
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Sometimes this book is difficult to understand.
Published 4 months ago by csb
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book. It's full of great information and is ...
Great book. It's full of great information and is motivational for a church that has been stuck for a while.
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks like new and in very good shape this book
The book came on time and is in very good shape. I have no complains. I enjoyed shopping with your company and I will recommend it to others.
Published 10 months ago by tigerr
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource
On the Verge will help any pastor lead their church forward to living the mission that Jesus Christ gave His Church. Read more
Published 12 months ago by David Bennett
1.0 out of 5 stars Do we have time to wait?
I hope that there is a mental shift among the traditional church establishment. However, again another book about methods and formula. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Julie B
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Verge Review.
Great Book, will recommend it to all that want to know a bit more where God is moving the church of the future.
Published 14 months ago by pierre
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked it.
This book is all the craze. They even have VERGE conferences now -- I think I would like the conferences better than book but the book was good- If you want more of an intro or... Read more
Published 16 months ago by joy
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, thought-provoking and interesting
Interesting resource. It really inspired me to re-think what I know of church culture and the changing shape of society.
Published 18 months ago by Daniel L Poole
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
As advertized and on time. The content of yhe book is not yey read. Looking forward to time yo reaf it.
Published 19 months ago by bigbear2
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