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On the Verge: A Journey Into the Apostolic Future of the Church

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The church is on the verge of massive, category shifting, change. Contemporary church growth, despite its many blessings, has failed to stem the decline of Christianity in the West. We are now facing the fact that more of the same will not produce different results. Our times require a different kind of church—an apostolic, reproducing, movement where every person is livin The church is on the verge of massive, category shifting, change. Contemporary church growth, despite its many blessings, has failed to stem the decline of Christianity in the West. We are now facing the fact that more of the same will not produce different results. Our times require a different kind of church—an apostolic, reproducing, movement where every person is living a mission-sent life.Many of the best and brightest leaders in the contemporary church are now making the shift in the way they think, lead, and organize. Motivated partly by a vision of the church as ancient as it is new, and with a driving desire to see Biblical Christianity establish itself in Western cultural contexts, we are indeed seeing a new form of the church emerge in our day. Hirsch and Ferguson call this “apostolic movement” because it is more resonant with the form of church that we witness in the pages of the New Testament and in the great missional movements of history. In this book, Hirsch and Ferguson share a rich array of theology, theory, and best practices, along with inspiring stories about leaders who have rightly diagnosed their churches’ failure to embrace a biblical model of mission and have moved toward a fuller expression of the gospel. On the Verge will help church leaders discover how these forerunners and their insights are launching a new apostolic movement—and how any church can get involved.


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The church is on the verge of massive, category shifting, change. Contemporary church growth, despite its many blessings, has failed to stem the decline of Christianity in the West. We are now facing the fact that more of the same will not produce different results. Our times require a different kind of church—an apostolic, reproducing, movement where every person is livin The church is on the verge of massive, category shifting, change. Contemporary church growth, despite its many blessings, has failed to stem the decline of Christianity in the West. We are now facing the fact that more of the same will not produce different results. Our times require a different kind of church—an apostolic, reproducing, movement where every person is living a mission-sent life.Many of the best and brightest leaders in the contemporary church are now making the shift in the way they think, lead, and organize. Motivated partly by a vision of the church as ancient as it is new, and with a driving desire to see Biblical Christianity establish itself in Western cultural contexts, we are indeed seeing a new form of the church emerge in our day. Hirsch and Ferguson call this “apostolic movement” because it is more resonant with the form of church that we witness in the pages of the New Testament and in the great missional movements of history. In this book, Hirsch and Ferguson share a rich array of theology, theory, and best practices, along with inspiring stories about leaders who have rightly diagnosed their churches’ failure to embrace a biblical model of mission and have moved toward a fuller expression of the gospel. On the Verge will help church leaders discover how these forerunners and their insights are launching a new apostolic movement—and how any church can get involved.

30 review for On the Verge: A Journey Into the Apostolic Future of the Church

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Some helpful stuff here, especially for thinking about the church as organic system.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stan Rea

    This book is by the founders/pastors of the Community Christian Church in the Chicago, IL. CCC is one of of at least four large mega church operations in the greater Chicago area. This book looks at what makes their approach to ministry different and worth emulating in your own ministry. The book itself is about a decade old so I kind of wonder today how these concepts are holding up. Being from the Chicago area I could just go myself and see. Maybe I will check it out on line. The big take away This book is by the founders/pastors of the Community Christian Church in the Chicago, IL. CCC is one of of at least four large mega church operations in the greater Chicago area. This book looks at what makes their approach to ministry different and worth emulating in your own ministry. The book itself is about a decade old so I kind of wonder today how these concepts are holding up. Being from the Chicago area I could just go myself and see. Maybe I will check it out on line. The big take away for me is this. The current, traditional (US) church model is designed (destined) to reach 40% of the US population. Thus, all of the hundreds and hundreds of churhes in the area are appealing to the same 40%. (The authors admit that the 40% number is somewhat arbitrary, but knowing what i do about traditional churches I would not argue about it). So, the authors ask, how can we break out of rearranging church members/attenders and break into reaching the other 60%? The bottom line is that it's not easy and unless you deeply change the fundamental DNA of the church, it isn't going to work. Better to start a new work with the proper approach.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Gustason

    Good This book has some good insights into mission of the church, but I would caution about using everything in this book. If you are not a fan of social gospel, this book will rub you wrong. The main thrust of the book is to try new approaches to church that take the individual outside of the four walls to reach the 60% who our unchurched. The book also bounces back and forth between the two authors, with one writing a chapter and the other critiquing it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy Jacobsen

    I have enjoyed the book and in general the philosophy of ministry discussed in this and other books in the Exponential series. As a leader in a parachurch campus ministry there is much that applies to our context. Some helpful tips in leading culture change will be good to reference in the future.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm Lanham

    As always anything Hirsch or Ferguson writes is full of gold. Time for the church in the US to recognize Apostolic callings in their people

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aaron J Smith

    this book has given me a ton to think about and wrestle with in my own thinking about the church, the Church, and how we Christians go about engaging mission. I am hoping to pump out a couple more posts interacting with specific parts of this book. But for now, a review: Buy and read this book. The primary focus of On the Verge is about a paradigm shift. Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson assert that the true core of Christianity is understanding that it is a people movement, not an institution. We hav this book has given me a ton to think about and wrestle with in my own thinking about the church, the Church, and how we Christians go about engaging mission. I am hoping to pump out a couple more posts interacting with specific parts of this book. But for now, a review: Buy and read this book. The primary focus of On the Verge is about a paradigm shift. Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson assert that the true core of Christianity is understanding that it is a people movement, not an institution. We have been doing and thinking about Church the same way since the days of Constantine. It isn’t working any more. It’s not true to our core identity, our DNA, as people following Jesus. Please don’t think this is simply about moving towards a more grassroots or “international” method of practicing/patronizing. On the Verge isn’t another anti mega-church, pro simple church book. It’s a call for the western church to embrace the beauty of and. Shifting our paradigm is moving away from the battle that some of us feel between church growth methods and more organic styles of church. Sorry this review isn’t more in-depth, but as I said I’m still working through the concepts, applications, and ideas presented. There is tons to think about and interact with in these pages. This book is full of large ideas, practical steps, and over all a heart that beats for the church in the west to rediscover it’s identity, it’s DNA, and to become a movement that alters the world for the glory of God.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    this is a non-fiction Christian book version of the the poem Jabberwocky. lots of impressive sounding words that when looked at closely mean nothing. on page 25 there is a list of twelve churches the authors hold up as examples of whatever they're trying to say. pastors from five of those churches are blurbed in the front of the book reccommending it. probably just a coincidence i slogged trough p. 76, my pastor chose this for our book group this month, i'll be interested to see what people got this is a non-fiction Christian book version of the the poem Jabberwocky. lots of impressive sounding words that when looked at closely mean nothing. on page 25 there is a list of twelve churches the authors hold up as examples of whatever they're trying to say. pastors from five of those churches are blurbed in the front of the book reccommending it. probably just a coincidence i slogged trough p. 76, my pastor chose this for our book group this month, i'll be interested to see what people got out of it or what meanings they give the book. in "on the verge" you'll (maybe) learn about paradgms, paradigm shifts, paradigmatic imagination, apostolic imagination, Apostolic Genius, mDNA, verge-ination, theological/organizational verges, reimagining the church, reJesusing the church, movementum, red and blue oceans, Future Travelers, and reproducing churches. you'll also learn the authors have written other books which are referred to several times and might make this one understandable by someone w/only a junior college education.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    Slugger Every time I got excited about a key component of their vision and purpose, I got buried with cyclical teaching. But that isn't my greatest fault with the book. In all their talk of getting out of the box, they insisted it had to be controlled within the box. Plus they at one point claimed this method is what will turn the church around. It is a tool, not the tool. A tool can help, direct, or hinder change. It is the Holy Spirit that will bring real change. I like the tools in the book so Slugger Every time I got excited about a key component of their vision and purpose, I got buried with cyclical teaching. But that isn't my greatest fault with the book. In all their talk of getting out of the box, they insisted it had to be controlled within the box. Plus they at one point claimed this method is what will turn the church around. It is a tool, not the tool. A tool can help, direct, or hinder change. It is the Holy Spirit that will bring real change. I like the tools in the book so I recommend it for the value in them. I can't give it more than three stars because of writing style and over stating it's role.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Freddy Lam

    Forgotten Ways + some new information from Dave. Best part are the practitioners information. It encourages me to no have an overly ideal assumption this comes easily, which it hasn't in my church. But these movements are everywhere and will prevail! Forgotten Ways + some new information from Dave. Best part are the practitioners information. It encourages me to no have an overly ideal assumption this comes easily, which it hasn't in my church. But these movements are everywhere and will prevail!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    Great read! Some good perspective on the American church culture.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Wells

    This is another gem from guys like Hirsch and Ferguson. Somewhat lengthy, but well worth your time. Would be helpful to take your church leaders and other key people through this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    A lot of good concepts, but sometimes difficult to fully grasp. It was somewhat complex.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ross

    Very challenging, but after a while it became repetitive. A great resource for any church leadership team desiring to re-examine its mission and ethos.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sam Schmitt

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Miller

  16. 5 out of 5

    Don W Hunter

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ed

  18. 4 out of 5

    John W Huddle

  19. 5 out of 5

    Justin Bell

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  21. 4 out of 5

    Caleb Henry

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Oster

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jay

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chad Puckett

  25. 4 out of 5

    David Williamson

  26. 4 out of 5

    Reed Fleming

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bill

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julie Stumbo

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tiago Martins De Almeida

  30. 4 out of 5

    Charissa Howe

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