Conferences and education are important, but we truly learn when we put the information we gather into action, a speaker told attendees at the Evangelism and Church Growth Conference (ECG2013).

“It’s not that we don’t know enough, people. It’s that we don’t live it out enough,” said Deb Hirsch, who serves on the leadership team of Christian Associates International, a church-planting organization.

Hirsch outlined six ideas to keep in mind when living out Jesus’ missional and incarnational model.


  • Because Jesus was fully human, God is able to fully identify with humans. Jesus had to learn to walk and talk and built relationships with the people around him. Jesus’ example shows us to identify with others, especially those we think we can’t understand.


  • “Proximity is vital in connecting,” Hirsch said, adding that we should spend time with the people we want to reach. “We are called to be in the world, not hanging out in church all the time.”


  • We must prepare people to be found in and through Jesus Christ.
  • Even though someone might not be a believer, that doesn’t mean that God isn’t at work in their life.
  • “God is at work before we ever get there. He is at work in every human,” Hirsch said.
  • This means that we shouldn’t be afraid — God has gone before us.


  • We must be dependent on Jesus, just as Christ was dependent as a baby.


  • As Christians, we need to learn to suffer well — we are called to suffer.
  • We need to develop a better theology of pain.


  • Proclamation should often be saved until the end. We must do the work of building relationships so that we have fertile soil when proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
  • Jesus lived in the neighborhood for 30 years before starting his ministry.