Thursday, March 22, 2007

Off-Road Disciplines by Earl Creps

I got a copy of Off-Road Disciplines by Dr. Earl Creps in return for a review, so here it goes. Overall, it was a pretty good book. I especially liked the subtitle, "Spiritual Adventures of Missional Leaders." Two other things struck me. Dr. Creeps writes to leaders and potential leaders keeping the context of mission at the forefront. He knows that leaders must be catalysts for the future, not leading to keep the status quo. The other thing that struck me was that these 'disciplines' are indeed off-road. They are not the staples of traditional disciplines, such as prayer, Bible study, etc. Even though they don't follow the standard model of habits, these off-road disciplines require concentration, intention and modeling. And they are habits that are worthy of developing.

Here are some of my scattered notes:
This book argues that missional leadership derives not from methods or strategies but from the work of the Holy Spirit to rearrange one's interior life.

...the off-road disciplines serve the function of making space in our lives so that Jesus assumes the central position within us and the Spirit conforms us to the mission.

Chapter 1 - Death - The Discipline of Personal Transformation
How can I be changed so that others will find me worth following in mission.
The way to develop a missional ministry, then, is to be transformed into a missional person, "so that everyone may see your progress." In the end, my best practice must be me.
concept of culture of origin - COO

Chapter 2 - Truth - The Discipline of Sacred Realism
Sacred realism fearlessly embraces the truth about the Church, and about our lives, because of confidence in a God bigger than those facts.
Post-Christianity is waiting for missionaries who practice sacred realism: the discipline of holding the truth in one hand and faith in the other.

Chapter 3 - Perspective - The Discipline of POV
Christian mission tends to prefer a blueprint point of view that insists on replicating designs developed in a relative vacuum, or cloning methods used somewhere else.
A reverse engineering POV applied to Christian mission starts with the off-road discipline of interpreting culture and arriving at a strategy for mission at its deliverable.

Chapter 7 - Assessment - The Discipline of Missional Efficiency
[From a sample scorecard]
7. If we worked for a mission agency, would we still have jobs?
9. What would we say to a poor person who asked us what we have done to help the marginalized since our last meeting?
10. Who is growing spiritually among us, and how do we know this?

Chapter 9 - Reflection - The Discipline of Discernment
Processing the event - The purpose of the exercise is to create white space in which God has a chance to speak to us about our best efforts - whether they succeeded or failed.

Chapter 10 - Opportunity - The Discipline of Making Room
Students of the Church estimate that approximately 250 plans to evangelize the world were proposed by 1900, with another 1,150 or so added during the twentieth century, many of them coalescing around the end of the last millennium, with none of them succeeding.
Like catalyzes love, and love grows the capacity for mission in every form.

Chapter 11 - Sacrifice - The Discipline of Surrendering Preferences
But every missional leader experiences shock, the only question being which kind.
Good read, definitely recommended.

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