Five Reasons Why *5Q* by Alan Hirsch is a Need-to-Read Book

NOTE: The beginning section of this review is cross-posted on the Amazon site for 5Q: Reactivating the Original Intelligence and Capacity of the Body of Christ, by Alan Hirsch (2017; published by 5Q).

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

I know it’s not normal to write a review before finishing the book. However, in this rare case of Alan Hirsch’s *5Q*, I am. That’s because I’ve read enough to know that I WILL finish it, because the first quarter of the book (preface, intro, and first two chapters) provided more than enough threshold details for me to recommend specifically why I believe you should read it, too.

In a nutshell: I am convinced from a combination of constructive and destructive experiences in 40-plus years working with non-profits, church plants, and social change activism that applying paradigm systems theory is essential to successful, sustainable transformation. And, the way I see it, *5Q* provides a conceptual framework for identifying deficiencies in our system compared to the revealed ideal, and a set of practical skills and tools for filling in gaps and filing off excesses in our systems.

This means 5Q can drive both context-based intervention when things have gone toxic, and prevention of problems in our start-up and sustainability efforts. So, 5Q is valuable to those working in situations that focus on Kingdom embodiment and personal discipleship: churches, church plants, social transformation endeavors, community development, missional impact metrics, and spiritual abuse survivor advocacy.

For those not yet acquainted with the core concepts of 5Q, here’s the kernel of the system. Ephesians 4:11-13 specifies a fivefold structure of giftedness in the Body of Christ. Using the acronym of APEST, these are: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds, and Teachers. The APEST giftings are meant to work together. Christ manifests all five and they are key to the Church universal’s genetic code. As with any genetic aberrations, a deficiency or duplication of any fivefold chromosomal element can lead to chronic illnesses, sterility, or even premature death of a body.

*5Q* is an intermediate introduction to Alan’s lifetime work in missional ministry. In it, he presents (1) the revelational and incarnational bases for the APEST typology as the Body of Christ’s genetic system, (2) practical outworkings of the system for individuals and organizations, and (3) solutions for addressing related problems. Additional component trainings and tools are available from “5Qcentral,” making this a robust, holistic system for context-sensitive ministry movements.

Here are my five observations from the first 25% of the book that convinced me to read the rest. I hope you’ll find reasons to read it in these as well! Continue reading

Watch for This Book by Deb Hirsch on Sexuality and Spirituality …

Deb Hirsch has a book due to be released from InterVarsity Press in May 2015. I have no doubt that it will become one of the most important books of the decade on the integration of gender, sexuality, and spirituality, because of her unparalleled perspective drawing from both personal life and ministry.

I first met Deb 20 years ago at an international forum on sexuality issues and recovery, and then reconnected with her almost a decade ago when I became more involved in the missional ministry movement in which she and her husband Alan are pioneers. Deb’s been working very long term on this book, and from all I know of her, I expect she will present a deeply informed and challenging integration of these very relevant topics.

Deb is an author I gladly promote, and I’d encourage you to sign up for IVP updates on Redeeming Sex: Naked Conversations About Sexuality and Spirituality. Also, see this preview from Brad Brisco, which includes an intriguing excerpt on how Deb connects spirituality and sexuality.

Congrats Deb … looking forward to reviewing your book!

Review of *UnLeader* by Lance Ford

Hear ye, hear ye … I have just posted my first-ever book review on Amazon!

It is for UnLeader: Reimagining Leadership … and Why We Must, by Lance Ford (Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2012). I received a review copy in September 2012 and read it then — and have peeked at it (and the stack of notes I wrote!) off and on ever since. I was planning to post a review last year, but other circumstances took over for a while and many things disappeared into that vortex.

However, what the time-lag added to the writing of my review was the reality that for 16 months, UnLeader keeps coming back to mind as really something extraordinary. I hope what I’ve posted will give a fresh and helpful perspective on grasping the value of what Lance Ford has produced, and the gift it is to the Kingdom. I also hope you will buy a copy, read it, and be changed by the  powerful and empowering message that Lance Ford offers!

And here is that review … Continue reading

Becky Garrison on “Fashion for Change” and “Ancient Future Disciples”

Today is the traditional day set aside in Western liturgies to celebrate the visit of the wise men to the baby Jesus. Over the years, it has become my second most favorite holiday, right after Easter weekend. Anyway, I set aside part of this day for reflection, prayer, and writing. One of the things I decided to do was to share a bit about Becky Garrison, a friend of mine who brings gifts of advocacy, insight, and challenge to disciples, ministries, churches, and movements. And lo and behold, she does so with both seriousness and satire!

Becky and I connected through that missional mogul, TallSkinnyKiwi (also known as Andrew Jones, who happens to be one of the instigators of my entry into blogging nearly 10 years ago). We’ve been in touch for a few years now, with lots of emails and a few in-person visits to round out the virtual relating. Continue reading