I first met Alan Hirsch at a breakfast meeting three years ago we had at the Exponential Conference. I was so impressed by his vision for the church I immediately bought and read Forgotten Ways. I consider it the best book I’ve ever read on God’s dream for what the church can and should be. Since that time we have become good friends, partners in launching Forge America – a missional training network and are currently working on a book together that will be released in 2011.
As Jon and I came to the end of writing EXPONENTIAL: How You And Your Friends Can Start A Missional Church Movement, Alan was the logical choice to write the foreward. When Alan sent us the following, it was not only very affirming of the book, but also added more insight into exponential thinking.
“If there was ever a word that captures a sense of the need for a change in the way we currently do church it is the word “exponential. “ The word itself expresses something of the heart, as well as the mathematics of the missional paradigm. It conveys both a prophetic challenge to the prevailing ways of doing church in the Western world as well as an apostolic promise of real fruitfulness should we take it seriously.
I have had the privilege of working with Dave and Jon and New Thing guys for a while now, and what intrigues me about them is that they are not willing to settle with already great results, they desire to move to the next, and somewhat risky, edge. And this book, I believe, points us in the direction of where that edge is….towards exponential, transformative, missional, Jesus movements.
Dave and Jon’s story, and the story of New Thing mirrors the story of the contemporary American church over the last decade or two. They are as many of us desire to be—successful leaders of a very large multisite church. The Ferguson brothers are at the forefront of what is happening in the American church and are informing opinion and action all over the world. But one doesn’t get to this place by simply parroting the inherited wisdom. It demands that we further develop it without invalidating it. And because of this capacity to connect with current thinking as well as extend it, they embody the best of contemporary church thinking and practice, and yet they call us to go beyond current ways of thinking that limit our capacity to see the church as a missional movement.
Starting missional church movements are at the core of this new thinking. If the church growth movement ushered in the era of the contemporary church, the mega-church, and the multi-site phenomenon, then what the new missional paradigm will do is to stretch us by requiring that we take the sent-ness of all of God’s people seriously again. The Ferguson brothers know that to do this, the church must move from addition to multiplication: it cannot just be about adding numbers to existing churches until they grow very large. It must also mean multiplying the actual number of churches, as well as empowering all of God’s people in every sphere and domain of life to be the church. This is going to take lots of new thinking and a whole lot of courageous action. And Exponential is a great example of that.
This is a thoroughly practical, genuinely innovative, and a truly inspirational book, woven around a story of how a group of friends, captured by a grander view of God’s Kingdom, are on a journey to discovering what it means to be truly missional.
I am deeply honored to even be a small part of that journey.”
In 19 days EXPONENTIAL will be available in bookstores. You can order it online right now. You can also join myself and Jon for a 30-day conversation over our new book where you will get content drops, videos and additional question and answers through Daily Digital.