Off-Road Disciplines – pt.1

4 01 2007

“Spiritual Adventures of Missional Leaders”

That’s the sub-title of this book…missional is the catch phrase that all the church health/growth people like to use…I’ll admit…I was hesitant to really dive into this book right away. So, why did I? Couple of reasons…1.) it was free (in 2006 I was able to receive about 1/2 dozen free resources simply because I stay current in the blogosphere – plus I learn a lot along the way); 2.) because it was free, I committed to reading and posting a review of the book – finally, guess that’s more than a couple, the author is an A/G leader in the Doctoral program @ AGTS (A/G Theological Seminary) – that means he and I have the same spiritual DNA.

I started over the Christmas/New Year’s break…here are my overall impressions of the first couple of chapters – I’m doing this in portions so that I can comment along the way as well as have a record of my key “take-aways.”

  • The book is really different than any leadership book I’ve read in a long time – although a totally different writing style than Bobby Clinton whom I had in my Master’s program, this book, so far, rates up there with those of Dr. Clinton in terms of having something “fresh” to say about leadership.
  • This book has to be read slowly, for me at least, because some portions are written from a very academic background. However, that’s not to say that it’s all academia that’s touted in the book – Creps writes in some portions with almost a “street-sense” that’s typically not found in “pastoral” books. He switches from professor to “guy on the street” almost without letting you know – I found myself really slowing down to comprehend the “professor” portions of the book and flying through the “street” portions.
  • This book is really helping me with where I’m at and what I want to see God do and what I feel He’s showing me. I think he uses this phrase, “lets call a spade a spade” – that’s one you’ll hear me reference because I’m really beginning to see that God gives us each an awareness and the ability to perceive things in the natural – to be blunt – not everything has to be spiritual! I’m beginning to see that there are times when I have got to call a spade a spade and realize that no amount of MY faith is going to change some things!

Here are some key quotes from the Introduction for me:

  1. “churches are filled with people who are committed to prayer and Scripture but either have no concern for mission or actively resist the changes that it requires”
  2. “off-road disciplines, ones that seldom appear in more formal catalogues. In other words, the on-road practice of prayer and Bible reading should be supplemented by the other kinds of encounter with God that occur unexpectedly”
  3. “an experience is a spiritual discipline if it has the potential to form God’s hear in me and if it functions as one because I embrace it”

From chapter 1:

  1. How can I be changed so that others will find me worth following in mission? – KEY QUESTION!
  2. “new life often emerges from some kind of death” – OUCH!
  3. “All of my academic and ministerial training prepared me to assume the role of ‘all-knowing’ center”
  4. “Rather than drawing people to the center, a missional life means Jesus sending us outward, as the Father sent Him”
  5. “A missional perspective springs from a transformed interior life that gives us moral authority to lead God’s people”
  6. “God calls me out of the center that He alone rightfully occupies, to let go of things I reassure, to meet Him among the marginalized where He is always most at work. I will meet Him there most profoundly if the transformation of my inner life is at stake.”

From chapter 2:

  1. “The social mix in which the church operates bears less resemblance by the day to the setting assumed in our training”
  2. “Individuals don’t ever go looking for bad news, and we don’t like telling it to others. So bad news is unlikely to get to the people who can actually do something about it”
  3. “Post-Christianity is waiting for missionaries who practice sacred realism: the discipline of holding the truth in one hand and faith in the other. Neither fatalism nor mindless optimism amounts to an acceptable alternative.”
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