Shaping of Things to Come

blah3 Blah is on today in London. “The Shaping of Things to Come” with Mike Frost (Sydney) and Alan Hirsch (Melbourne). I met Frosty in Sydney a few years ago, and am looking forward to meeting Alan face to face at last. I will be going north for some meetings tomorrow and Wednesday with them and some other church leaders discussing the various training programs for ministry in the emerging culture. Should be a good time. That means i will not be leading Suddenly Seminary – but some of you may want to go ahead and meet in there anyway.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Rob Lewin says:

    love to hear your take on frost and hirsch. Some less than glowing responses out in the UK blogland.

  • Darren Rowse says:

    looking forward to hearing your take on it all too – give Alan hell for us back here in Melbourne! 🙂

  • Darren Rowse says:

    What is the negative take Rob? Interested to hear the critique….point me to some links?

  • dan says:

    As I celebrate a new birthday, Speaking of the Shaping of Things to come, adds excitement to the new year. Andrew, I remember your exciting recent birthday so I to am adding the birthday more

  • Alan Hirsch says:

    And I too am curious Andrew. As someone who understands a little of both contexts. It seems to me that the Poms are tad touchy. We talked about a concept called communitas, not invoke WW3!!! Its quite bizarre really. It was great to meet you at last. Keep in touch. What did Rob Lewin mean ‘give me hell?” ???

  • andrew says:

    Hi Alan
    Great to meet you also.
    It was Darren who said to give you hell, and I passed that message on to you. Rob was probably tuning in to the negative posts that preceded your coming to UK – something that righted itself after people spoke well of you guys. Good to see you speaking back at the conversation on steves blog>.

  • Rob Lewin says:

    Alan, Andrew, Darren,
    Touchy is right! Lilly and I got our butts burned for some comments in January. So, Alan, I get some of the incredulity of all of this. But within this international family of people who love the new emerging/POMO church there is clearly a willingness to be very upfront about concerns when we have ’em. We say what we think cause if we don’t, we’ll get run over by some mainstream plasticised version of what we don’t really believe.
    For my part I loved Shaping and have given away every copy I’ve had! So I not only wanted to be at the event, and enjoy some lovely blond belgian brews (but I couldn’t), but also was very interested in what the bloggers would say.
    So my first review of the Shaping presentation was, as Gareth and Andrew so clearly mentioned on the comments above, on SmalLFire. Steve the blogger there is passionate about issues like this. I hope you met him. So I was wondering when I commented here what Andrew thought of this little clam bake. I also wondered to Jonny Baker, and Gareth had already commented as well at MootBlog.
    Knowing these people gives me a trust in their collective voice and since I loved the book, I keenly interested in the outcome of these conversations.
    I think over all, if you are willing to continue in the blog conversations, it would be great.
    So while you’re all here:
    Do you think their evaluations are accurate?
    Do they raise valuable questions.
    Do you accept the analysis of people doing this stuff every day?
    Part of the emergent ethos from Doug Pagitt in the states, is that this is truly a conversation. We love having you. And feel free to call us out on being too sensitive, or whiney losers, or whatever. Cause we all do that sometimes. Yes?
    Thanks for speaking, making this tour, writing, and caring about how the church meets the world as life unfolds into the new century. And please don’t let our toughness push you away. We’re the folks on your team and want the life we express to count every day. It’s why we care.

  • Alan Hirsch says:

    Thanks a ton Rob for the feedback above. Like I said above, I was more surprised because I expected that we were talking ‘within the tribe’ so to speak. I must admit that at times during the conversations it has felt that maybe it was two tribes after all. Although my instincts say otherwise. I suspect it is because the Alt Worship movement is very well established, relatively succesfull, and has wide legitimacy, in the UK that it does not yet feel the need to move to being more missional. It never got that in our context. It always felt like it was a halfborn attempt at becoming missional– Alt Worship being a recontenxtualisation of worship, and contextaulisation in turn being a subset of being genuinely missional. It seemed fruitless to us to stop at recontextualiseing worship for Christians alone.
    I suspect that in the UK the Alt Worship mvt. is a RENEWAL movement and not a MISSIONARY one. Do you get my meaning?
    As for you questions:
    Do I think their evaluations are accurate?
    Yes and no. They were right to pick up on the feminine and masculine modes of community (community vs. communitas). I do think there is something in this. But I do feel that the more masculine, in its healthiest sense, is the missing mode. Most forms of church in the west are I think in the ‘feminine’ (ie. the receptive/passive) mode. It seems to me that we do lack an actional element, a common cause that takes us out of our passivity into engagement with the big issues. I must admit to finding this frustrating, and dare I say it, emasculating.
    Do they raise valuable questions.
    Yes. I think dialogue, even debate, is so important in coming to the awareness of truth. It made us think about what we were wanting to say. We hope to write on communitas together, so I can say that it has been invaluable.
    Do you accept the analysis of people doing this stuff every day?
    I will always accept the analysis of a genuine practitioner. Always. However, I suspect much of the blog hype was by people theorizing about things rather than giving things a go.
    Thanks again for having me. The naughty side of me likes raising a bit of dust so I am not unhappy with the outcome. At least people are talking, and interested enough to dialogue.
    All the very best!

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