“Right here, right now“ is one of the latest books published by the Australian missiologist Alan Hirsch, co-published by Lance Ford. I had already read several books by Alan, so I hesitated in getting another one. But since I wanted to read something more practical, I got it at Amazon for very little money. And it is really worth reading it!
“Right here, right now“ is divided into three sections, all written by Lance; in my opinion the heart of the whole book and the reason why I really appreciate it. Alan added two chapters (“Briefing“ and “Debriefing“), something like frames around Lance’s sections, where Alan tells about his theory of missional church. I think, it is a great reading especially for people who have not been too deep into this whole thing of missional church and gives you the core values and thoughts of it.
In the so-called “Briefing“ Alan explains his missional theology: “Missionality“ means to him a special form of mission which should be practiced by all Christians as a mass movement (31). Practically, this mass movement happens by the combination of these two essential parts: On the one hand there is the apostolic ministry, done by ministers in the context of church and as a ministry to the rest of the body of ChristBut on the other hand there is the “full-time ministry“ of the whole body of Christ where everybody during his everyday business/life “works“ as a missionary – right there, where you are. These two parts together form the so-called “transformational Jesus movement“ (32). Especially on the first part there are several books available, so “Right here, right now“ is for the second part of people.
In this chapter you find some of the “classical“ terms of missional theology:
1. Missio Dei: As Jesus was sent by God to be and live on earth as part of the people, so should all Christians live together with Not-yet-Christians and not separate each other from them (35ff.).
2. Third places: A very practical possibility to get in contact with people are so-called third places. Besides your family and your job you might have a third place where you spend some time on a regular basis, e.g. a coffee café, a gym, etc. (40f.).
3. Cross-cultural mission: Since the number of people increases who are alien to the churches and Christianity you need to find other links to people outside the church (Alan calls it “the Athenean way“ in appeal to Paul, Acts 17); interesting might be the question: What is “Good News“ for today’s people (41f.; 45)?
4. Non-dualistic life/spirituality: God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit has to reach in every single part of life to transform these aspects through His reign (47ff.).
Here we already get to know one of the crucial points not only of this book but of the missional church in general: It is about relationships with people, you normally would not have in the familiar environment of church. It sis about getting sensitive for people outside the church buildings – not to attract them into church, but to live with them on a very natural basis where they are and to transform their lives (not by preaching first, but by sharing your life). The books tries to give practical help in filling out this theoretical approach.
Theologically it means that both, Alan and Lance, are interested in a form of Christianity which is not only concerned about the after-life and getting saved, but with the church, the world and God “right here, right now“.
So, the introduction is especially for people who have not (yet) read “The shaping of things to come“, “The forgotten ways“, and “Untamed“. If you want an abstract about these books, here you find a good one.