Alan Hirsch

Australian missionary, born in South African

Alan Hirsch (born 24 October 1959) is a South African-born missiologist and a leading voice in the missional movement of the Christian West.

Real leaders ask hard questions and knock people out of their comfort zones and then manage the resulting distress.


The Faith of Leap (2011)Edit

Heroes are important not only because they symbolize what we believe to be important, but because they also convey universal truths about personal self-discovery and self-transcendence, one’s role in society, and the relation between the two.
The Faith of Leap, a book by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost details how the church must embrace risk and adventure in order to move into true community and reach others effectively.
  • Whether we like it or not, we are all on a journey, a Quest if you will, every day of our lives, and the path we must take is full of perils, and our destiny can never be predicted in advance.
    • p. 20

  • We are the people of the ultimate Quest — we are on a wild, and sometimes dangerous, adventure to save the world.
    • p. 20

  • But herein lies the rub: Christianity has been on a long-term trend of decline in every Western cultural context that we can identify.
    • p. 21

  • We will have to take risks, to chance failure, to be willing to walk away from the familiar paths that have brought us to this point.
    • p. 23

  • Indeed, we believe that twenty-first century Christians are yearning to see the adventure put back into Christianity, into the relationship with the living God — where it rightly belongs.
    • p. 28

  • What we find in our heroes and martyrs is a living witness to the fact that the true life of faith can only be nobly inspired and rightly lived if one takes it on bravely and gallantly, as something of a grand adventure in which we set out into an unknown country to face many a danger, to meet many a joy, to find many a comrade, to win and lose many a battle.
    • p. 29

  • Because of this global uncertainty, the visionary and the adventurous amongst us will get to shape the future of the twenty-first century—the church included.
    • p. 30

  • Our preferences for stability and security blind us to the opportunities for adventure when they present themselves.
    • p. 31

  • The kingdom of God is a crash-bang opera: the king is dramatic, demanding, and unavoidable.
    • p. 38

  • The ultimate solution to the problem of spiritual complacency is to create a systematically embedded culture of holy urgency.
    • p. 42

  • Becoming an adventurous, liminal church means getting over risk aversion. Often the difference between a successful person (or organization) and a failure lies not in having better abilities or ideas, but in having the courage to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk — and to act.
    • p. 48

  • Many church folk, in their self-conscious attempt to be overtly morally upright, emit all the wrong signals, thus messing with people’s perception of the gospel.
    • p. 52

  • The safety-obsessed church lacks the inner dynamic to foster profound missional impact in our time.
    • p. 58

  • If we are going to make the change from community to communitas, and not just end up with an unsustainable adrenaline-junkie culture, we must have a sophisticated process to form people into adventurer-disciples.
    • p. 72

  • It is vital to see ourselves as part of an ongoing journey started by our heroes in the Scriptures.
    • p. 75

  • Those of us with too much invested in the way things are will never embrace the revolutionary cause required for wholesale change.
    • p. 79

  • This submission to the threshold of a cross is at the very root of our following Jesus; it changes the game completely.
    • p. 80

  • At some point preoccupation with safety can get in the way of living full lives.
    • p. 85

  • There is no doubt that to walk with Jesus means to walk on the wilder side of life.
    • p. 88

  • But the standard churchy spirituality doesn’t require any real action, courage, or sacrifice from its attendees.
    • p. 92

  • The church of Jesus needs to wake up from the exile of passivity and embrace liminality and adventure or continue to remain a religious ghetto for culturally co-opted, fearful, middle-class folk.
    • p. 92

  • In order to develop a pioneering missional spirit, a capacity for genuine ecclesial innovation, let along engender daring discipleship, we are going to need the capacity to take a courageous stand when and where necessary.
    • p. 96

  • When there is no possibility of retreat, we will find the innovation that only the liminal situation can bring. In short, we find the faith of leap.
    • p. 101

  • Heroes are important not only because they symbolize what we believe to be important, but because they also convey universal truths about personal self-discovery and self-transcendence, one’s role in society, and the relation between the two.
    • p. 106

  • Our point isn’t to make an examination of popular film but to illustrate that the yearning for a heroic adventure lies just beneath the surface of our consciousness; film, television, literature, sports, and travel are in a sense vicarious adventures.
    • p. 110

  • Interestingly, it’s as though the gospel story of Jesus is the archetypal heroic journey, the embodiment of the very adventure that all people in every epoch have desired.
    • p. 110

  • The quest for heroic adventure then is a quest for the gospel, although it might not be seen that way by everyone.
    • p. 114

  • Building community for its own sake is like attending a cancer support group without having cancer.
    • p. 117

  • Currently, young Christians reach adulthood bored with church experience, and with little or no sense of their calling as missionaries.
    • p. 119

  • Unless the church is equipping believers to embrace the values and vision of the kingdom of God and turn away from the materialism, consumerism, greed, and power of the present age, it not only abandons its biblical mandate, it is rendered missionally ineffective.
    • p. 123

  • Real leaders ask hard questions and knock people out of their comfort zones and then manage the resulting distress.
    • p. 131

  • If we could be freed from our aversion to loss, our whole outlook on risk would change.
    • p. 136

  • Nowadays we raise our children in a cocoon of domesticated security, far from any sense of risk or adventure.
    • p. 141

  • If we can embrace the adventure and risk and equip our churches to lay down their lives and abandon their inherent loss-aversion, who knows what innovation, what freshness, what new insights from the Spirit will emerge.
    • p. 151

  • Because we believe that somewhere in the nest of paradigms contained in the phrase “missional church” lies nothing less that the future viability of Western Christianity.
    • p. 155

  • The appetite for adventure and risk is not exclusive to young Christians. In face, it seems to be a fundamental yearning, knitted into the fabric of the human soul.
    • p. 157

  • This is why we are on record claiming that the missional conversation — refactoring mission back into the equation of church — contains the seeds of authenticity and renewal for Christianity in our time and place.
    • p. 159

  • The missional church is not a new trend or the latest new technique for reaching postmodern people.
    • p. 160

  • More important, Christian community is not something about which we can arbitrarily make decisions — it is not an optional extra.
    • p. 163

  • Mission is the practical demonstration, whether by speech or by action, of the glorious lordship of Jesus.
    • p. 164

  • A retreatist spirituality is not a spirituality that can, or will, transform the world in Jesus’s name.
    • p. 171

  • Put simply, the church finds itself in a post-Christendom era, and it had better do some serious reflection or face increasing decline and eventual irrelevance.
    • p. 174

  • Most churches don’t have the resources for these tricks and inducements but are still bound to the imagination that church happens on a Sunday in a building.
    • p. 175

  • Let’s stop kidding ourselves — there are too many instances of Christians worshiping sublimely every Sunday, but never making an impact beyond the congregation, never experiencing the powerful beauty of communitas, and never going deeper in discipleship.
    • p. 177

  • Think of mission like the paddles of a defibrillator applied to the chest of a dying church.
    • p. 178

  • The fact is that if Jesus’s future kingdom is secure, those who trust in its coming will enact it now.
    • p. 181

  • In missional churches, the baby birds have been pushed out of the nest and are learning to fly for themselves.
    • p. 193

  • Christianity is an adventure of the spirit or it is not Christianity.
    • p. 206.

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