5Q: Answers to a Decade (or more) of My Organizational Questions

disclosure statement: I was given a copy of this book, 5Q, by Alan Hirsch to give an honest review of it.

It’s 5:30 in the morning and I can’t put this thing down. I’ve planted a church and started a business in Taiwan, a culture which has traditionally been more resistant to the gospel’s work, with around 3% of 23,000,000 people professing faith in Christ. There have been successes in our ministry. Just a few days ago we were recounting what God’s done and noted that 34 people have been baptized since 2012.  and I’ll be one of the first to admit I often feel I have no idea what I’m doing. The reason I couldn’t put this book down is because Hirsch is putting into words feelings I’ve had for nearly a decade (which is a lifetime for a millennial). The premise of Hirsch’s latest work is that Jesus Christ has already given us a blueprint for what leadership, mission, evangelism, care and teaching should look like and how it’s done. He’s calling us to allow the latent seeds of the fivefold gifts, also referred to as APEST or 5Q, Christ gave the church to begin to grow again. APEST, or apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, are five different gifts or ministries that Christ placed in the church as a result of his ascension (Ephesians 4:1-16). He writes, “In it’s simplest form, 5Q is the synergy of a holistic recombination of the apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding and teaching (APEST) capacities referred to in Ephesians.” These gifts were given so that we could minister as the body of Christ and ultimately attain to the fullness of Christ. But Hirsch argues the archetypal evidence of APEST predates the establishment of the church and is actually part of the prevenient grace that God established when He created the world. Essentially, understanding and utilizing the fivefold is THE KEY to healthy, thriving organizations across the board whether in business, church or elsewhere.

By understanding 5Q, we are able to assess the health and capacity of our organizations, churches and businesses included. Hirsch traces biblical foundations, primordial forms and archetypes and ultimately the life of Jesus as the architect and builder of 5Q. Jesus shows us that the patterns of 5Q can be used to understand and assess His ministry as well as his commandments to the church. He outlines the fivefold functionality of the church and society at large. In utilizing 5Q, we have a clear trajectory for how to impart, empower and deploy the greatest move of God the world has ever seen! Hirsch gives numerous accounts of how utilizing 5Q in our organizations will invariably lead to transformation on all levels of society.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

  1. It is not coincidental that this breakthrough has come at a time in my life when my spiritual life has never been better–I am experiencing God in a whole new dimension. I find myself spending whole days in prayer and meditation. My prayer life is rich to the point of overflow. In a real way, I believe that 5Q has played a significant role in this sense of overflow. 5Q feels both personal to me, but I also feel its universal significance.
  2. If you want transformational gospel movement–really want it–then you are going to have to unlearn some very ancient churchly habits and be willing to relearn some new–and yet paradoxically more ancient–more authentically biblical ones. You’re a leader; I speak to you as a leader responsible for your generation.
  3. In fact, I hope to show, fivefold-thinking (5Q) reaches into our deepest instincts for ministry by reconnecting the ministry of Christ with the Body of Christ.
  4. Jesus “gave” APEST to the church, distributing it among all the people as he sees fit. It is vital that you, the reader, feel the weight of the grammar that Paul uses to talk about the constitutional givenness of the APEST ministries to the church. The verb form used for “given” (Gk. edothe, the aorist indicative form of didomi) is an aorist indicative, a very resolute verb form perfectly suited for use in constitutions. This is because aorists reflect actions that took place in the past and as such they are once-and-for-all-time events. The effects of the past event are still felt in the present. They are historic in a similar way that the signing of the Declaration of Independence was historic—it will impact America’s self-understanding for all time…Jesus is actually present in the church, and by which he extends his own ministry through us.
  5. Because they operate within a system, each individual APEST function enriches, counterbalances, and “corrects” the particular bias of each of the others.
  6. The good news is that all five functions/callings are like seeds latent in the system. They are already there by virtue of the defining Word of God. This is a liberating idea—all the potential for a tree is actually already in the seed; we don’t need to mess much with that. What we need to do is simply focus on the environment that will allow the seed to flourish.
  7. [M]issional movements are essentially a recovery of the apostolic impulse; prayer and justice movements are manifestations of the prophetic impulse; revivals are an aspect of evangelistic; community and charismatic renewal is a recovery of the pastoral ministry; and theological renewals are largely related to a rediscovery of some lost motif in Scripture.
  8. It is this relationship between high internal resonance and explicit social patterning that this chapter seeks to address. The idea here will be to try to connect the resonance that you should feel in regards to APEST functions and callings with the community in which you are called to express faith.
  9. Giving the answer is always easier than teaching the process…I often say to leaders that we can change our structures in four to eight months, but it takes four to eight years to change our culture.
  10. We see the five marks of the church defined by APEST as follows: missional impact (A), covenant faithfulness (P), gospel proclamation (E), reconciled community (S), deep wisdom (T).

Near the end of the book, Hirsch quotes Peter Berger who notes, “Ideas do not succeed in history by virtue of their truth but by virtue of their relationship to specific social processes,” and as such we are called not only to revel in fun ideas, but to actually begin applying them. Thus, my personal plan to 5Q implementation: do it. In all seriousness, I am indebted to Hirsch and the rest of his team for packaging a biblical, theological treatise on 5Q. For me and my team, we typically think about church in three terms: personal growth, community growth, and missional growth. These are the outworking of pondering Jesus’ Great Commandment (love God, love others) and Great Commission (make disciples in the world). If we are affect the cultural fabric of society, speak truth to power and life to dry bones, plant the seeds of the good news and win souls for Christ, gather God’s sons and daughters, and ensure God’s Truth is passed on correctly, we are in desperate need of 5Q thinking, systems and action. APEST provides an excellent framework, aspects of which we are already integrating. We speak cultural transformation (A), share the good news regularly (E), and teach truth (T), but I have seen how we can and must grow in all areas of APEST and I’m confident with teaching and tools outlined in this book, we are already on the right path.

I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and check out additional resources online. The diagrams offered are more than worth the price of admission. Hirsch will offer insights into the fivefold ministry that will shape your ongoing business and ministry endeavors.


Are you “Restless?” (中文版)

Sbrocca’s book on “entering your personal promised land” is filled to the brim, dare I say overflowing, with practical systems for aligning yourself with what God is doing in your life.

The miracle part of this book review starts all the way back in February 2013. I signed up for the “Heaven in Business” conference hosted by Bethel. The plan was to listen to the speakers and begin praying for Heaven in Business including the work I was doing for an English school at the time as well as my primary ministry/business focus: The Aroma.

Rick Sbrocca’s session detailed one part of the book and gave away free copies. So I chased down the organizer of the event via email and found out they were actually willing to ship it to me.

Wait four months. Nothing.

I reopened my conversation with them and a second copy of the book was sent my way (both copies were sent for free). I received the book and in it was a handwritten letter from Rick himself with a prayer just for me. I’m not sure if he does this for everyone, but it sure made me special. A highly successful businessman (his current firm went from $4,000,000US to $16,000,000US within a couple of years, I believe) taking the time and energy to connect with me personally was touching. Not to mention the $18 shipping charge they paid out of pocket as well.

All that to say, there was something genuine about this book from the beginning. Now, when I say it’s full of systems, I have to admit that I’ve not done all of them yet. I feel working through the book more slowly is better than trying to rush through it all so that I could say I finished reading it. I’ve not read the whole thing yet, but I wanted to encourage you to try to get ahold of a copy yourself.

Sbrocca is a powerful storyteller and begins with a chapter that carves out a story of a prodigal.

He moves on to outline the following:

  • The 7 R’s of Rest
  • The 7 F’s of Freedom
  • The 7 V’s of Victory
  • The 7 C’s of Champion

Each of these systems, if on their own, would be enough to keep me metricising my life for months to come.  Needless to say, I’ll be in this book for a while.  Each section has lots of anecdotal help along with room for personal reflection and even space to write out thoughts.  It’s really more of a workbook.

So far, my favorite piece to work through was an acronym he created called “PAUSE.”  He uses this to maintain a close watch on his inner life so as to maintain perpetual connection to the lifesource, his relationship with Father God. The idea is to be measuring and to continually be aware of what’s happening.

Restless Book Cover


我覺得這本書最奇妙的事要從2013年2月講起,那時我參加了一個由貝索舉辦的 “天國的事業”講座,那時打算聽聽他會講什麼和為我的 “天國的事業”禱告,我那時除了在學校教英文還有我主要的傳道重心/事業:馨香堂







  • 七種寧靜

  • 七種自由

  • 七種勝利

  • 七種冠軍




A Process to Creating Sermons

I’m still pretty fresh on the scene of sermon creation, but my goal is to take the passion that God has given me for His Word and His Spirit and combine them. I feel I’ve been pretty heavily influenced by the likes of Steve O’Dell, Mark Driscoll and Bill Johnson, but I don’t do things quite the same.

Here’s a list of preparation steps for a sermon or series

  • Pray. Make sure that I know I’m going God’s direction. It’s here that I’m asking the Holy Spirit to lead me.
  • Read. Read the passage for a while, noting things God brings to mind. These things could be things that pop out at me within the text, other passages that relate, quotes I’ve heard, or topics from other pastors.
  • Research. This is where I open as many tabs as possible on my computer. I do some concordance searching, get into Greek texts and commentaries, search topics in pastor and church forums online, etc. I gather context for what God’s people are saying and experience in regard to this passage. This is often where ideas for illustrations and testimonies come out.
  • Outline. I write a brief outline of the points I want to get across.
  • Write out. I like to write things out into block form. I don’t read my sermons like Wesley and Edwards likely did, but I find that writing them out helps me to organize my thoughts better, and every once in a while one of those stellar quotes comes rolling off the fingers as I type.
  • Condense. This is necessary for taking out all the junk I just spewed out in the previous step. It takes time to refine the message.
  • Create. Organizing everything into a PowerPoint (I use Keynote) helps me condense another time and gets another tool for communication. It’s also been requested by people in the congregation who take feverous notes and share them with coworkers and family members throughout the week.
  • Check. I try to get done in time to have Jamie check it. Most good sermon points happen at this critical stage.
  • Review and Pray. I like to spend the last hour before I preach just going over everything and praying, asking God to prepare me as well as the people who are hearing.

At any point in this process I’m looking for a few things (Thanks, Duane Mabee)

  1. What: One sentence that sums up everything I’m going to say
  2. So What: Answer this question for each person: “Why should I care? How does this effect me?”
  3. Now What: If it’s simple and persuasive to remember, and applies to the people you are engaging with, there should be a clear call to action, or tip for the week, or something tangible we can all take with us.

Is there anything I’m missing? What do you do differently? What’s your routine?