The Forge Mission Training Network began in Victoria, Australia in 1996, launched by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost as a response to the dire need for Christians to go into the world, amidst the many cultural changes, and actively engage others with the Message of Jesus. In 2010, Forge America began rolling out to various cities such as Dallas, Kansas City, Chicago, Raleigh, Joplin, Sacramento, Portland, and others, aiming to bring about a shift toward a paradigm in which every member of the body of Christ is participating in the mission of God. As a servant to local churches and a partner to universities, seminaries, and mission organizations, Forge plays a role in re-imagining and re-shaping the Western Church to engage the not-yet-followers of Jesus.
So, how do we differ from other mission training organizations?
Place matters, staying matters - the place and the people that you are near are the very places where God is working. We encourage people to remain a full time student, a state worker, a mechanic, etc- the trust they’ve built in their particular context, we don’t want to extract them from that to train. Discipleship and formation happens through the lens of mission.
Walking with someone matters - for the entirety of the 9 month residency, our residents (think participants) are matched up with mentors that they will meet with regularly. These mentors, what we call “coaches”, are there to walk with them through the 9 month process of breaking old paradigms and shaping new ways to see God, our neighbors, and ourselves.
Doing & being matters, not just writing & speaking - Sure some write books, speak at conferences large and small, but first and foremost, the people in leadership at the national and local level for Forge, are involved in the trenches of mission. They are leaders of housing associations, members of the city chamber of commerce, kindergarten classroom moms, pastors, non profit founders, first responder trauma workers, sexual health counselors, mailmen, and more - and what they all have in common is, “We commit to stay engaged in God’s mission in our neighborhood and community, to remain teachable, and to keep a posture of learner throughout!”
We are about slowly changing a posture, not adding new models and programs.
We are about stirring imaginations, not simply dispensing theological information.
In our hubs across the country, Forge trains men and women to live as missionaries in their neighborhoods and in the places they’re already doing life. We are bent on empowering ordinary people to join in the extraordinary mission of God right where they live. By partnering with local churches, universities and seminaries, we aim to take those oh so cryptic words of Jesus seriously and literally, when He says “Love your...neighbor.”
The main vehicle for missionary training is a 9-month residency (think internship). There is no quitting school/work or moving to an unfamiliar place for the time of the residency. Your current context will serve as the BEST learning laboratory, crucial for missionary formation. Training is done to mature each participant as a disciple and a missionary through action-reflection learning (curriculum included), mentoring, and regular cohort gatherings. Click here to Get Involved in a Hub near you.
Other ways Forge accomplishes its mission is:
CHURCH LEARNING COMMUNITIES
A 9-month experience to guide local churches in paradigm shifting and equipping their congregations to think and act like missionaries
LOCAL CHURCH CONSULTING & TRAINING
A personal guide to help your church embrace its missionary identity. This is designed around the needs of the local church. (Could include but not limited to: 1 day training events, ½ day training events, personal coaching sessions).