I’d just like to start off with two housekeeping things. One, I’ve been labeling all my journal pages since January 1st as 2013. It is rather disappointing to find this out and have to make ugly scratch marks to correct the year to 2014. Also, please observe the photo attached to this blog post. This is a sneak peek at all of the crazy ideas that I am going to try and impose on my resilient boss, Tony Sheng. But hey, he’s the king of crazy ideas. (Disclaimer: All things are not actually possible through the Ember Cast. Don’t try this at home. But all things ARE possible through Him. Word.)
Speaking of crazy ideas, in the 2nd section of The Forgotten Ways, Hirsch begins brainstorming exactly what forms the DNA of the “Apostolic Genius,” or the new yet ancient way of missions that has made God’s people the most transformative people in history. If we look at the “ancient” part of the equation, we see a force that is catalyzing, moving, and changing every single day. The church described in the New Testament was radical. These disciples had crazy ideas. This movement was spreading fast and it was transforming individuals and communities from the inside out. This is Apostolic Genius. It is composed of many parts, and Hirsch insists that it is still possible today.
He mentions one example of Apostolic Genius being alive in today’s society. It is called the Church Multiplication Associates (CMA). I was expecting his example to come in the form of a small church begun on the economic fringe of a 3rd world country. No. CMA was actually founded in the United States and spread outward. Wait a second. In the scheme of the world, the United States is not the “fringe” as I was thinking of it before. Then I thought again. Turns out, Tony Sheng was right again. When Hirsch says “fringe,” he doesn’t mean just the economic fringe. The fringe seems to be the group of people who just happen to have the most fertile soil, ready for the gospel to be planted, because for whatever reason, they are desperate. Whether that be the girl at school who sits by herself and has no one to call a true friend, or the poorest of the poor, struggling to get their next meal, or the man who has exercised all other options (wealth, power, fame) and yet still has not found true joy. These people are willing to listen to the gospel. They are ready for the love of Jesus Christ to transform their lives. This is the fringe. And from the fringe, the gospel movement can explode. Awesome.
Back to the book. Hirsch begins to lay out a basic diagram for the various parts and aspects of Apostolic Genius. Not surprisingly, the idea and belief that Jesus is Lord lies at the heart of it all. Without this core, there will be no transformations. There will be no movements. We need to remember always that Jesus is Lord and He loved us enough to die for us and all our sins. Wow. That never loses its power, huh? The five main ideas surrounding “Jesus is Lord” are, in no particular order: Missional-Incarnational Impulse; Disciple Making; Communitas, Not Community; Organic Systems; and Apostolic Environment. That is the DNA. I can’t wait to keep reading and find out what all of these things entail. Hirsch seems to be on to something here.