I finally finished reading Alan Hirsch's book The Forgotten Ways: reactivating the missional church. I don't even remember when I started it, and had it not been an assigned reading for my Missional Leadership Initiative, I may not have finished. I am glad I did though. It's not that it was a bad book; but it's not an easy read by any means.
I have had people telling me I needed to read this book ever since it came out in 2006. And I really liked it at first. But then it got to be so detailed and technical that I started to loathe it. It's not that it doesn't have good information in it - it does - but it's the way it is written. It's like Alan just took a really deep breath and then puked everything out at once. Some of the chapters were really long. I need things broken down into a little smaller bites so I can digest it. I did appreciate that he actually admitted this at the end of the book. However, at this point, I would suggest some other books on missional church that are much easier to read if you haven't read this one yet. I would even suggest two of Alan's other books - both of which I loved: The Shaping of Things To Come, and ReJesus.
This book left me feeling pretty deflated by the time I got done with it though. Perhaps it was just my overall mood on the day I finished it, but I pretty much feel like there is no place for me in leadership in the church. It's not that I don't understand the concept of missional church, or that I don't see the need for change... I guess it just made me feel like a waste and a drain on the kingdom because of how I operate, and maybe I should think about just giving up. It seems that every time I start to think I have a handle on things, then I find out I don't really know anything at all. Then I begin to wonder if I ever knew anything to begin with. That's kind of how this book left me: it made me feel stupid and inadequate and pretty hopeless. Which doesn't sound like a very good review (and I'm NOT a very good reviewer). The truth is, maybe it's not about the book though, but more a comment about me. So... whatever.