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Mike R

Actually one thing I've never understood. Where does a statistic like this come from:

"there are 111 million christians worldwide without a local church. and there are 20000 movements and networks with 394 million members that are outside of denominational structures - what he calls independants. but if we look at church through the older ways of measuring it nearly all this activity is invisible."

Its not just Hirsch who says this - I've seen it referred to elsewhere.

I mean - I know this is a bit of a tangent - but, if "all this activity is invisible", then how do we know it exists? Who are these 111 million christians made up of, and how do we know they're there?


i have no idea - i haven't read the book that is quoted but alan makes the point that this is significant even if the real number was 10% of that...

Shane Vander Hart

Not a new book at all, but I appreciated Pete Ward's thoughts in God at the Mall. We need to continually consider how we can be missional and incarnational to our approch in youth ministry.

As for me, I hang out with kids in jail (as a visitor, not a resident) :).

Paul Walker

Good comments Jonny

To fill the gap between now and when you get to a more detailed review, perhaps folks might like to visit my blog, where I'm blogging through the book chunk by chunk. I'm currently about 180 pages into it so there is plenty of content there!

I wouldn't normally jump in with such a blatant plug, but Alan Hirsch was kind enough to give me a big plug on his site and encouraged people to visit my blog.

Alan Hirsch

Thanks Jonny for the start on the book. As for my taking a pop at the alt worshp scene, whenever I did, I qualified it by staing my respect for and indebtedness to the movement. I certainly see myself as more part of that tribe than not. I admire the sheer creativity of it. My points where to highlight that it was largely not a missional movement but rather a renewal movement that introduced renewal in the church's worshipping life. Please do not take offense.

As far as the stats go, feel free to read Barret et. al's work on the 'independents'. You can find it in the World Christian Encyclopaedia. I warn you it is about 5 volumes thick!! Its their own summary of their findings and no-one doubts the validity of their assesments.


i am not sure you can globalise the alt.worship into a neat summary of "not a missional movement but rather a renewal movement that introduced renewal in the church's worshipping life."

in new zealand the alt.worship movement emerged from a commitment to misssional incarnation in culture. we read john 1:14, we read ward's stuff on incarnation in youth culture, we read bosch's transforming mission, we read roxburgh's reaching a new generation and his models of contextual evangelism.

alt.worship might not have achieved it's full potential, it might have struggled with the blight of the rise and fall of NOS, it might have sagged under the weight of it's own rhetorical dreams, but its inital DNA was mission.

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