Handbooks which are published to follow-up (cash in on?) the success of books are in my experience almost always a disappointment. It seems as if the publisher has paid someone to think of some applications and questions that anyone could have thought of for themselves.
The Forgotten Ways Handbook is a clear exception to this rule.
The Forgotten Ways Handbook: A Practical Guide for Developing Missional Churches by Alan Hirsch with Darryn Altclass (Brazos, 2009) is a follow up to Alan Hirsch’s book, The Forgotten Ways: Recovering the Missional Church . I would go as far to say the handbook is better than the original book! The core content of the book is summarized at the beginning of the chapter (so all that organizational theory is thankfully missing) and this is then followed by genuinely helpful and insightful ideas. This is a great book for anyone leading missional communities or wanting to move in that direction. I was recently asked in a couple of comments how to create a missional culture. The Forgotten Ways Handbook is a great place to start.
I’m going to post some extracts over the next few days to whet your appetites …
‘Given our current state of knowledge and how we gain it, we have to shift from trying to think our way into a new way of acting to the process of acting our way into a new way of thinking.’ (20)
‘Identify the core value you wish to integrate, and state it clearly. Once the idea is clear, work together to ask the question, “What action, if applied, will most consistently embody this core value in the organization?”’ (23)
‘As a faith community, evaluate everything you do – all your programmes, gathering, ministries, and so on. Ask whether you think this is what Jesus would be doing if he were in your context, Is this how Jesus would go about incarnating the kingdom in your area?’ (45)
‘Here are a few questions each missionary group can ask and reflect upon periodically. This will help the group assess whether they are embracing the mission potential of proximity, frequency, and spontaneity.
Q. Are we in close proximity with those we feel called to? Give example of proximity.
Q. Are we spending regular time with these people? Give example of frequency.
Q. Are we too busy to develop meaningful relationships? Give example of spontaneity.’ (97)