One of the perks of receiving support from the WBA is a free Residency with Forge America. Forge is a missionary training program founded by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost in 1996 in Victoria, Australia, and the residency program is a nine month learning cohort with coaching, training sessions, some reading, and practical exercises. We had our first weekend intensive session this last Friday and Saturday. Leslie and the girls were able to join us for most of the time (which is really fun).
I am really happy that Forge exists. I’ve gone to seminary – but the more time I spend thinking and learning about missional community life, the more I see the gaps in the traditional western seminary curriculum. I think Schleiermacher came up with the general outlines: biblical theology, systematic theology, practical theology (preaching/church life stuff), and church history. In this system, missiology fits under systematic theology (and occasionally pops up other areas). Forge flips the order around in a big way. In the “institutional church” paradigm, the church has a mission. In the “missional church” paradigm, God’s mission has a church.
This is big news, and it’s good news, too. Terry (my coach and the Forge Austin hub director), reflecting on his church leadership experiences, says, “When you aim for community, you occasionally get mission. But when you aim for mission, you always get community.”
That’s all I have to share at the moment. My parents visited the week before and our house is finally under construction!