If attendance is the measure of success then the National Forge Summit this weekend was supremely successful.
Over 600 people (yes – that’s the latest accurate figure) attended some part of the event and somewhere in the low 500’s were there the whole time.
The attendance does say at very least, that people are interested in what they perceive Forge to be on about. While at best it marks a landmark occasion and a galvanising of people for missional action in our nation.
Of course the question that hangs is ‘what will happen now?’ What will change because a bunch of people came together to network, hear stories, be inspired and re-think mission? If it doesn’t translate to action on the ground then nothing – yes nothing of substance has really occurred. Learning must translate to changed behaviour
If it does… then look out.
I am very optimistic about the impact of the weekend – partly because I sense this is something the Holy Spirit is doing and partly because I think we are well set up to facilitate and develop the action that has been catalysed as a result of the weekend.
Whatever else gets said this is probably as good a place as any to pay tribute to the work of Alan Hirsch as a leader and pioneer in the whole area of missional church. I have only known Alan for 3 years, but we have become really good friends and I am grateful for both his influence on my life and his friendship. I understand that he and Forge were pretty pointy in the early days as they sought to present an alternative imagination of church and that they gave a fair bit of ‘stick’ and also copped it back from others.
It takes great courage to keep leading when you are going against the flow and when others are calling you a fool and a heretic. As this weekend passes and there is a growing acceptability for the EMC it would be easy to forget the pain of birth that Alan and others have endured as they have led the way here.
I Thank God for both Alan and Frosty who put their balls on the line and led the way in calling us to dance to a different tune when it was not popular to do so.
I have a sense that Australian Church History will remember Alan as one of the greats and one of the true pioneers and revolutionaries. Yes… that’s a big rap, but I have a feeling that we are seeing a huge shift occurring in the church and we need to say thanks to God and to the people who have the courage to lead where he calls.
Good on ya Hirschy. You’re a bloody legend!