- Paperback: 236 pages
- Publisher: Hendrickson Pub (November 1, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1565636597
- ISBN-13: 978-1565636590
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 58 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,060,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21 Century Church Paperback – November 1, 2003
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"Passionate.. idealistic.. imaginative.. seminal.. incisive.. visionary.. these are some of the words that come to mind [about this book]." -- nextreformation.com, June 2004
"The book is full of stories, full of insights, and full of passion but is not for the faint hearted." -- Journal of Youth and Theology, April 2004
"The only way forward is to thoroughly contextualize the gospel within the culture/subcultures to which Christ has called us." -- Youthwork Magazine, April 2004
From the Publisher
Nominated for the Christianity Today 2004 Book of the Year Award in the Mission/Global Affairs category
Nominated for the 2004 Christian Book of the Year Award in Australia
Top customer reviews
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It challenged me to reconsider the "come and see" method of doing church. I have been a part of this strategy in church ministry for 11+ years and have seen it work--but not real well. When I read the book of Acts, I find a great chasm between what I see there and what I've experienced here so far...
It challenged me on the leadership roles in the church. We really do emphasize the pastor-teacher role over the prophet, apostle and evangelist roles. Why didn't I see this before...
It challenged me because the print was so small...
It took me a while to get through this, honestly. But it was worth it. I'm starting to put books down without finishing them. But this one was worth plowing through to the end. I recommend it heartily!
Frost and Hirsch explain how "Western" society has been moving into what they describe as a post-christendom era. They say, "Christendom has been in decline for the last 250 years." They argue that many are now or many ought to be moving in to a "Missional" phase of church expression. One where we are moving away from the many things that defined the era of Christendom, such as Buildings, Institutional Centralized Leadership, Institutional Sacraments, Church as center of Society, and ex-tractional Conversions.
The Missional emerging shape of things to come will not be focused on a Church building. The new leadership mode is one that is pioneering-innovative in nature, including the five-fold ministry ethos, not just majoring on the "pastor/teacher" role. It will move towards being more grassroots and decentralized. It Redeems, re-sacralizes, and ritualizes new symbols and events. Church is once again on the fringes of society and culture. The church re-embraces a missional stance in relation to culture.That is a mouth full.
They suggest the idea of Shared Projects. Rather than only doing church based programs, instead getting involved in programs and initiatives that are already helping the community.
There is this group in San Francisco calling itself ReImagine. They have been meeting to explore the goal of living in what they call Green space. Green is the goal. The color green is made up of course by both the colors yellow and blue . "Yellow space refers to a Christian spirituality that is only concerned with the personal, interior world of faith. It characterizes the classic individualized form of faith the focuses on personal quiet times, Bible study, church attendance and personal moral/ethical behavior. Blue space refers to an exclusively other-focused form of Christian spirituality, one that takes context seriously and features such activities as social concern, justice-seeking, activism, and public moral/ethical behavior." These two parts of faith ought to be blended and not separated.
Rather than being an attractional church, the goal of the emerging church is to be Incarnational. "The incarnational church seeks to infiltrate society to represent Christ to the World" A long chapter toward the end is about what they call "the genius of APEPT". This is the five-fold ministry or functions of disciples: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher. The newer expressions of church are giving a more rounded recognition within the leadership of all these roles, not just favoritism to the Pastor/Teacher C.E.O. style of things from the past.
I have read many books in this genre and this one is is quite unique and stands out amongst the rest in many ways.
The book challenges the very foundations of western Christendom, especially how and why we do church. It acknowledges the evolution of western culture from modern to postmodern and postChristian as well as points out that the Christiandom church remains firmly rooted in the Renaissance. The authors (who are knee deep in the application of their theories) challenge almost every aspect of the modern "church." They take great effort in getting the reader to think outside the box and imagine what church could be.
Another strength of the book is the author's refusal to give instructions on how to create what they call the "incarnational, messianic church." They use examples of some that have been started, but won't allow for their vision to become a 5 step program or formal institution (even though human history suggests its inevitability). Rather, they allow the reader's imagination to roam limitlessly and encourage the reader to aspire and create unique, functional and wonderful communities that give Jesus to people.
In general I dislike most Christian literature. It's too formulaic and/or narrow-minded. But this book will remain in my top 10 for a long time, along with books like; "Blue Like Jazz," "Traveling Mercies," The Ragamuffin Gospel," "Searching for God Knows What," "Eternity in Their Hearts," "A New Kind of Christian," and "Let Me Tell You A Story."