By: Alan Hirsch Over the last 2 years, I have been delighted to work with a unique group of movement-minded practitioners and thinkers about the next chapter of the missional conversation. Will Mancini, Dave Rhodes, Neil Cole, and myself have been dreaming and designing the process for well over a year now. (Jessie Cruikshank, Nick Boring, and Jeremiah Aja have more recently joined the team). The outcome of those gatherings is a brand new non-profit consultative training organization named 100 Movements. 100M will be totally geared towards recruiting, training, coaching one hundred “ninja churches” and helping them to transition into becoming fully fledged, reproducing, spiritually vibrant, apostolic movements that operate squarely on the six elements of mDNA outlined in my centerpiece work, The Forgotten Ways.
To help you understand how we visualize the problem we face and the solution we think we need to appropriate, here is the key visual we use to describe and frame the whole 100M process….
The process towards the renewal of apostolic movement …
- Starts with the realization that the institutional imagination that dominates our thinking has brought us to this critical moment. The prevailing forms, derived as they are from the European experience, are Inextricably bound up with the history and hegemony of Christendom modes of thinking. In this paradigm (for that is what it is…a paradigm) Constantine is still effectively the emperor of our imaginations—he is still telling us how to think about ourselves as church. The face is unhappy here because he has come to the sobering realization that what has brought us to this point simply does not have the wherewithal to guide the church into the 21st Century. It’s the end of the road for the Constantinian church and the journey to learning starts with seeing the problem in its starkest terms (ch.1 and 2)
- The second phrase involves “dethroning Constantine” and beginning to reimagining the church as missional movement. This is a fundamental paradigm shift that changes they way we frame or understand what was previously familiar. This means embracing the belief that somehow the future of the church is bound up with recovering its innate movement ethos and living into it. This is not a silver bullet; rather it provides us with a silver imagination, and (re)imagination is where it all starts.
- Then it involves us recognizing that all the potentials of movement are actually latent within the church. In other words, the seeds of our future are already contained in the womb of the present. Another way of saying this is that the macrocosm is already contained in the microcosm. The potential for the whole is already contained in the smallest unit. We don’t have to import the answers; we simply have to realize that Jesus has already given us everything we need to get the job done. But we are also going to have to remove all the many “movement killers”, the residual elements of Christendom thinking that that are laced through our theology, thinking, and practices, that effectively suppress or diminish the church’s innate capacities for movement. This requires determination and vision. I am sure it can be done, but not without effort to redesign the system as movement.
- The fourth element in the diagram is the fully birthed apostolic movement. The diagram shows that movements are incredible fertile cultures that can generate and maintain all kinds of innovative, incarnationally contextualized, forms of church. Movements can contain multiple models, are innately reproducible, and can deliver wide impact. Note therefore that existing form of church is also is very much part of the movement, but now it is not the only form. Its monopoly is broken.
100M proper will only be starting in 2017. The reason for this is that we have to build the system that can deliver long term, deep change, process. But if you think that your church is ready for the journey described above, please register interest at 100Movements.com.
If you want to to be one of the first 100 churches in our starter track called Leap Year–which starts in late Spring of 2016–you can download our Leap Year flyer, view our Good Faith Agreement (below), or contact us for more information. For Will Mancini’s take on the value of 100M and Leap Year, read his post here.