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The Forgotten Ways Handbook: A Practical Guide for Developing Missional Churches [Paperback]

By Alan Hirsch (Author) & Darryn Altclass (Author)
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Item description for The Forgotten Ways Handbook: A Practical Guide for Developing Missional Churches by Alan Hirsch & Darryn Altclass...

An internationally known missional church expert offers leaders practical suggestions, real life examples, and proven strategies for applying missional paradigms.

Publishers Description
In his bestselling missional book "The Forgotten Ways," internationally known missional church expert Alan Hirsch offered a vision for the future growth of the church coming about by harnessing the power of the early church. Now "The Forgotten Ways Handbook" moves beyond theory to practice, offering ways for any missionally minded person to apply the ideas contained in "The Forgotten Ways "to their life and ministry.
This intensely practical handbook includes many helpful tools: summary sections encapsulating the ideas contained in each chapter in a popular way; suggested practices to help readers embed missional paradigms concretely; and adult learning-based techniques and examples from other churches and organizations that enable readers to process and assimilate the ideas in a group context.
Make no mistake about it; the scope of the change that is required to shift to the kind of movement described in "The Forgotten Ways "is nothing less than paradigmatic. Every element of mDNA poses a direct challenge to the prevailing ways of doing church and mission. When taken together, all six elements of Apostolic Genius make the task seem enormous. But we don't think it is actually as difficult as it seems. And it is certainly not impossible. The Chinese church proves that a highly institutionalized form of Christianity can become a remarkable movement given the right circumstances. And we don't believe that we have to have persecution to activate Apostolic Genius. Less intense forms of adaptive challenges can, and do, force the church to respond. What we are witnessing in our own day indicates that. Because the church carries the gospel as well as the full coding of Apostolic Genius in her, the potential for world transformation is always present in us. We can always draw upon latent resources and instincts. God is able and very willing to stir his church up. In fact we see this as one of the very special works of the Holy Spirit--to awaken God's people to their calling and destiny as a movement that can and will change the world.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Forgotten Ways Handbook: A Practical Guide for Developing Missional Churches by Alan Hirsch & Darryn Altclass has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • CBA Retailers - 04/01/2009 page 37

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Brazos Press
Pages   223
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 5.96" Height: 0.59"
Weight:   0.66 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2009
Publisher   Brazos Press
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  1587432498  
ISBN13  9781587432491  

Availability  132 units.
Availability accurate as of Sep 25, 2017 07:54.
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More About Alan Hirsch & Darryn Altclass

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Michael Frost is professor of evangelism and missions at Morling College in Sydney, Australia, and a Baptist minister. He is the author of Exiles and the coauthor of The Shaping of Things to Come. He lives in Australia.

Alan Hirsch is founding director of Forge Mission Training Network, cofounder of, and leader of Future Travelers. He is the author of numerous books, including The Forgotten Ways. Hirsch lives in the Los Angeles area.

Alan Hirsch was born in 1959 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Director, Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice, Universi.

Alan Hirsch has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Forge Guides for Missional Conversation
  2. Leadership Networks
  3. Shapevine
  4. Shapevine Missionals

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > Missions & Missionary Work

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Forgotten Ways Handbook: A Practical Guide for Developing Missional Churches?

Mission Church Compass  May 12, 2010
There is no other missional guidebook to compare to Forgotten Ways Handbook, The: A Practical Guide for Developing Missional Churches. It is much needed for those of us in this first wave of church planting done from a standpoint of mission in a post-Christian West. I headed this review "Mission Church Compass" because I am already finding the missional term to be ambiguous. For example, many churches use it as a new synonym for "evangelical". Not to say that existing churches can not be missional; in fact Hirsch strongly supports the view that mission can be carried out from traditional church contexts. So this book is for anyone who takes seriously the call to mission. While there are other authors who along with Hirsch speak to the larger, traditional audience, few if any speak so well to those planting from scratch, in non-traditional modes. Having marinated in this book for several months with about a dozen people in such a context, at a coffee shop, I can strongly place this book at the top of the list for those navigating through the dynamics of uncharted waters.

One such dynamic presently is the sheer necessity of collaboration or group-think. The world is demanding a more egalitarian approach to spirituality, as opposed to the hierarchical structures of most existing churches. This book deals with such issues in substance and style. The content addresses issues such as the organic model and helps everyone involved find his or her calling in the body of Christ. Hirsch has adopted Paul's brilliant imagery of Ephesians 4, specifically verse 11. Participants leave this book feeling empowered, encouraged and ready to work together on mission. This begins with meaningful conversations as a group.

The conversation questions at the end of each chapter are excellent, and the writing leads people to conversation quite naturally. Many times we did not even look at the questions. People came with much to say, and a posture to listen. The chapters were fluid and intuitive - indeed that is the point: these ways are "forgotten" and we simply need to be reminded and guided.

The one exception to the fluidity and ease of reading, particularly for non-scholars or missional newbies, is the opening chapter that is pasted from the larger original book, The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church. It is heavier than this Handbook and is a bit more difficult to digest. so don't give up in the beginning. Things get lighter.

A final point is something nonverbal: The missional impulse, which is part of a larger trend in ministry, is defined by ministry as sacrifice in humility. The earlier work of Henri Nouwen comes to mind, particularly in his short book on Christian leadership, In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership. A missionary is one who becomes servant to all, notably the marginalized, needy, sick and those overlooked by religion. It would be ironic for leadership material in this genre to be authored by one who did not embody traits of Jesus, the Beatitudes, or the fruit of the Spirit. Love and humility pour from these pages and the author. His life tells the same story as the book, which I strongly recommend.
Practical missional guidelines  Mar 21, 2010
Theory and ideals about revitalising churches is fine, but guidance about how to do it is harder to come by. Here is an accessible and practical workbook for groups aspiring to develop missional momentum.

The Forgotten Ways according to Alan Hirsch, are the `Apostolic Genius' that lies dormant but accessible in the people of God, but with the pressures of modern society and the traditions of Christendom we tend to have forgotten. It is composed of six elements of missional-DNA, which the workbook unpacks and helps churches apply:

1.Jesus is Lord, the simple confession of God's claims over all of life.
2.Disciple Making, the core task of helping people become like Jesus.
3.Missional-Incarnational Impulse, planting the gospel in the midst of cultures.
4.Apostolic Environment, as leaders promote missional-DNA and cultivate space for other leaders and ministries to emerge.
5.Organic Systems, decentralised structures which unleash people to innovate and engage their communities.
6.Communitas, evolving as groups engage in adventurous mission together.
Any of these six elements are helpful, but together they foster a synergy and the kind of phenomenal growth seen in the Early Church and China. As we struggle with changes in society, the apparent disconnect of church, and the thirst for spirituality and community in the Western world, I am convinced Hirsch's reflections are worth reading, reflecting on and most importantly giving action to.

This is why the handbook Alan Hirsch has produced with Darryn Altclass is so timely. It summarises The Forgotten Ways chapter by chapter. It offers suggested habits and practices for living out the missional-DNA. And it guides groups to unpack and act on the material, discern action steps and priorities, and journal where God is prompting.

I particularly appreciated the wealth of practical ideas and examples of other congregations grappling with implementing these practices. For example, Third Place Communities in Hobart has discerned their unique calling to be a missionary community within local third places (pubs and other gathering places). They regularly ask, `What is Jesus brewing within, amongst and around us?'

The authors urge an organic and empowering approach to leadership rather than command-and-control, moving on from leader as `CEO' to the model of `catalyst': `A catalyst inspires people to connect and talk about things that matter. In a ministry sense, catalysts facilitate discussion and dreaming around participating in God's missionary endeavour.' (p.134)

The handbook is realistic about change, and the importance of good process. It offers processes for cultivating imaginative new ideas and introducing spiritual disciplines into a community. And it outlines basic principles for good missionary practice - from listening to hospitality, how to simplify church and life to free up space for relationships, and practicing proximity, regularity and spontaneity in community involvement.

The Forgotten Ways Handbook is an invaluable resource for church planters, leadership teams seeking to reshape their church around mission, and small groups wanting to move beyond the walls of their own interests. This is the best and most accessible guidebook and introduction to EMC practice. If I were to put one book into the hand of church leaders and especially a church leadership team grappling with the challenges of 21st century mission, this would be the book.

Hirsch and Altclass emphasise the importance of planning for movemental growth: `Not only is becoming a movement a challenge for most of us, but it is one that must be undertaken by as many churches and agencies as possible if we are to establish Christianity in the West. Failure here will mean the continuing decline of Christianity in every context in the West - and this is unacceptable to all committed to seeing the gospel appropriated and Jesus worshipped throughout our cities and neighbourhoods.' (pp.19-20)

Knowledge is not really worth much until it is acted upon and lived out. If you want to read a book just to think about - look elsewhere. But if you are serious about letting a book make a difference in your life and the life of your community, then get a bulk set of these and work through them with your team.

Rev Dr Darren Cronshaw is the BUV's Coordinator of Leadership Training, and Forge's Director of Theological Studies. A blog and further resources are accessible at: [...]

This review originally appeared in teh Baptist Witness, exclusive web content, [...]
An excellent and invaluable resource for the Missional church  Sep 1, 2009
It's difficult to think of a more influential voice in the missional church movement at this than Alan Hirsch. Maybe his writing partner Mike Frost?

Their books have not only defined the questions we need to be asking about church in our time and context but gone a long way towards providing the answers.

The Forgotten Ways Handbook is a crucial piece of that. The original volume, The Forgotten Ways was an erudite discussion of the shape, structure and direction of missional church. The Handbook is a down-to-earth, practical guide to putting the ideas of missional church into action. Whether as an individual or a community, this resource will help you think through contextualizing the Gospel and shaping your life along the path of the missio dei, the mission of God in this world.

Stirring Innovative Missional Action  Jul 15, 2009
[ This review originally appeared in
The Englewood Review of Books ]

THE FORGOTTEN WAYS HANDBOOK is a praxis-oriented companion to Alan Hirsch's excellent 2008 book THE FORGOTTEN WAYS: REACTIVATING THE MISSIONAL CHURCH. The purpose of this handbook is "to provide frameworks and offer suggestions as a means to inspire God's people into mission" (11). This guide consists of an introduction and six chapters - one on each of the elements of what Hirsch calls mDNA (the `m' is for missional, i.e., mDNA is the defining essence of a missional church). These elements are:

* Jesus is Lord
* Disciple Making
* Missional-Incarnational Impulse
* Apostolic Environment
* Organic Systems
* Communitas, not Community

Each chapter explores a particular element, offering suggestions to help us more fully embody that element in our churches and concluding with three sets of questions intended to be discussed corporately in the church context. The first set of questions is focused on exploration and the second one is designed to spur deeper reflection. The third and final set of questions is oriented toward action. The authors also provide frameworks for action plans, which will assist in the implementation of these ideas.

THE FORGOTTEN WAYS HANDBOOK certainly offers much for churches to consider and to discuss. Hirsch, and his co-author Darryn Altclass, do set a high bar, and I imagine that a church conversation that would proceed through this book from beginning to end would be quite grueling. However, I also imagine that discussing the topics here at a more leisurely pace - perhaps interspersed with other conversations - might bear some excellent fruit. The best use of this book, I suspect, would be for church planters as their church communities discern their missional identity together in the early stages of the plant.

If your church is headed in the missional direction, or at least is intrigued by missional ideas, read Hirsch's THE FORGOTTEN WAYS first and then if you want to share or discuss his ideas throughout your church, this handbook is an excellent way to spark conversation, and Lord willing, also "to stir innovative missional action for Jesus in this post-Christian world" (11).

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