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on 14 May 2012
just finished Hirsh and Catchim "The Permanent Revolution- Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century Church" and have to say it is a really good read. It is very accessible, and is peppered with a good range of examples, honest personal experiences, and diagram/charts. As a trainer, educator, writer and practitioner there is lots of really useful stuff for all disciplines I find myself moving between. I can many of the diagrams making their way into my presentations, as they are succinct and accessible.

The book draws on a range of theological, biblical, cultural and organisational texts to explore the APEST (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher), and in particular the Apostle role in the missional shift we are in and the challenges presenting the current church. There are a good range of challenges to the thinking and practical ways to apply the concepts used.

I really like the interaction between organistional theory and how they explore the state of the current church in the introductions and later the use of systems and movement theory which has some important stuff to stay to the emerging project.

On the downside much of the stuff I had come across before, I first came across Fractal theory in the early 90s and have been using it ever since, the work around imagination will be familiar to people who know Brueggemann, the contextualistion / missio dei work is rooted in Bosch and earlier writers, you can see John V Taylor peppered through the book, as are BEC's rooted in liberation theology where many of the current ideas around missional communities come from. However to have it all in one place and set against the current context so well is excellent. I would also have liked to have seen more challenges and deeper exploration around issues of inculturalation, particularly the reciprocal nature of mission and how this impacts the role of the apostle and problems this raises as they seek to move forward in the current in-between time.

Overall a good book that I have already recommended to my students on the Church and Mission modules and one that I will keep coming back to.
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on 1 November 2012
A helpful contribution to the conversation that, although written from an American context, certainly has relevance for the church in the UK.
Hirsch and Catchim argue that after 1700 years of Christendom the Church needs to re-establish the fivefold ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, and teacher. They:
* focus especially on the Church's need to recover apostolic imagination and practice
* point out the need for a reformulation of `...the ways that we think about church and the ways that we envision ministry and leadership'
* articulate their desire to liberate minds and vocations
* highlight the need to change the game.
They are also unapologetic about their provocative vision and, although their work is scholarly and highly nuanced, no one would expect a book with the word `revolution' in the title to be awash with gentle suggestions or to shy away from confrontation with established institutions. Hirsch and Catchim say, 'If entrepreneurial effort is only sporadic, then serious systemic missional change is unlikely'. While I love the Church and trust the God who is able to breathe life into barren places, I also see the need for 'experimental forms being heartily owned by the broader system'. In this sense (and in my own context) Hirsch and Catchim's work is a useful spur to ongoing efforts in the direction of paradigmatic change!
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on 12 September 2012
This is an astonishing work: stimulating, challenging and hugely insightful.

The authors have focussed attention on the key gifts required for the church and drawn insights for each characteristic that were most insightful and illuminating. These are then interwove in ways that make a compelling argument and one that I hope will be adopted by all churches so that they can become truly effective and vibrant communities for the growth and living out of the Kingdom of God.

The authors write with an excellent, approachable style with considerable depth of thought and reason. I often found it hard to read more than a few pages at a time because there was so much substance to digest.

Hugely recommended. (I have both Kindle and hardback)
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on 1 October 2012
A very very good book. Accessible and inspirational. This clears away the clutter around Apostles today. I have "grown up in an Apostolic movement of churches". The truth is that deep down these Apostles looked, spoke, and acted more like Episkipos Bishops or big cheese pastors. None of them in my time had personally planted a church. Some had crossed culture but quickly got back on the plane again. In fact as I looked in they seemed to spend all their time with leaders or conferences or fire fighting in existing churches.
This book sorts out the clutter, defines the terms, and helps to bring clarity to what is the greatest need to missional movements in the world, leadership that protects DNA and breaks new ground.
A must read for any missiologist ... My only sad point is that I wish he could write it again for the academic fieldas most missiologists are in the making and universities want things at peer level.
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on 4 July 2014
If you are involved in Church leadership you must read this book.
Top stuff from Hirsch and Catchim.
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on 3 May 2014
Very good for what I needed it for. College Bible study, but not your regular every day book for reading unless into that sort of thing.
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on 9 December 2012
This book turned me off simpy by opening the front cover and flicking through. Very formulaic, not what I was expecting at all. Was mentioned in Church Times but disappointed.
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