Thursday, 5 March 2015

5 Habits of Highly Missional People

This book is really a long pamphlet or booklet. I read it in one or two sittings. I forget where I got it from, but I do know it was free*. As the book is short, it is the point and practical. Likewise, here are the five habits of highly missional people which spell out BELLS:
  1. Bless - I will bless three people this week, at least one of whom is not a member of our church
  2. Eat - I will eat with three people this week, at least one of whom is not a member of our church
  3. Listen - I will spend at least one period of the week listening for the Spirit's voice 
  4. Learn - I will spend at least one period this week learning Christ
  5. Sent - I will journal throughout the week all the ways I alerted others to the universal reign of God through Christ
From this list you can see how it is outward focused on doing things (blessing and eating) with others, and also a little introspective with learning, reflecting and hearing from God. From these descriptions  alone, it may seem a bit subjective but Frost tries to flesh them out in practical detail.

To blessing someone can involve words of affirmation, acts of kindness or giving gifts (sounds a bit like 3 of the 5 love languages). 

Having a meal with someone doesn't have to be a full fledged dinner party where you put out the good plates and crystal glasses. It could just be a sandwich you made at home over lunch with another person, or what you normally do on a normal work night, screaming kids and all. It may even just be coffee or some hot chips somewhere. Don't get too tied up on the meal aspect, the focus is on the relationship.

I wasn't too sold on the third habit of listing to the Spirit's voice. Frost describes a few steps you can take to "listen to the Spirit". You need to set aside time every week; eliminate distractions; "let God in" which is you just "sit quietly; and let the Holy Spirit possess you". You need to be aware that the "devil most likely will remind you of your sins and unworthiness and try and discourage you".  While "in the Spirit", you are to listen to God's promptings, which could be "the name or the face of a person you are to bless or eat with" or to follow up on someone.

Now I get that self reflection and strategic planning is important, but that is the fifth habit with journalling, thinking about the past week and planing for the next. I also think we should be filling our mind with God's word, but to do this we should be reading our Bibles, which is the fourth habit. This third habit of listening to the Spirit and ignoring the Devil just doesn't rub against me right. (This could be because I listened to the Strange Fire audio and now consider myself a border line cessationist, or are a little confused on the issue, and also that I am a product of the Enlightenment).

Don't get me wrong, I do think God can prompt us to think and do things, but I wonder if we should go looking for these prompting on a regular basis. The whole thing about promptings is that they are prompt. I also wonder, how do you know if it is the Devil is promoting you to go follow up on someone instead of God telling you, he is after all a great deceiver? Also, why wouldn't the Spirit convict you of your sins? I get that His doesn't want to discourage you, but He still calls you to a holy life and repentance is part of that. My thinking is that if you want to know what God wants you to do, you read your Bible and then just do something in it's light.

The fourth habit of leaning about Christ is a good one. Since Jesus is the main guy in Christianity, and if it is Him we are to be imitating, then we Christians should know what He was like. Of cause there is a danger in going too far, and elevating the four gospels in the Bible above the rest of the books in there, creating a canon within a canon. The Holy Spirit after all authorised all of the books, not just those four. I appreciated this point so much, that the next book I read was Jesus the Fool (also by Michael Frost).

While it sounds like I didn't like this book because of the amount of words I spent on the third habit, I should say this is not true. I think Frost's simple idea of blessing and eating meals with a balance of people in and out of the Church is something to be enacted. So take the third habit or leave it, I am not so anti this point that I wouldn't recommend this short book. The other four habits I think should be seriously considered and turned not into tasks, programs and check boxes, but a way of life.

* After doing a quick Google search mostly likely means I  got this book from exponential.


Post a Comment