5Qs book review

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5Qs – Alan Hirsch

Andrew saysI have long held, along with many others, Alan Hirsch’s teaching on mission in today’s society with the utmost respect.  He is without doubt one of the most influential and mind stretching missiologists and authors of recent times. In his latest book 5Q he does not fail to deliver.  The book does not only stretch your knowledge but also gives you wonderful new insights and perspectives about the APEST. APEST, the five-fold gift mix mentioned in Ephesians 4 he argues is a vital indicator of church health.

What Hirsch does in the first half of the book, is not only outline the critical importance of identification of the gifts but also the biblical mandate for each of them.  He helpfully unpacks why the Church, especially in the West has focused in on the Shepherd Teacher and has alienated the APES, (Apostolic, Prophetic, Evangelist) and also how the resultant signs of this are a diminishing and dying church.   He goes on to say that for movement to once more take place in the body these gifts have not only to be identified, understood and encouraged but that they also need to be given their rightful place at the heart of The Body.

What Hirsch does in the first half of the book is to leave you in no doubt of his argument and more importantly the need for churches to address this need as a matter of urgency.  Wisely he does not suggest that this need is greater than the encouragement of the Shepherd Teacher, but that for an orchestra to play a symphony well you need all the parts to be in perfect harmony.

In the second half of the book he moves his thinking from the theological to the theoretical,  unpacking what we should be looking for when it comes to the gifts.  Brilliantly he unpacks the functions and the callings of each gift.  This is such a vital piece to understand.  He outlines what you can expect to see within a person as the indicators of the gifts.  He also then so helpfully outlines how these people need to function and operate.  Eg what you can and should expect them to be doing within the mission of God.  I’ve never ever seen this explained so clearly and it helped me understand in a deeper way what we need to be looking for in our leadership development and training.  He makes it so  simple yet profound.

There is no doubt at all that along with the forgotten ways this book potentially will have one of the biggest impacts on The Church once more becoming an effective missionary movement into the future.  This work is best summed up by Leonard Sweet ‘5Q is a five star masterpiece…..A breathtaking achievement that is life-giving for the church’.  I heartedly recommend that every Pioneer, and indeed every leader should read this as a matter of some urgency.