Alan Hirsch lives the adventure of being a follower of Jesus. His experiences and learnings show clearly in his writings, and even more so in this book written with his wife, Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship, released in February 2010.
In 9 packed chapters, he and his wife Debra look at church and culture and cast a vision for living a missional life that makes a difference.
I found myself repeatedly saying “Preach it!” as I read through this book. Each chapter ends with suggestions and study questions that will push groups to engage the culture around them.
The Holy Spirit’s role in being Untamed
For me, the biggest contribution this book makes to the missional discussion is the chapter on the Holy Spirit. Between the emotional excesses of certain Pentecostal expressionism, and the dry intellectual and theological control of fundamentalism, Hirsch paints a picture of his own discovery of growing in understanding the person and work of the the Holy Spirit.
Even moreso, Hirsch shares what a Spirit inspired missionaly theology might look like (which chapter 3 teases out):
- Some creativity
- Risky mission
- Personal Transformation (2 Cor 3.18)
- A growing love (Romans 5.5)
- Learning community
- Some miracles
- Spiritual community
- A lot more discernment
- Unity around Jesus.
- Ecstasy and Intimacy
- Liberation and Transformation
Untamed is a book on missional theology and mission discipleship: what might this look like, what do these terms mean for Christians as we seek to call others into a relationship with Christ.
Following Christ is more than just an intellectual agreement with a set of propositional truths. Following Christ impacts all of our life and our calling as we seek to be centered around the life, death, resurrection, and mission of Jesus.
The incarnation is a foundation for ministry and the authors encourages readers to really refresh their own personal study of the Gospel to see how Jesus treated people. As you learn more from Jesus, you’ll learn to engage your own spirituality and how that plays out in your life of making a difference.
As you grow in your understanding of discipleship, this will impact how you call others to discipleship. Studying the incarnation will impact not only who we are, but what we do in the community. Throughout the book, they tell their own personal stories of what that looked like, and what principles we might be able to apply to our own contexts.
If you are tired of boring Sunday only Christianity, this book will hopefully light the fires of change. If you want to awaken a passion in your discipleship, this book can help you get started.
Favorite quote from Untamed:
We have called this an incarnation of the heart, and believe it is essential if we are to embody what it is to be like Jesus and to offer this gift to the rest of humanity.
Identification on the level of the heart implies a certain intimacy with the people you are trying to reach.
Identification, as we’ve said before, is understanding their stories, their heroes, their books, their take on things.
To incarnate on the level of the heart means we begin to feel their stories, their lives, their pains. Our hearts and compassion are thereby activated (p. 246)
Following the logic of the incarnation itself, our message is heard properly only when we have gone through the process of identifying with people, hearing them, understanding the issues they face, humbly living with them, and knowing how they experience and express their search for meaning.
If we do this, we will have earned the right to address the hearts of the people and bring salvation to them. (p. 248)
Get your copy from Amazon (affiliate link:) Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship.