the weblog of Alan Knox

Advancing the cause of Christ

Posted by on Sep 11, 2009 in blog links | 4 comments

A few days ago, Alan Hirsch spoke about “advancing the cause of Christ in our day.” This summary comes from “almost an M.” (ht: Alan at DownshoreDrift):

1. Recover Jesus – there must be a primary focus on who Jesus is. Failure to do this can have severely negative consequences. In addition to the key themes of the birth, life, death, resurrection, and coming return of Christ, the church should see the incarnational life as a model for disciples to live.
2. Make disciples – this is what Jesus calls the church to do. We are to make little living images of Jesus. If we fail to make disciples, we will not be effective at anything that is relevant to the church. It is possible to have people referring to themselves as Christian, but not to look anything like Christ. This possibility and reality according to some modern day claims should make the church have a serious re-evaluation of the discipling process.
3. Engage the world as sent people – God sent Jesus. Jesus came as one who was sent. God and the Son sent the Holy Spirit. The sending character of God says something about how we are to engage humanity. How we are to live life.
4. An apostolic environment – to have a missional church, you must have a missional ministry that encompasses the five aspects of ministry found in Ephesians 4. Having a ministry view of only the pastor / teacher is not correct. Church leaders that operate with this myopic view need to expand their understanding and ministry expressions.
5. Organic systems – the way the church should organize itself. Moving away from a top-down approach, the church needs to move toward development as viral or movement effect.
6. Communitas – we must “put adventure back into the venture of the church.” Relating or fellowshipping together because we are together is not sufficient. There must be a greater cause that draws us toward the purpose of Christ and away from being safe in risk-free environments.

I would add one caveat to this list: We must define these terms as we see them in Scripture. In other words, many churches and believers would claim to have these things. But, when you compare them to Scripture, they look nothing alike.

So, what do you think of Hirsch’s list? What would you add or remove?


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  1. 9-11-2009

    I am not sure what number 4 means. It sounds good but I don’t know that it means what I maybe think it means.

    I would also add something about doctrinal truth. That may be part of number 1.

  2. 9-12-2009


    I did not listen to speech. It seems from the summary that Hirsch is encouraging the church toward apostolic, evangelistic, and prophetic ministries as well as the shepherding and teaching ministries that we see today.


  3. 9-12-2009

    I am always a little cautious with the tem “apostolic”, probably stemming from my time in mormonism!

  4. 9-12-2009


    I think that all five terms (and often the five together) are misused by many Christians, especially those who claim one or more of the terms for themselves. But, the terms are scriptural, so we should try to understand what Paul meant and live accordingly.