Recovering the Danger -The Forgotten Ways

When Hirsch refers to the church buildings in his book, I believe he is conferring the ‘ fortress mentality’ onto a recognizable structure and not criticizing the bricks of the cathedral. The fortress mentality arose in the period of Christendom where the chief organizing principle for believers was the church. It lay at the core of the social structure of the believers life and by necessity, as it was tied to its foundation, it was attractional. If you were not attracted to the principles of the church, you found yourself outside of the fortress walls. Hirsch correctly points out that with a few exceptions, this organizational model doesn’t work in the modern world.

It might be overlooked by the casual reader but the Stark quote that Hirsch employs to help explain the inverse shape of the missional movement is genius. From Stark’s For the Glory of God, he quotes:

Far too long, historians have accepted the claim that the conversion of the Emperor Constantine caused the triumph of Christianity. To the contrary, he destroyed its most attractive and dynamic aspects, turning a high-intensity, grassroots movement into an arrogant institution controlled by an elite who often managed to be both brutal and lax.

The return to the grassroots, high intensity community of faith is at the heart of the missional church. Rather than reliance upon the old attractional models of the fixed cathedral, the faith of mission grows legs and takes it to the very tribes that each congregation is most attuned to reaching.