The Permanent Revolution: Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century Church (Jossey–Bass Leadership Network Series) Hardcover – 2 Mar 2012
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From the Inside Flap
The Permanent Revolution
The Permanent Revolution is an original work of theological re–imagination and re–construction that draws from biblical studies, theology, organizational theory, leadership studies, and key social sciences. The book elaborates on the apostolic role rooted in the five–fold ministry from Ephesians 4 (apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers), and its significance for the missional movement.
Throughout the book, the authors propose a revolutionary missional ecclesiology that is shaped by the New Testament account of apostolic imagination, ministry, and strategy. The aim is to reclaim the ministry by which the church is to remain centered on its calling to be the instrument of God′s mission, and that everything it is and does ought to relate to and demonstrate that calling. To (re)capture the practice of apostolicity, the authors explore how the apostolic ministry facilitates ongoing renewal in the life of the church and focus on leadership in relation to missional innovation and entrepreneurship. They examine the nature of organization as reframed through the lens of apostolic ministry and explore how apostolic leadership provides new and missionally creative ways forward.
The Permanent Revolution is filled with challenging concepts and is replete with innovative ideas. Rather than providing a prescriptive model for leadership, it offers spiritual prods and suggestive thought experiments that are designed to stimulate imagination as well as action. If faithful leaders are to take up the work of ministry as laid out in the New Testament, this book offers a significant pathway to help equip them to better fulfill their mission.
From the Back Cover
Praise for the permanent revolution
"How can the church in the West reimagine itself after 1700 years of living within Christendom? Alan Hirsch and Tim Catchim address reestablishing the building blocks of the five–dimensional ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, and teacher. While a number of books have addressed this radical challenge, none have done so with such depth, comprehensiveness, scholarly engagement, and prophetic forthrightness. It could provide the urgently needed catalyst for the revitalization of a tired and entrenched church."
Eddie Gibbs, senior professor, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary
"At a time when being ′apostolic′ has great appeal, this book is a biblical reality check. Alan Hirsch, along with Tim Catchim, brings his trademark skill of integrating theological, organizational, and sociological insights, as well as his good–natured love of the gospel and God′s people. This is sure to become a standard text in the field of church leadership studies."
Michael Frost, author, The Road to Missional and The Shaping of Things to Come
"This book, written by one of the foremost missional thinkers of our day, addresses what I believe to be the most necessary and neglected of subjects the equipping gifts of Ephesians 4:11. It opens the Pandora′s box of missional inquiry so the rest of us can try and get our minds on a subject of wide consequence that will not likely settle back down."
Neil Cole, founder, Church Multiplication Associates; author, Organic Church, Church 3.0, and Journeys to Significance
"Church leaders are increasingly aware that the big shift for us is to move from managing an institution to leading a movement. Our learning curve is steep. We need help in reimagining and redesigning our leadership beliefs and practices. This volume helps us do exactly that."
Reggie McNeal, author, The Present Future, Missional Renaissance, and Missional Communities
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Top customer reviews
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.
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.
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!
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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