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5 Stars Out Of 5
a must read for those who want to grow the church
February 2, 2013
a great book, sensible, readable and compelling arguments! The authors do a great job of pointing out that the Christian life is a life of faith and risk. Our addiction to comfort is not only idolatrous, it is also ungodly. This is on my list of 3 best books that I read in 2012.
This book causes us to think about the "adventure" in our Christian walk. It reminds us that even though we serve a good God, He is not always a safe God. He takes us out of our comfort zone and challenges us in our faith. Great book.
The authors, Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, believe they have written a first of its kind book on risk, adventure and courage as it pertains to the church, mission and spirituality. Taking for granted the information in their book is worth reading, it is worth noting that perhaps people aren't reading books about courage and risk in their Christian walk, or, on the other hand, maybe they are reading them but failing to apply them. "The Faith of Leap" is academic in nature. It is a teaching mechanism for pastors and church leaders to use in order to bring a clear focus of God's calling to His people.
Christians today seek safety within the confines of security and the ability to control their environment. Having been told far too often that God can be whoever we want Him to be and live our lives however we feel led, Frost and Hirsch's book will bring clarity to God's calling in our lives. Through their book, they teach readers how to overcome fear and risk aversion to become the people God intended them to be.
"The Faith of Leap" is a practical book and is information heavy. It is a part of the Baker Books' Shapevine Missional Series whose mission is to bring "innovative thinking to the missional issues of church planting, mission, evangelism, social justice, and anything in between." The Series focuses on Living, Learning and Leading.
Michael Frost is an Australian missiologist and a leading voce in the missional church movement. Alan Hirsch is the founding director of Forge Mission Training Network and cofounder of Shapevine.com. He is currently leading an innovative learning program called Future Travelers, helping numerous megachurches become missional movements. He and Frost have also written "The Shaping of Things to Come."
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Baker Books as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Drawing on sources as diverse as J.R.R. Tolkien, sociology, anthropology, mythology and Disney films, authors Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch take a close look at ideas of adventure, heroism, and risk-taking as a means of both missional outreach and fostering deep community within the church. They outline elements of hero myth to illuminate the desire and need for adventure, for breaking out that lies deep within each person and describe how these yearnings find their source in the life of Jesus Christ who exemplified this idea of adventure and risk-taking.
In contemporary society, risk is an enemy and we work sedulously to remove it; we have become a risk-averse people, insulating ourselves from many experiences that might otherwise have proven beneficial. The authors predict the end of the Western Church as we know it if it continues to embrace the false idols of comfort and security and is unwilling to get out of its insular building and into the lives of the community in which it is placed. A bold and sobering claim to be sure, but one eminently worth considering.
Using as an example Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the deep community forged among the members of the fellowship through shared trial and hardship, the authors offer a solution that explores how the church can and must embrace risk and adventure by consciously placing itself in risk situations that foster liminality. Liminality is a place of disorientation due to loss of familiar context, where members of a community must rely on each other in order to survive, thus creating bonds that run much deeper than is the case with ordinary acquaintances or passing friends; in fact, creating the type of community that people long for. Much church community these days looks more like a mixture of sharing, Bible study, and support group. These have their necessary place, but far deeper and more meaningful community can be accessed through shared adventures and risk-taking.
What does such risk look like? The authors suggest that it is the missional risk of being neighborly, of meeting people where they are in their lives; of being rooted in a community and becoming part of it; learning who its leaders, advocates and outcasts are; working there and living there; saying yes to all invitations; listening. In short, willingly casting aside comfort, being okay with unknown outcomes and casting aside the need to control of such outcomes.
If you care about the future of the church or creating deep community, I would highly recommend this book.