A guerilla manual for being church and doing life
Monday, 27 June, 2016
“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“The most important lesson in the writing trade is that any manuscript is improved if you cut away the fat. “
– Robert Heinlein
Books are much like organizations and systems. They all begin with an idea. This idea, at first, is a lot of fun. The more work you put into it, the more it seems to come alive. Careful time is spent chiseling, shaping, and forming this idea into something that will ultimately be birthed. And soon, with enough hard work, sweat, and toil put in, you possess something that you are ready to unveil.
Now comes the hard part.
Communicating this idea to others in a way that they can understand and even pass on. This is where most ideas die… they get stunted in their delivery and don’t live on. They are either not fully understood by the hearer, or in one’s passion towards the idea it becomes so complex and nuanced that only the originator of it truly gets it.
And with ideas and words, much like organizations and systems, it is easier to add complexity rather than reduce it. Saying less (and still communicating clearly) is more of a task than rambling on.
I bought a new iPhone the other day because the previous one I was using kept getting bogged down and closing the apps that were open. It had too much saved on it and was laboring to work slowing down the functionality. Most days, I would have to refresh the app I was using multiple times by quitting it and then restarting it again to give it another try. Refreshing the apps and restarting the phone daily was the only way to get anything out of it. It had become too complex… too tired… too difficult to navigate.
I needed a new phone. I needed a fresh start. I needed to trade in the old for something simpler.
And time and time again, I have found this principle in my phone scenario to be true in my approach to the Christian life.
Often, I have made following Jesus and being a part of the community of God too complex. Good intentions become rules to be followed, and checking the boxes trumps a righteous heart adjustment. As humans, we love to overcomplicate the things of God.
And that is why we wrote ‘Refresh’. When the Rev. Dr. Michael Moynagh (better known as ‘Mike’) and I chatted about creating something for the everyday person in the pews in the church, we wanted something digestible… something that the average person could read in 30 minutes. Something that explained in simple language what Jesus was all about, and what by His death, He invited us all into. ‘Refresh’ in one sense is a fresh approach to being church as we do life, and in another sense nothing fresh at all. It is a throwback to the first century earliest Christian community and the way that they did life together as the people of God. What did that look like? What was the Spirit doing with this early group of believers? And how can we get back to the start and emulate that today?
‘Refresh – A Not-So-New Guide to Being Church and Doing Life’ was written with the average, normal, everyday person in mind. What would it look like if you leveraged the God-given gifts, skills, talents, experiences, and personality you possess for the Kingdom? What if mission wasn’t just a complicated add-on, but the starting point of life with Jesus? And what if there was a way to live life on mission that simply flavored your day-to-day routine? If there were enough of us who caught this vision and chose to live on mission in community right where we find ourselves today…
There would be revival.
And I cannot think of anything more worth 30 minutes of my time. Please, do yourself a favor (in fact, do the church and those that don’t know Him yet a favor) and forego a television show to push the refresh button on your life and be open to what the Spirit is calling you to do.
‘Refresh – A Not-So-New Guide to Being Church and Doing Life’ by Michael Moynagh & Rob Peabody has just released in the UK and will be releasing globally 27 July 2016.
– Rev. Dr Michael Moynagh is based at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He has advised governments and businesses on future trends, and is consultant on theology and practice to Fresh Expressions UK. He is a recognized authority on new types of church.
– Rev. Rob Peabody serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of Awaken, a non-profit charity that exists to resource the church for action. He heads up Fresh Expressions pioneering efforts amongst the next generation.