The Forge Mission Training Network began in Victoria, Australia in 1996, launched by Alan and Deb Hirsch and Michael & Caz Frost as a response to the dire need for Christians to go into their worlds, amidst the many cultural changes, and actively engage others with the good news of Jesus & His Kingdom. In 2010, Forge made its way to the United States and Forge America began by rolling out local and contextual training hubs to various cities such as Dallas, Knoxville, Austin, and others. The aim was to inspire and equip every member of the body of Christ to participate in the extraordinary mission of God right where they live, work, and play. As a servant to local churches and as a partner to universities, seminaries, and mission organizations, Forge plays a role in re-imagining and re-shaping the Church to engage the communities, neighborhoods, apartments, campuses, workspaces, and third places we inhabit. As a result, those we rub shoulders with would encounter the love of God and experience more generosity, more inclusivity, reconciliation and justice, peace, love, hospitality, celebration, and beauty - - all things that point to the good news of God’s Kingdom.
Place matters, staying matters - God is already at work in the everyday spaces of our lives. The places we live and the people we live alongside are important. In fact, these are the places and people God has sent us to. It is here that Forge America wants to come alongside everyday individuals to inspire and equip them to join God in His redemptive mission. We do not want to extract people from their context rather we want to come to them. We are not sending people over borders and across seas rather we are helping ordinary followers of Jesus realize they have already been sent to the places they live, work, or play. It is here in these places we want to equip people to make a Kingdom difference.
So whether you are a full time student, a stay at home parent, a business-man or business-woman, an artist, an architect, etc.; the learning comes to you.
This is why Forge America is made up of local Forge Hubs. Through these local Forge Hubs we offer localized in-context training that helps everyday men and women live as missionaries in the places they're already doing life.
Walking with someone matters - Forge holds that relationships are the primary means of transferring leadership and influence and are, as such, indispensable in the training of missional leaders. Therefore, each Forge Hub offers a 6-month residency (we use the term residency because the learning happens where you reside) in which 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 6-month formation 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 of Forge, are involved in the trenches of mission. They are leaders of housing associations, members of the city chamber of commerce, kindergarten classroom parents, 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 the posture of a learner throughout!”