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Interview with writer(s) of The Permanent Revolution

March 13, 2012

Alan Hirsch and Tim Catchim recently co-write a book called The Permanent Revolution that I think is an extremely important read for the church today (in full disclosure, I also contributed a little to the book in a few select places). Alan and Tim are both friends of mine and Tim graciously agreed to do a quick interview on the book for this blog (you can read one that Alan did with Ed Stetzer by clicking here).

  • How did you and Alan get together to write this book?

I (Tim) was initially writing a book on a niche topic within the apostolic function related to power and authority within the relational terrain of doing apostolic ministry. I wanted Alan to write the forward to this book, so I sent him a half finished, rough draft copy of it to request his favor. He said yes and I continued to write. A year later Alan approached me about co-authoring on the subject of the apostolic person, ministry and leadership in general. I said yes and the project began. It has been great working with him.

  • What’s the central point you and Alan are hoping to get across?

We see an integral link between the exiling of the apostles, prophets, and evangelists (APE’s) from the language, ministry and leadership structures of the church and the current decline we as a movement are experiencing here in the Western context. If the church is going to effectively reverse this decline, it will need to reintegrate these more generative forms of ministry and leadership, the apostolic in particular, into the churches imagination and practice. Out of the APE’s, it is the apostolic person and vocation that provides us with our most missional form of ministry. They are the ones most likely to cross geographical and cultural boundaries with the gospel to establish innovative and sustainable expressions of the ecclesia in unbroken soil. Without this pioneering form of ministry, the church will likely not break out of it’s current pattern of only reaching a minor segment of the cultural and socioeconomic landscape in the West. We need all five ministries of APEST, the apostolic in particular, if we are going to meet the adaptive challenge of missional extension in our time and place.

  • What is one thing you think this book says that nothing/no one else is currently saying?

The book was originally going to be about the apostolic role and function, but we soon came to the conclusion that we did not want to frame the solution to our dilemma around a singular ministry or gifting. In other words, we did not want to come across as saying the apostolic was a silver bullet, or the fivefold either for that matter. As a result, we decided to front load the book with a thorough exploration into the fivefold ministries of APEST. This material in and of itself is a massive contribution to a blue ocean of the publishing world. In looking to substantiate our thinking on APEST, we literally encountered what we thought to be an enormous deficit of material on this significant formulation of Paul’s ecclesiology in the Ephesian 4 text. There was literally almost nothing to be found!!! We hope this initial contribution to the discourse on Ephesians 4 will serve as a foundational platform on which others can stand and generate further elaborations, discoveries and discourse on this eerily neglected portion of the Pauline corpus and our subsequent notions of ecclesiology and missional ministry.

In addition to the material on APEST, we devote the last 2/3 of the book to the apostolic person, ministry, leadership and organizational design. One of the many unique things in this portion of the text is our exploration into the undeveloped frameworks of both the Pauline and Petrine forms of apostleship, along with the distinct influence and impact these two forms of apostolic ministry bring to the churches quest to be a truly missional movement.

  • What are you hoping Christian leaders will do after reading it?

A big win from this text would be a re-legitimization and a re-integration of the apostles, prophets, and evangelists back into the imagination, language, leadership and ministry structures of the church. We are called to be the fullness of Jesus in the world, and we can hardly do this on a two-fold shepherd-teacher model of ministry and leadership. Without the more generative and adaptive ministries of the APE’s, we simply will not achieve movement or missional impact. After reading this text, it is our hope that leaders will begin to recognize the diversity of callings and giftedness in their communities and begin to utilize language and initiate structures and environments that will create space for the body of Christ to truly express the full range of it’s fivefold nature. This will be a critical step forward in our day and time.

  • What kind of early feedback have you been getting from people who have read it?

We have received an overwhelmingly positive response so far, both from leaders and scholars who have reviewed, endorsed, or simply read through the material since its release. We make some pretty controversial claims in the book, so it will not be long before we will be taken to task on some of them, I am sure. This is all good and necessary though. We invite the feedback to generate discourse and further exploration into the core ideas and convictions we have laid out in the material. We spent 2 ½ years on the text, which is to say that we did our homework.

  • How can the readers of this blog help you push out the message for this book?

Social media posts (twitter, facebook etc) is always good. We also suggest the readers point their existing leadership towards and challenge them to take a look at it.

To read the preface and the intro for free, you can do so by clicking here.



6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2012 7:57 am

    Buying that then! Thanks Mike

  2. March 13, 2012 1:24 pm

    Looking forward to read the book. Thanks.

  3. March 13, 2012 1:46 pm

    Bought it on Kindle last week. Preaching on 5-fold ministry this Sunday! Great timing, guys, and an excellent book. Thanks!

  4. March 13, 2012 5:08 pm

    Planning to pick up this book, as well as your “Building a Discipling Culture.” I saw some summaries of your talks at the recent Anglican 1K Summit. I applaud your focus on the centrality of discipleship for the church. This focus affirms what I’m hearing from leaders like Dallas Willard whose work on discipleship has reoriented my approach to pastoral leadership.

    I’m currently reading Martin Thornton’s “Pastoral Theology” and am wondering if there will be any overlap (or, if not, at least some fruitful dissonance) between his “remnant” concept and the framework of both your book and the work of Hirsch and Catchim.

    Glad to have found your blog. Blessings,


  5. Rob Shoaff permalink
    March 14, 2012 12:23 pm

    Bought it. Read it. Love it. It is a “must read” for all Leaders who desire to equip and empower their followers. In the desire to bring “mission” back into the heart of the Church, this is a well put together work that gives insight and language – with practical diagrams and explanations – to the five-fold gifting of Christ’s purpose and personality. His way of imparting (incarnating) Himself to His Global Body so that collectively, we may better represent Him. Again, great work! Thanks for writing guys!


  1. Interview with writer(s) of The Permanent Revolution « « Feeds « Theology of Ministry

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