The Forgotten Ways, 2nd Edition
Reactivating Apostolic Movements
Bestselling Statement on the Contemporary Church, Updated and Revised
Alan Hirsch's paradigm-shifting classic remains the definitive statement of the church as dynamic missional movement. The bestselling first edition ignited a conversation about how to harness the power of movements for the future growth of the church. In this major update, Hirsch shares significant insights gained along the way, provides fresh new examples of growing churches, and reflects on the last ten years of the missional movement. The new edition has been thoroughly updated and revised throughout and includes charts, diagrams, an expanded glossary of terms, new appendices, an index, a new foreword by Ed Stetzer, and a new afterword by Jeff Vanderstelt.
Known for his innovative approach to mission, Hirsch is widely acknowledged as a thought leader and mission strategist for churches across the Western world. He considers The Forgotten Ways the guiding work to all of his other writings. The book explores the factors that come together to generate high-impact, exponentially explosive, spiritually vibrant Jesus movements in any time and context. This extensive update to Hirsch's influential work offers a system of six vital keys to movements that will continue shape the future of the missional movement for years to come.
Foreword Ed Stetzer
Preface to the Second Edition
Section 1: The Making of a Missionary
1. A View from the Edge: Confessions of a Frustrated Missionary
2. A View from Above: Denominational and Translocal Perspectives
Section 2: A Journey to the Heart of Apostolic Genius
3. Preparing for the Journey
4. The Heart of It All: Jesus Is Lord
5. Disciple Making
6. Missional-Incarnational Impulse
7. Liminality and Communitas
8. APEST Culture
9. Organic Systems
Afterword Jeff Vanderstelt
Appendix 1: A Crash Course in Chaos
Appendix 2: The Apostle: CEO or Servant?
Appendix 3: A Living Example of Incarnational Church
Appendix 4: Leadership in Living Systems
Appendix 5: Liquid versus Solid Church
Glossary of Key Terms
"No book has influenced my thinking about leading a church and a church planting movement more than The Forgotten Ways. Alan Hirsch is the leading missiologist of our day and his genius is on display in this work, which helps us rediscover what the church of Jesus Christ was always meant to be. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to every church leader!"
Dave Ferguson, lead pastor, Community Christian Church; lead visionary, NewThing
"We adore Alan Hirsch. We've never met anyone who has a bigger heart for the church to become all that Jesus intended. Not surprisingly, The Forgotten Ways is a manifesto that helps us discover how we are designed to live and excel as a part of God's bigger picture. Hirsch will ignite your imagination, challenging you to dream bigger and experience the kingdom more fully. The Forgotten Ways is a focused yet comprehensive book that beautifully and effectively moves us forward as God designed. Simply put, this book continues to be a game changer."
Jen and Brandon Hatmaker, authors, humanitarians, and church planters
"The Forgotten Ways is a seminal book that has changed and continues to change the landscape of church multiplication. It challenges our current paradigm of church growth and unleashes the power of the early church's initial advances. This book is a critical tool in the arsenal of anyone seeking to multiply the church."
Todd Wilson, director, Exponential
"The Forgotten Ways is one of those few books that I find myself revisiting again and again and again. It is foundational for understanding mission and irreplaceable as a guide for the church's new situation in the West--a landmark book for our missional movement. This new edition speaks to the power and vision of Alan Hirsch. I could not be more grateful for this book."
David Fitch, author of Faithful Presence; B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary
"Hirsch has discovered the formula that unlocks the secrets of the ecclesial universe like Einstein's simple . . . formula (E=mc²) unlocked the secrets of the physical universe. There are some books good enough to read to the end. There are only a few books good enough to read to the end of time. The Forgotten Ways is one of them."
Leonard Sweet, theologian, author, and futurist
"For a decade, Hirsch has simmered on the revolutionary ideas he presented in the first edition of The Forgotten Ways. In this new edition, he develops his thoughts further and recommends ways to apply them and move confidently into a hopeful, vibrant, movemental future. Stunning."
Linda Bergquist, church planting catalyst and coach; coauthor of Church Turned Inside Out
"Alan Hirsch has been a major influence in the way I think about the mission of the church and more importantly, the way I live church. The Forgotten Ways must be remembered, must be read, must be integrated into your life, leadership, and local church context."
Greg Nettle, president, Stadia
"This is an amazing work of analysis, synthesis, and application. Hirsch provides a timely, well-informed overview of the range of current thinking and writing on movemental Christianity and draws rich insights that, if ignited by the Holy Spirit, can revolutionize many churches today."
Howard A. Snyder, author of The Problem of Wineskins; visiting director, Manchester Wesley Research Centre
"Only a handful of books have set the stage for God to have a conversation with the whole church about his mission. The Forgotten Ways is one of those books, now available with critical updates. Hirsch has placed before the church a timeless conversation about the future, the mission, the people, and the practices of a God-breathed movement."
Hugh Halter, author, church planter, and director of Forge America
"In this fresh, reworked edition of The Forgotten Ways, Hirsch continues to engage, challenge, and inspire us as we explore what it means to fully be God's church in an ever-changing cultural landscape. Hirsch holds tightly to the deep truth that in order to move forward we must renew our commitment to journey down an ancient path--the rugged, narrow way found in the life of Jesus Christ. This book is a must-read. As the twenty-first-century church responds to the Great Commission, may we all have the courage to return to his forgotten ways."
Jo Saxton, chair of the board, 3dmovements; church planter, author, and speaker
"The Forgotten Ways has been a road map for missional movements. The map is now updated with even more insight and ten more years of learning."
Neil Cole, Movement Catalyst; author of Organic Church, Church 3.0, and Primal Fire
"I referred to the first edition of this book as a 'full-blooded and comprehensive call for the complete orientation of the church around mission,' and that is no less true for this updated version. With the benefit of ten years of experience in teaching these concepts around the world, Hirsch has freshened his groundbreaking work for a new generation of readers. With tighter language, a slight reordering of the ideas, and new insights, The Forgotten Ways is as relevant and as powerful as ever."
Michael Frost, author of The Road to Missional and Surprise the World
"I heartily recommend The Forgotten Ways to church planters and ministry leaders around the world. This significant text's fresh recovery of and call to a dynamic missional movement paradigm has shaped my thinking and practice."
Mark Reynolds, vice president of leadership programs, Redeemer City to City
"The Forgotten Ways was a catalytic force of God in my own life, and it remains on my must-read list for anyone interested in the church and mission. This book created a seismic shift in missional thinking and living. In the new edition, Hirsch ignites our imaginations with deep hope and raw honesty and convinces us that the church's finest hour is ahead of us. Prophet, priest, teacher, and leader, Hirsch is an essential voice to our generation. He sets a fire deep in our bones and launches us, as Jesus dreamed, to the ends of the earth."
Danielle Strickland, speaker, author, and Salvation Army officer
"Alan Hirsch is a disrupter, one from whom I have learned much through the years. His prophetic voice and unique passion beckons the church to rediscover the ancient path and follow where it leads. The Forgotten Ways is a navigational chart for pastors and churches willing to brave a journey of faith, courage, and sacrifice beyond the safety of comfortable shores for the sake of the gospel."
Mark DeYmaz, directional leader, Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas; author of Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church
"In this rebel camp we call the church planting community, The Forgotten Ways has long been one of the great fires around which we have gathered to dream. Now, with fresh and important fuel for a radical rethinking of church, this fire is spreading a new hope for apostolic movement within every part of the church. In my context as a church planter, we see mDNA, APEST, and Apostolic Genius as essential concepts for forming missional movements within historic city-center church buildings, and we need this second edition in order to keep going. Alan Hirsch has become friend and mentor to so many of us. This edition of The Forgotten Ways provides us all with the most up-to-date synthesis of his essential thinking for sharing with those we lead."
Graham Singh, executive director, Church Planting Canada; pasteur, St. James Montréal
"Reading The Forgotten Ways when it was first published revolutionized the way I understood God's mission, the essence of the church, and my participation in both. I didn't think it was possible, but with this second edition, Hirsch provides even greater clarity and challenge. If you are serious about the future of the church, then read every page and allow it to activate a movement within you and throughout the life of the church. This book will undoubtedly help the church recapture the forgotten ways and become the church Jesus always intended."
Brad Brisco, coauthor of Missional Essentials and Next Door as It Is in Heaven
"Alan Hirsch revisits The Forgotten Ways like a jackhammer revisits concrete. This book shatters our narrow vistas, revealing the broad panorama of Jesus's mission. It assails imagination and redefines an apostolic approach to a culture evermore scornful of current Christian ministry and thought."
Ralph Moore, author of Starting a New Church and Making Disciples
"Alan Hirsch has gone on a quest with this latest work. There is nothing more important than seeking to rediscover our identity and purpose as established by the Lord of the church; it truly is a journey, but one that is essential and well worth it."
Tammy Dunahoo, Foursquare Church
"Many people have been helped by The Forgotten Ways. For those of us in the institutional churches, the book has been bracing and challenging with parts we disagree with, but also many lessons to learn. In particular, as Hirsch reminds us in this second edition, if we fall in love with our system, we lose the capacity to change it. Hirsch's book is a call to reimagine the church, and this call applies as much to the new types of church increasingly emerging in the global North as to the older ones. I hope that all those who are pioneering new forms of church will read or reread Hirsch's book and see it as a warning not to allow these new churches to become institutionalized. The church, even new versions, needs to be constantly re-formed. Hirsch offers a comprehensive and illuminating guide for the task."
Michael Moynagh, author of Church for Every Context; Wycliffe Hall, Oxford
"In this second edition of The Forgotten Ways, Alan Hirsch does what he does best: he helps us remember our past so that we can reimagine our future. It's time for the church to become a movement again. Read the book and become part of this emerging future; too much is at stake to settle for anything less."
Dave Rhodes, pastor of discipleship and movement initiatives, Grace Fellowship Church; lead team director, 100 Movements
"I'm blessed to be a part, in some small way, of this book as Alan puts forth his ideas for a new generation longing to rediscover the church's missional nature and reactivate anew its forgotten ways. When I read Alan's words, I want to drop what I'm doing and focus my attention again on God's mission. After reading this book, I imagine you will as well."
Ed Stetzer (from the foreword)
"I am thankful for how Alan, in The Forgotten Ways, calls us back to what is true of God's people and prophetically catalyzes us toward a vision for what life looks like when we remember who we are. . . . Thank you, Jesus, for using Alan to call us back to you and your ways. And may our memories be jogged, as our hearts are stirred, to live in the forgotten ways of our Savior, Lord, and King, Jesus Christ!"
Jeff Vanderstelt (from the afterword)
"The Forgotten Ways is a truly seminal volume by one of the world's leading missional strategists. Alan Hirsch brings the heart of an evangelist and the mind of a scholar to the issue of reversing the decline of the church in the West. This thoroughly updated version should be on the reading list of every missional training course and every church leader serious about engaging the challenges of mission in the West. It is an invaluable resource and reference point for moving beyond the status quo and reactivating the missional movement. The six forgotten ways are not arcane secrets, but they need to be activated among the people of God. The Forgotten Ways passionately educates readers about a great need and guides readers into entire new ways of acting."
Darren Cronshaw, mission catalyst, Baptist Union of Victoria, and professor of missional leadership, Australian College of Ministries
Praise for the First Edition
"Among the welter of 'how-to' books calling the church to this new strategy or that, The Forgotten Ways is a full-blooded and comprehensive call for the complete reorientation of the church around mission. Nothing less than the rediscovery of a revolutionary missional ecclesiology will do for Alan Hirsch. His book makes an irrefutable case for its establishment and offers the exciting, though frightening, DNA necessary for it to flourish. A master work."
Michael Frost, coauthor of The Shaping of Things to Come and author of Exiles
"This is a provocative and insightful contribution to the discovery of effective missional engagement with post-Christendom Western culture. Grounded in Alan's own experience as a missionary pastor and illustrated by examples from various places, The Forgotten Ways challenges and equips both inherited and emerging churches to recover the dynamic of a missional movement."
Stuart Murray Williams, author of Church after Christendom and Changing Mission: Learning from the Newer Churches
"It is refreshing to read a book related to the missional church that provides theological depth coupled with creative thinking. Alan Hirsch reestablishes the essential links between Christology, missiology, and ecclesiology. The Forgotten Ways helps to rescue the concept of church from the clutches of Christendom, setting it free to become a dynamic movement in place of a dying institution."
Eddie Gibbs, coauthor of Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures and author of LeadershipNext: Changing Leaders in a Changing Culture
"A fascinating and unique examination of two of the greatest apostolic movements in history (the early church and China) and their potential impact on the Western church at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Hirsch identifies and describes the primal energies of apostolic movements and describes the components that make for catalytic, spontaneous expansion. The book may well become a primary reference book for the emerging missional church."
Bill Easum, Easum, Bandy & Associates (www.easumbandy.com)
"It is AD 30 all over again. While many church leaders are trying desperately to retrofit institutional expressions of Christianity in hopes of achieving better results, Al Hirsch helps us understand the necessity for us to reengage the movement in its primal missional form. This volume identifies a missional, not a methodological, fix if we want to experience first-century Christianity."
Reggie McNeal, author of Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders and The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church
"The Forgotten Ways is worth the price of the book simply for the diagrams in chapter 3. I feel the same way about his insights on movements later in the book. And every other chapter has the kind of rich insight and inspiring challenge that we have come to expect from Alan Hirsch."
Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian, A Generous Orthodoxy, and The Story We Find Ourselves In
"I have known and appreciated Alan's work and missional thinking for some years. His latest book clearly demonstrates his original and creative thinking. There are few books that one can describe as markers in the field of mission--this is one such book. It is essential reading for all those who are grappling with the key issue of what the church can and must become."
Martin Robinson, author of Planting Mission-Shaped Churches Today
"With a scholar's attention to detail and the critical lessons of history, as well as a first-century missionary's creative passion, Alan Hirsch recalls us to a faith life that is flexible, fast-moving, and unbound. He rescues the term 'missional' from the mass grave of church buzzwords in the process."
Greg Paul, author of God in the Alley: Being and Seeing Jesus in a Broken World; founder and director of Sanctuary Ministries in Toronto
"Alan has been shattering paradigms and challenging ideas for years. Now, in The Forgotten Ways, Alan describes missional movements and challenges us to reorder the church around its mission, all filtered through his deeply personal experience. You will be provoked, challenged, and motivated to embrace the missional DNA and incarnational impulse of the early church in your own life and ministry."
Ed Stetzer, author of Breaking the Missional Code and Planting Missional Churches
"The age of Christendom is over, but a renewed age of true Christian movements and discipleship is dawning. Churches and leaders who don't pay attention to the analysis presented here are liable to be deceived into a Christianity that is either locked in the passing Christendom mode or, conversely, lost in mere emerging fads. The biblically based and Jesus-centered focus of this book makes it stand out above dozens of other books on similar themes."
Howard A. Snyder, author of Radical Renewal, The Community of the King, and Models of the Kingdom
"The Forgotten Ways is a compelling challenge to awaken the church's innate entrepreneurial instinct and propel it into the fringes of our emerging culture. I recommend it highly, especially to those endowed with the boldness to align the church's operating system with the missional heart of God. Alan's book brings this vital edge to the emerging missional church conversation."
Andrew Jones, www.tallskinnykiwi.com
"When I first read The Shaping of Things to Come there was one thing I didn't like about the book--I didn't write it. Now, with The Forgotten Ways, Alan has brought us closer to the reality of seeing a true apostolic church-planting movement in the West. This is a seminal work that will change our thinking, our vocabulary, and hopefully our way of being the church in this new century. I have already read the book twice and will probably devour it again."
Neil Cole, author of Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens and Cultivating a Life for God
"Alan Hirsch is right. Many of the more promising 'new' ways of 'doing church' today are not really new, but rather a recovery of what our predecessors once knew--insights that once formed and informed significant Christian movements that their successors forgot. Hirsch's model of the Emerging Missional Church will help many churches to recover from their long night of amnesia."
George G. Hunter III, Asbury Theological Seminary
"Hirsch analyzes the 'apostolic genius,' his label for the six major elements behind the explosive growth of the church right after Jesus left, in contrast to the 'institutional forms' that followed. His call to embrace those six again is strong!"
Outreach (a recommended resource of the year for 2016)
Praise for the First Edition
"Captivating. . . . Hirsch creates novel terms, repackages discarded or unfamiliar words, and peppers the book with acronyms. . . . This is a powerful book that will provoke a lot of helpful thought."
"The Forgotten Ways represents the potential that the emergent movement has for the renewal of the whole church. Replete with illustrations, graphs, diagrams, and insights wrought from experience, the book introduces the concept of Apostolic Genius, which exists, Hirsch argues, in all churches. . . . There is very little to disagree with and much to celebrate in this book. Church leaders who desire to mobilize their people for genuine transformational ministry in this postmodern age need to read it. In fact, plan a staff retreat around it. Restructure and simplify the church according to it. Define mission by it. And then hang on as God moves in your midst."
"The Forgotten Ways is not for the faint of heart. . . . This book has stretched my heart to conform to a model of church that is undeniably biblical, yet all but forgotten. This book is great for anyone longing to see a spiritual movement characterized by the rejection of those things in contemporary Christianity that limit the work of God among His people."
"I picked up this book with the fear that it was another book on the missional church that would lack biblical depth and cross-cultural topography. I was wrong on both counts. . . . Missionaries will both appreciate the cultural balance of this book and gain insights for planting and revitalizing cell, community, and church ministry across cultures. . . . The global mission community is indebted to Hirsch for this seminal book. It is packed with solid exegesis and theological reflection and provides a fresh reading of contemporary Christian authors and a careful evaluation of paradigm-shifting authors from the leadership field. There is rich insight in each chapter for field practitioners and a fresh synthesis of the essentials of biblical missiology."
Evangelical Missions Quarterly
"Alan Hirsch's inspiring work in The Forgotten Ways delivers for those interested in rekindling the heart of every successful church movement. Reading as part rally cry and part biology book, The Forgotten Ways takes transforming the church to the most detailed level. . . . Hirsch proposes no less than a complete, grassroots, put-up-or-shut-up, no holds barred, pull-out-all-the-stops reassembling of how we do church. But he makes it look possible. If you aren't ready to go all-in on transforming the impact of your church, you need to stay away from this book."
"[Hirsch's] reflections are worth reading, reading again and most importantly acting upon. The Forgotten Ways is a welcome and significant addition to the literature on mission to the West written by a leading missiological strategist. It will prove to be a useful tool to help shape new forms of missional church--for church planters, those leading change in existing churches and all mission-hearted followers of Jesus."
Journal of the American Society for Church Growth
"A monumental work. . . . Hirsch gives a fair and passionate view of the missional church and has done a brilliant job of calling the Christian church of the 21st Century back to its missionary roots. . . . The book is a huge contribution to those who wish to see the Church in the West rise after years of decline. Hirsch's call to the church to leave behind mechanical structures of Christendom that inhibit growth is compelling. His missional-incarnational impulse is right on target! . . . Do I recommend The Forgotten Ways? Yes . . . but with a warning. If you read it, be prepared to be challenged. Pastors, Christian educators and missiologists will be forced to reexamine their own ecclesiology and missiology. The Forgotten Ways is not a simple book to read, but one that is filled with ideas that necessarily challenge the status quo."
Gordon E. Penfold,
Journal of the American Society of Church Growth
"Though this work is well written, well organized, and easy to read, Hirsch manages to make several profound statements while keeping his argument simple. . . . Though this book is a scholarly work, Hirsch writes not from the perspective of an academic but rather that of a practitioner. He is to be commended for keeping his feet in the field and sharing about his journey. Closely tied to this strength is the fact that he is quick to discuss his failures and struggles. His model is a good challenge to us all that we must stay in the trenches while we train others. His writing style is very honest and transparent. . . . I strongly encourage . . . those concerned about reaching the West to read Hirsch's book. He makes numerous outstanding points and clearly articulates in written format what many of us have been thinking over the past decade. The book is well written and has several excellent diagrams and charts to assist in understanding the concepts. This excellent work is challenging yet encouraging, critical yet gracious, and informative yet practical. Hirsch is a voice we need to listen to and learn from when it comes to missions in America."
J. D. Payne,
Journal of the American Society for Church Growth
"I have been enriched by many of the concepts and exhortations found in this book. I would recommend this book for those who wish to grapple seriously with the full range of the responsibilities a local church should assume. I believe that such grappling would yield the most fruit when carried out in a context where a group of diverse but open-minded individuals could discuss Hirsch's ideas at length. His thoughts are too good to be ignored but innovative church strategy is too important to be settled quickly."
Kenneth E. Bickel,
Journal of the American Society for Church Growth
"[Hirsch] surveys the vast variety of experiments that constitute 'the Emergent Missional Church (EMC),' and he provides both fascinating insights and useful tools (relevant Web sites and blogs) to explore them further. Commendable is his commitment to theological priorities. . . . [He provokes an] important discussion."
Darrell L. Guder,
International Bulletin of Missionary Research
"Hirsch presents a thoughtful reflection on how the Church might reconstruct itself in our current postmodern context while offering numerous insights that will be useful to those working in postmodern situations."
"This book will guide you in rethinking church as a missional movement in the world."
"Building upon theological reflection and missiological principles, the author develops a sound missional theology for the church. The Forgotten Ways will certainly remain one of the most significant contributions to effective missional engagement."
"The principles [Hirsch] presents could be used in a variety of church settings. The ideas are especially suited, however, for a movement that takes us into the future using alternative methods of gathering together, worship, and reaching those who are not Jesus followers. . . . A must-read for those looking for effective ways to be the church and to reach an increasingly resistant and post-Christian Western population."
"[One] of the most important books of this decade. . . . The questions [Hirsch] raise[s] and [his] critique of Western Protestantism is raising questions that will be dealt with for some time. . . . This is must read material for today's conversation."
"A book to be read slowly and carefully, pondering and reflecting along the way. . . . I am convinced that every man and woman in America who desires to see the Kingdom of God impact our culture needs to read this book. . . . If you are a pastor, church planter, seminary student, or missionary to the peoples of the West . . . order this book, and read it. Thanks Alan for a prophetic voice through great scholarship and writing."
"[This is] a book that I will read more than once. . . . If you haven't read the book already, you need to purchase it. For leaders of Christian communities, the book is that good and that revolutionary."
"Captivating. . . . Hirsch's ideas merit consideration as churches attempt to navigate their way through the confusing and often-hostile waters of adapting to the culture."
"[This book] stands out as one of the best missions reads I have picked up in quite some time. . . . Hirsch's work is both readable and seriously focused upon detail(s). Basically, the book is an accessible but scholarly read/analysis of the state of contemporary missions. It makes one think, to say the least. . . . Christians--all Christians--interested in evangelism and missions should read this book."
"The Forgotten Ways . . . helps to plot a way forward for the missional church."
"I've now read through the whole of Alan's book and can't recommend it highly enough. For those of you who are leading churches or looking to pioneer new ones, this is must reading. . . . It's thought provoking, challenging, and extremely stretching."
"Alan Hirsch brings a unique perspective to the emerging church discussion. . . . Hirsch is well read, an astute observer of society. This helps, rather than detracts from his ability to hear from God. He reminds me of Francis Schaeffer, who would probably say many of the same things if he were still alive today."
"I think you will find . . . The Forgotten Ways inspiring if you are as concerned as I am about reaching un-churched and unreached people with the good news of Jesus. . . . I wholeheartedly invite you all to raid your piggy-banks in order to purchase this book."
"Hirsch's writing is both imaginative and convincing. . . . One comes away from his book with a fresh look at century-old truths. . . . The Forgotten Ways acts as a dictionary and best-practices manual for emerging church in general. . . . Hirsch's work stands out as visionary, creative, and still applicable. Within the canon of emerging church literature, he is a unique voice, willing to enter postmodern culture while also critiquing it, willing to critique the church while also expressing a Christ-like love for it. The Forgotten Ways is a book I will revisit many times to refresh my memory. . . . Highly recommended."
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