Alan Hirsch shared a fantastic quote from a book written in 1927 by Roland Allen, “The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church”. I enjoyed this thought so much I decided yet again to just put the whole thing here. Enjoy!
The spontaneous expansion of the Church reduced to its element is a very simple thing. It asks for no elaborate organisation, no large finances, no great numbers of paid missionaries. In its beginning it may be the work of one man, and that a man neither learned in the things of this world, nor rich in the wealth of this world.
The organisation of a little church on the apostolic model is also extremely simple, and the most illiterate converts can use it, and the poorest are sufficiently wealthy to maintain it. Only as it grows and spreads through large provinces and countries do any complex questions arise, and they arise only as a church composed of many little churches is able to produce leaders prepared to handle them by experience learned in the smaller things. There is no need at the beginning to talk of preparing leaders to face great national issues. By the time the issues have become great and complex the leaders of the little churches of today will have learned their lesson, as they cannot possibly be taught it beforehand.
No one, then, who feels within himself the call of Christ to embark on such a path as this need say, I am too ignorant, I am too inexperienced, I have too little influence, or I have not sufficient resources. The first apostles of Christ were in the eyes of the world ‘unlearned and ignorant’ men: it was not until the Church had endured a persecution and had grown largely in numbers that Christ called a learned man to be His apostle. The missionaries who spread the Gospel and established the Church throughout the lands round the Mediterranean are not known to us as men of great learning or ability. Most of them are not known by name at all. Only when the Church had been established and had spread widely did Christ call the great doctors whose names are familiar to us by their writings or by their great powers of organisation and government.
What is necessary is faith. What is needed is the kind of faith which uniting a man to Christ, sets him on fire. Such a man can believe that others finding Christ will be set on fire also. Such a man can see there is no need of money to fill a continent with the knowledge of Christ. Such a man can see that all that is required to consolidate and establish that expansion is the simple application of the simple organisation of the Church. It is to men who know that faith, who see that vision, that I appeal. Let them judge what I have written.
Roland Allen, The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, 150.
Alan Hirsch will once again be speaking at the Organic Church Planting Movements Conference in Los Angeles, CA in couple of weeks. I look forward to once again hearing his profound insights into post-modern ministry and the simple church concept. If you haven’t read his books, “The Forgotten Ways” and “The Shaping of Things to Come”, they should be on your list! You can find more information on all of this and other resources by following these links: