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The church is on the verge of massive, category shifting, change. Contemporary church growth, despite its many blessings, has failed to stem the decline of Christianity in the West. We are now facing the fact that more of the same will not produce different results. Our times require a different kind of church—an apostolic, reproducing, movement where every person is living a mission-sent life.Many of the best and brightest leaders in the contemporary church are now making the shift in the way they think, lead, and organize. Motivated partly by a vision of the church as ancient as it is new, and with a driving desire to see Biblical Christianity establish itself in Western cultural contexts, we are indeed seeing a new form of the church emerge in our day. Hirsch and Ferguson call this “apostolic movement” because it is more resonant with the form of church that we witness in the pages of the New Testament and in the great missional movements of history. In this book, Hirsch and Ferguson share a rich array of theology, theory, and best practices, along with inspiring stories about leaders who have rightly diagnosed their churches’ failure to embrace a biblical model of mission and have moved toward a fuller expression of the gospel. On the Verge will help church leaders discover how these forerunners and their insights are launching a new apostolic movement—and how any church can get involved.
About the AuthorsAlan Hirsch is an award-winning author on various aspects of missional Christianity and co-founder of Future Travelers, an intentional learning journey for contemporary churches seeking to transition to becoming authentic movements
Dave Ferguson is a spiritual entrepreneur and the lead pastor of Community Christian Church, an innovative multi-site missional church with eleven locations in Chicago. Dave is the movement leader for NewThing, an international network of reproducing churches. He is also the coauthor of The Big Idea. Check out the latest from Dave on his blog (www.daveferguson.org) or follow his everyday adventures on twitter @daveferguson.
'Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson are an exciting fusion for a book with stories, experiments, and best practices of the innovative, frontline churches. Europe has cause for great hope on the verge of something very significant in the life of the church in the west. With this book, inspiration and encouragement is given for all existing and future churches in Europe.' -- N. D. Strupler
'This is a must read for every pastor and denominational leader. Alan and Dave have masterfully described the path to multiplication by revealing what it means to see an orchard in every seed...by activating 'the latent potentials that are already present but largely inactive in most churches.' It is seeing the potential for a church in the DNA of every believer. This is the 'both/and' approach that is desperately needed in the Church.' -- Tammy Dunahoo
There is a desperate need around the world for established churches to become more effective missional ventures into their local communities. Alan and Dave are passionate about this cause and On the Verge is an outstanding resource packed full of lessons for those serious about engaging in this exciting yet challenging adventure. I highly recommend it! - Mark Conner, CityLife Church – Australia -- Mark Conner
'American pastors are naturally pragmatic. As these pastors look at the church scene there is a nearly unanimous note of despair and frustration: church is not working very well. And doing the same old thing and expecting different results is not the solution. The world in which the American church finds itself is radically changing; a changing world demands a changing church. The American church at its core needs to recapture and live out an “apostolic genius.” Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson in On the Verge invite readers to re-imagine what it means to be church. They contend that any church can be missional, and every church must be missional. This is not a call to new and quick fixes, rather it is an invitation to reflect and work hard, to question old structures, and be open to emerging structures, and to do all of this with a prayerful confidence in the moving of the Lord. I highly recommend this book to pastors and church leaders who are willing to be disturbed and are eager to see the Lord work in new ways.' -- Kurt Fredrickson
Hirsch and Ferguson point the way towards an exquisitely hopeful future for the Church. They call upon it, in all of its various expressions, to rekindle and release it their essential missional DNA, and they show how the church united can be the church ignited. Brilliant. - Linda Bergquist, church planting strategist with the North American Mission Board and co-author of Church Turned Inside Out -- Linda Bergquist, Author
'God is on the move and the church is On the Verge of seeing new apostolic movements in the West. This book shows us that even some of the churches considered by many to be highly successful in the US are not content with bigger and better worship services but are seriously considering ways to eventually release apostolic movements. It is encouraging to see that these high-profile churches realize that true success is becoming reproducible, empowering of the ordinary follower and measuring their success three and four generations removed out in the fields of real life. This book is a challenge to established churches to follow Jesus into the real mission fields all around us rather than expect the people to come to us. My hope for the future has been elevated.' -- Neil Cole, Author
'For most leaders, the words 'apostolic' and 'movement' emote fear, guilt, and a sense of hopelessness. Finally, a book of deep concepts not only connects you to the possibilities, but gives you practitioner-based principles and stories that will help you live and lead in God's Gospel wave for the future.' -- Hugh Halter, Author
As a mega-church pastor I couldn’t put this book down. A spot on approach for the mega and church growth churches of the last decades to reframe ourselves as high impact, exponentially reproducing, missional movements. - Mike Slaughter, Ginghamsburg Church and author of Change the World -- Mike Slaughter, Author
No doubt, missional is the “word of the day” right now. The word is slapped in front of almost everything. Often when people use that word, they are simply using it as a buzzword, swapping it for another subset word – evangelism, social justice, global missions, local missions, emergent, and the list goes on. If you’re ready to go to the core of what missional actually means, then On The Verge is the next book you should read. More than that, if you’re ready to move your local church beyond conceptual conversation toward real word practice, then On The Verge is the next book you should read. - Rob Wegner - Pastor of Life Mission, Granger Community Church / Lead Catalyst, EnterMission -- Rob Wegner, Pastor
On the Verge extends the powerful categories and framework established by Hirsch in the Forgotten Ways, providing “handles” and practical examples of how to move forward for churches who are in the process of making the shift to missional, incarnational ministry. Ferguson’s insights as a leader who is making this shift brings proven concepts to life with real-world application. I recommend it for anyone looking to make the transition toward's a missional, incarnational church. - Jeff Vanderstelt, Pastor, Soma Communities -- Jeff Vanderstelt, Pastor
This is who I'm called to be! That was my gut reaction when I first met the missional conversation. Since then I've been on the exciting and deeply challenging journey it is to figure out what it looks like to live in God's mission. Sadly, we've far too often placed lots of churches and people who follow Jesus in the 'not missional' box, instead of taking them on that same journey. Therefore, this book is a gift to the church, and a must read for every leader. It calls every church and Christ-follower to join God in His mission, and gives framework and tools we all can use to start the journey. - Egil Elling – Lead Pastor, IMI Kirken, Norway -- Egil Elling, Pastor
'There are lots of books these days on being a missional church but this one adds practical ideas and real stories of churches implementing this into their existing ministry. While pointing to a need for a new paradigm, Ferguson and Hirsch give a needed framework for getting from where we are to where we are heading.' -- Dave Travis, Managing Director
'The number one question I am asked in Canada is... Can existing churches change to become more missional?' Although we do not have many mega churches like in the States, what Alan and dave have done in On the Verge is to give principles and stories that will help churches of all sizes not only understand the missional conversation, but begin to move towards changing the DNA towards a deeper more missional understanding of who we are as the people of God - joining Him on His mission. You must read it often.' -- Cam Roxburgh, Senior Pastor
'A priesthood of all believers, unleashed and commissioned to impact the world everywhere they touch it – what a novel idea! Sounds a lot like something Jesus taught and expected but, sadly, something much of the western church has long forgotten. Thankfully, Alan Hirsh and Dave Ferguson remind and challenge us anew to step back and let the Jesus’ church be his church. With careful analysis, thoughtful theory, and real-life examples they paint a picture of what it looks like when pastors and leaders once again realize that expanding the kingdom is far more important than simply building a bigger church.' -- Larry Osborne, Pastor and Author
'I truly believe God could use this work to usher in a whole new paradigm of thinking for thousands of pastors and ministry leaders across America. It’s time once again that we view and do church in a radically different way. I believe every church leadership team in the country should be reading this together right now.' -- Shawn Lovejoy, Lead Pastor
'What do you do when the old ways of doing church just don’t seem to work anymore? Thousands of pastors are asking this question at a time when the Church seems to be in danger of being marginalized in our culture. There are no two people better equipped to answer this question than my good friends Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson. Their book does more than provide solutions: it gives hope that the Church’s best days are yet to come.' -- Greg Surratt, Lead Pastor
'This book won't just make you think. It'll make you rethink the way you lead, the way you dream, and the way you do church.' -- Mark Batterson, Lead Pastor