By Hirsch and Frost
As always the authors have given us a challenging book filled with original material as well as drawing from a number of disciplines to explain or bolster their theme.
To use their own words, the “book is akin to a theology of adventure and an apologetic for risk,” and in doing so they have taken the missional conversation to another level. Churches should be focused on taking faithful risks rather than creating safe spaces.
Their message is clear- the Western Church is anemic and in decline because it has replaced the risk and adventure of being partners with God in a mission to its next door neighbor for the safety of the sanctuary. Our passion for security and our fear of risk has spoiled both our fellowship and our witness for it is the power of risk that is the catalysts for faith and community. As always for the authors mission is the organizing principle of the Church.
They even go further-churches that don’t courageously embrace with risk aren’t churches in the first place. This is not a book for the faint at heart. The authors are calling us to take a wild ride with God into the world around us. And they remind us that we are not alone in this grand adventure. We have two constant companions- Jesus and communitas (the church as it should be).
To anchor their thoughts the authors remind us we are living in a threshold time (liminality), a transitional space between what was and what is to come. And such a time requires leaders to be willing to participate in an unpredictable journey full of risks, uncertainty, rewards, threats, and vindication. Leading in such a time requires an enormous amount of courage.
Here are some quotes that caught my attention:
“Therefore faith is more an act of courage than an act of knowledge.”
“Let’s stop kidding ourselves-there are too many instances of Christians worshipping sublimely every Sunday, but never making an impact beyond the congregation, never experiencing the powerful beauty of communitas, and never going deeper into community. We think this is precisely because the catalyzing experience of missional adventure and risk have been removed from the equation.”
“To adopt a missional paradigm and embrace its associated risk always leads to a rediscovery of the city or town or neighborhood in which you’ve been placed.”
“When Christian community is shaped by the risk of mission, the context for that mission takes on greater significance than in traditional, program-centered churches.”
If you’re ready for your church to “walk on the wide side” with God, then this is the book you need to read.