?> Six Keys to Save the Church in the West | almost an M

Six Keys to Save the Church in the West


ch-decayWhile the number of themes was multiple through 12 hours of videos during TheNines event hosted by the Leadership Network and Catalyst, there is one that is, I believe, key for the church to be obedient–the church must be on mission. A number of speakers addressed the issue including Dan Kimball, Reggie McNeal, J.D. Greear, Ed Stetzer, and Rick Warren as well as multiple others. One clarion voice on the issue, Alan Hirsch quickly laid out 6 keys for the church to “advance the cause of Jesus Christ in our day.” The key points for the church are to:

  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.

Hirsch concluded his talk with a note of encouragement and strong warning. He said that he is very optimistic about the potential future of the U.S. church. On the other hand he shared:

These are significant times. If we fail here in America, I don’t think it is going to matter too much for the church in the West. I think that the church in the 2/3 world and in the South will do very, very well…and in Asia…it is going very well. But the church in the west, I think, is in very bad shape…in big trouble.

Calling for a recalibration of church, Hirsch labors and hopes for the best for church in the west. While hopeful, he is straightforward in his assessment and warning.

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Categories : discipleship, leadership


  1. Grady Bauer says:

    Excellent points by Hirsch. It sounds like so many of us are seeing the same things. The question is…is the Western church listening?

  2. Alan Cross says:

    Thanks for posting this. I linked to it over at my blog, http://downshoredrift.com. Alan Hirsch is saying some really great things right now that we need to be listening to. I heard him in Mobile, AL on August 21-22 and I posted the notes from his speaking there in 6 installments. Your post here is kind of a “cliff notes” version of what he has been teaching.

  3. Joan Bell says:

    This was so needed and needs to be spoken over and over again until the Church in the West hears. I believe this is the West’s last chance to hear. If we don’t get it right at this time, we may not have another chance. Thanks for sharing, B.!

  4. […] 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 […]

  5. Grady Bauer says:

    Love the new blog design!

  6. C. Holland says:

    All great points. Like the other commenters, I pray that the church in the West is listening; my experience so far is that they are not.

  7. Paul Bowman says:

    Have your team plug in and go exponential by creating apostolic environment through Alan Hirsch and his entrepreneureal environmental developing website!!!!!!

    Also, go to reproducingchurches.com website to assist developmental process!

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