Creativity doesn’t need to be messy

creative mind

I came across the above image a few weeks ago. Every time I see it I think “that mind looks like it’s releasing chaos”. We are all wired differently: some of us require structured ways of being, while others thrive on the oceans of chaos. We tend to believe that creatives are on the chaotic side of the spectrum (we love the idea of an artist passionately letting the brush flash back and forth at the speed of light as they unleash the next great masterpiece!).

Yet, the opposite is often more true: creatives tend towards planning for innovation, and executing plans for increased probability of success. I recall the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci: the intricate detail of flying machines transported from his imagination to his sketchbook; the numerous sketches of his famous works as he worked on shades of light and angles of composition.

For organisations to be innovative there also needs to be structure in the innovation pipeline. So what does that structure need? It needs many things, but here’s just a few essential ingredients:

A Blank Canvas: Culture

The culture of the organisation needs to be ‘ready’ for innovation. Culture is set through the formation of defines vision (purpose) and values (guiding principles that bring us together around our purpose). Vision of the future requires innovation to get there.

The culture needs to actively promote innovation at every level of the organisation. Did you know that the idea of the common matchbox came from a factory worker? Does this surprise you? Organisations need to promote the coming forth of ideas from everyone – who knows where the next innovative solution will come from.

The culture needs to foster a spirit of gratitude: if staff have ideas that work – give them the credit for it! This fosters a culture of trust and commitment rather than distrust and resentment.

Artists: Leadership

Leadership drives the creation of a masterpiece. They pull everyone around the vision and supporting values. They craft and create the culture. They inspire; motivate and encourage. They create a sense of urgency and pull teams together to drive positive change.

Leaders also have an essential role in modelling the behaviours they desire from staff. Simon Sinek is correct with his book title Leaders Eat Last. They model drive, commitment, values, behaviours, integrity, character, etc.

Creative Process: Structure

Innovative and creative processes require a structure to work within. This ensures projects yield results and that projects are completed. Whether that structure is a change management process or a Project Management framework, the structure ensures a higher probability of success.

Creativity does not need to be messy: it can be a well-oiled machine adding massive value and advantage to the organisation.

Are you a city on a hill or a spooky castle?: Thoughts on discipleship and leadership

I was listening to the EntreLeader Podcast recently as I drove to work. The presenter described the interviewee as ‘a city on a hill’. I loved that description and was struck by the thought that Christ-centred people are called to be cities on a hill. And then I thought…

…AM I A CITY ON A HILL?

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Am I a city on a hill? A city provides safety, shelter, company, hope, opportunities, friendships, warmth, food, etc. as Christ-centred people we are called to be the type of person others are drawn to. Isn’t that what Jesus was like? People were drawn to him. People wanted to hear his words; they wanted to learn his wisdom; they wanted to be his mate!

There’s something good about hanging out with someone who makes you believe, feel and think you are amazing, special and cared for – we gravitate towards these people; We aspire to be like these people. Christian Leaders should be those who are most like Jesus: we need to follow those who have an ability to shine Jesus’ light into our lives so that through their support and example we also begin to shine like a city set on a hill.

It is a sad reality that often leaders are less city and more castle. So how can we identify a spooky castle?


OR AM I A SPOOKY CASTLE IN THE DARK?

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I’m sure you’ve seen movies or kids’ cartoons where the protagonists arrive at a dark, dark castle in the middle of the night. The rain is pouring down; the wind is howling like a wolf; the car has broken down and they need shelter for the night.

They find a dark castle with foreboding walls and a single light shining through one small window. In their desperation they knock on the door and you just know they should turn around and flee!!

The spooky castle person is unapproachable: They incite fear and often manipulate and control others; their words can be harsh and they don’t have much real compassion for others; they tend towards being the centre of everything and they believe that everything is all about them. Often these traits are very subtle rather than overt: when around these people you are likely to experience thoughts of self-doubt and you may often feel that you are never good enough. If you are in a situation, relationship or community that leaves you feeling this way regularly then you need to get out! Fast! Like now!!

As Leaders, or as followers of Jesus, we need to be sure that we are never the proverbial ‘spooky castle in the dark’. We are to be like Jesus: approachable; warm; full of love; kind; caring; strong; positive; etc. We need to be genuinely there for other people in order to serve and build them up to be the best they can possibly be.

The truth is that we are mostly a combination of both: our nature is darkness and light. But we don’t need to stay as we are: the Gospel of Jesus leads us into a model of discipleship that encourages us to choose and change to be more like Jesus (HE is the ultimate City on a Hill). So here’s the challenge and some points for reflection:


SO, WILL YOU BE A SHINING CITY OR A SPOOKY CASTLE?

Which one are you most like?
How can you make your light shine brighter?
How are you adding value to other people’s lives today?
Are you an approachable leader?
do you need to escape a castle and find a city?
What one thing can you change simply right now to let your light shine brighter?

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 City On a Hill

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 WHAT WILL YOU BE?

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 Spooky Castle
I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections. Please leave some comments in the space below.

What is a follower of Jesus?

As I read the early chapters of the Gospels, I see Jesus speaking the same command to almost everyone he meets: follow me!

For decades Christians have understood this to mean “say a prayer of repentance and commitment to Jesus, attend church regularly, and live a generally good life”.  There is a problem with this. Jesus never led someone through a ‘sinners prayer’ followed by a command to attend church services.  No, he said, “follow me.”

What he meant was “forsake all that you have put above and before me; devote yourself to living life my way, according to my teachings, and my example. Become my disciple. Let me show you a better way to live – free from the trappings of hypocritical living and dead religion. Follow me into a life of service and love of God and others.”

We see this through all four Gospels – Jesus sought to bring transformation into people’s lives. He wanted them to live a life that was all about him – a life that says “It’s not me that’s living my life now – it’s Jesus.”  To follow Jesus is to put him at the center and to make him the supreme ruler of all that you are and all that you do.  It is to allow him to lead you, by his Spirit, out into the world as an agent of transformation in the lives of others.

Jesus gave the keys to following him to his disciples.  They are found in Matthew 28:18-20:

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Being a follower of Jesus means:

We recognise his authority in and over our lives

We allow him to be Lord. We acknowledge his complete control and relinquish our dilution of control. We let him lead us. We follow him – he does not follow us!

We make disciples

Notice that disciples are commanded to go and make disciples. Following Jesus means calling others to follow Jesus. We are his witnesses given the mission of sharing the gospel and showing the world what he is like. Disciples mature and multiply.

We get baptized

We align ourselves to Jesus publicly through the act of baptism. He asked his followers to baptize new followers. This was the ritual for new believers in the early Church when they put their faith in Jesus and became his disciples. As we look at the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the epistle writings we cannot help but conclude that baptism was not an option – it was an expectation Jesus had upon those who would follow him. Followers of Jesus are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We obey Jesus’ Commands

The disciples were told to both teach and obey Jesus’ commands. Followers of Jesus will take joy and great delight in obeying Jesus teachings.  It is essential that to teach others to obey Jesus, we must first be doing obeying him. Every follower of Jesus is by nature a leader – we are to lead others into obeying Jesus and surrendering to his way of life – which is the best and most fabulous way to live life!  To lead others we must first be doing.

Jesus expects his followers to obey what he taught – it is not an add-on to our faith or for the over zealous. We need to apply the Bible to our lives in a way that honors Jesus and places him at the centre of our lives.  Simply put, followers of Jesus obey him!

We go to the world

We share Jesus with a lost, broken, and hurting world. Throughout his life, Jesus took the gospel into public spaces. Today, we seem dedicated to keeping the gospel inside church buildings, but Jesus did the opposite. He shared God’s good and practical love in markets, next to bathing pools, in town centers, on mountain tops, on beaches, at a watering hole, on a road; at meals, at parties, sitting in the temple courts, and more.

Jesus expects us to take the Gospel practically and verbally to all the nations of the world. Are you seeking Jesus in order to hear where he wants you to serve him: Is it in your own community longterm?  Is it abroad?  Is it to move to another town that has little or no Gospel influence and voice? We are to take the Gospel where it is needed.

We Follow

Jesus’ disciples sought his wisdom, insight, and direction.  They went where Jesus took them and went where he told them to go. They trusted him enough to submit to his discipline. They didn’t always understand him. They messed up. They learned. They grew. They walked and talked with him. They preached the gospel after his ascension. They took him out to the world.

Why not read the Gospels to see what Jesus taught and how he lived. Then, continue on in the New Testament by reading Acts to see how the first disciples followed Jesus and stayed devoted to him and his teachings.

Perhaps there is a need to get back to the basics and consider our own commitment to Christ. Jesus is looking for disciples who will follow him and make him the most important part of their lives so that he is in control of every part.  It’s not always easy – you could say it’s a discipline at times – but it’s also the adventure of your lifetime.

This blog was originally written by Stuart for www.gcdiscipleship.com – Gospel Centred Discipleship is a fabulous website filled with useful articles and books on Gospel, discipleship and Missional Living. Their vision is to publish resources that help Make, Mature and multiply disciples of Jesus.

Disciples of Jesus L.A.S.T.

Following Jesus is HARD work! If you’ve been on the road with Jesus for a while you know I’m telling the truth, and if you’re just starting out… Don’t worry, it’s worth it 🙂 I have seen many friends (and some family too) starting out with Jesus and giving up when the going got tough. Life’s pressures can crush our spiritual passion. Other commitments get in the way of commitment to Christ. The allure of new relationships can lead away from relating with Jesus. In this there is a warning for all of us: stay close to Jesus at all costs.  One of my aims with the Gospel Praxis Project is to encourage believers to live Christ’s core commands so that we walk closely with, and like, Jesus. Jesus himself was acutely aware that following him and his commands was a hard thing: His parable of the sower illustrates this well. When Jesus was arrested his closest followers fled for the hills, hiding in fear of their lives. One of the gospels states that his best friend (Peter) followed from a distance. Following from a distance always leads to trouble – Peter denies Jesus three times that night! Jesus knew he would do this. Jesus knows us really well!!! So how do we cope when faith is tough? How do we become disciples who last? The following four points are an indicator of how we can develop Discipleship Resilience to live a life of faith to the full, and to the end.

Learn

Jesus passed his teachings on to his initial disciples. They in turn passed them on to another generation of Jesus-followers. And so on… Followers of Jesus LEARN how to live by learning form HIM. We live close to the scriptures and we learn God’s way of living from all of scripture. We have been given the scriptures to live according to God’s pattern for humanity. Now there are those who will disagree with me and state that the bible is not really the word of God; that it was written in a time that we no longer understand; that it is no longer relevant; that it can mean whatever you want it to mean. I believe this line of thinking is subtly destructive for believers, the church, and the world we are seeking to love and lead back to God. I think God that the scriptures have been given to us, inspired by the Holy spirit and passed down form generation to generation of believer. Jesus himself claimed that the Holy Spirit would teach us all that we need to know, and this is true in the experience and biblical teaching of the people of God from bible times all through history. God reveals his word to us as we surrender to the scriptures teaching and the illumination of the holy Spirit – both are required to help us LEARN in order to stay close to Jesus. The Holy Spirit will NEVER lead us in a manner contrary to what is written in the scriptures. To Clarify: We need to LEARN from God’s word what God says  as we submit to the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and leading.

Apply

Application of the Word of God is essential to spiritual resilience. Applying the teachings of Jesus (through the whole of scripture) is to our inner being what exercise is to the body: it makes us stronger, sharper and provides us with the mettle we need to persevere in faith. Learning is in itself not enough: Knowledge alone puffs us up with pride at what we have learned. Application humbles us as we realise that learning needs to be integrated with all of life. It’s not enough to know that God values every person – we need to apply that truth in all our relationships and interactions. This will reveal our true character as we realise that applying learning is difficult. This is where the Holy Spirit prunes our lives to make us more fruitful of the kingdom of God. To clarify: We need to Apply our Learning to real life in order for learning to develop into Spiritual fruitfulness.

Share

Jesus seemed to know a lot of stuff about the world, about god, and about what god meant in the holy scriptures. He was immensely wise and perceptive about how the world functions and about how people (even religious people) use power fro their own gain and reward. But Jesus chose to be different. Rather than thinking that knowledge and learning are power, he set out to share EVERYTHING God had given to him. Jesus lived what he taught. Jesus shared what he taught. Jesus shared his live and his teaching with anyone who would come to him. There are always people in our lives who want to follow us because they see hope and life within us. They may not know the reason for that life and hope unless we share it with them. The gospel is powerful because it leads to salvation. It is powerful because when we learn and apply it our lives are transformed from the inside out. we are not given the Gospel of Jesus in order to have a great life: We are recipients of the gospel firstly so that we can be in close loving relationship with God, and secondly so that we will share it with any who would come close enough to learn it. Living our faith develops confidence in God as we lean on him to live and share Jesus with the world. We share our knowledge of Jesus and the Gospel through our thoughts, words and actions: People will ‘read’ us to see the true motives behind what we do. They will watch to see if our faith is real. They will observe how we conduct ourselves. They will listen for our words of faith that match our lifestyles. We are called by Jesus to take the Gospel out into all the world. We are called to share Jesus. To Clarify: We grow in spiritual confidence as we live and share Jesus and his great Gospel.

Trust

I started off this article by saying that being a follower of Jesus was hard, and it can be. Peter sure knew about that – he always seemed to mess things up – yet he never gave up when he messed up. Like the time when Jesus comes out to his boat, walking on the water like some ghostly figure through the mists. Jesus calls him out onto the water, and Peter not being an intelligent man jumps out the water actually expecting to be able to walk on it because that’s what Jesus was doing. He walks on water! But the waves and wind come to his attention (as they do in the busyness of our lives) and his eyes are taken off Jesus (as ours often are) and he beings to stop trusting Jesus (we are so prone to this!). One way we can grow in our trust of Jesus is to spend regular time with him in prayer. We need to be talking with him, and more importantly, taking time to listen to him. Jesus does call us to trust him and it is difficult to do. The writer of Hebrews said fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Wow! Fix your eyes in simple faith on Jesus. Keep looking to him. Keep trusting him. don’t put your trust in your income alone. Don’t look to other props of life to sustain your faith – just keep looking to and trusting in Jesus. This may defy logic and reason at times (just like Peter walking on water) but don’t worry… Jesus is there to hold you up. To clarify: We grow stronger in our walk with Jesus as we look to him in simple trust and faith.

L.A.S.T.

Learn from Jesus and be led by the Holy Spirit as you surrender to God’s word. Apply your learning in real life. Share your faith to grow your faith. Trust Jesus and keep looking to Him. And perhaps, you will begin to grow more like Jesus just as those first disciples grew closer to Jesus.

The prosperity message is not the gospel truth

I don’t make it my habit to speak out about negative teaching but this week I found myself in a dialogue regarding the teaching of so-called ‘Christian’ prosperity teachers. I was deeply troubled by how this stream of faith distorts and uses scriptures to manipulate, control and exploit people into providing financial support for ministries with the promise of personal financial reward in return.

This is not a new topic – this issue has been part of the charismatic church for decades through preachers and televangelists like E W Kenyon, kenneth Hagan, the Copelands, creflo dollar, etc.

I have myself attended many services where the prosperity message has been ‘preached’ and witnessed the arrogance of some of these men strutting and shouting because thr offering was not big enough. I have myself been accused of having hidden sin or not enough faith simply because I had not seen answers to prayers for ‘more’. I have heard countless tales from people broken by this message, left feeling low in faith; broken by disappointment; scorned for hidden sins they never had.

This short video highlights some aspects of how heretical teaching from the prosperity movement can be and why we shiuld avoid it at all costs.

Any Christian preacher who tells you that you are a God has departed from the bible’s teaching that there is ONE God. This is one of the more blatent heresies and lies taught by preachers of this movement. Most of their teaching is a subtle distortion of bible truths.

As mature Christians we must preach Christ’s truths plainly, whilst highlighting the dangers of wrong teachings. Jesus himself regularly taught that his followers needed to be on the watch for wolves in sheep’s clothing, while adopting a posture of loving prayerfulness.

I pray that rather than being drawn to charismatic preachers we would be drawn afresh into the gloriousness of Jesus’ life, teaching, death and resurrection.

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Gospel-Centred Discipleship Communities and the death of the lone ranger

In our present culture there is huge emphasis upon the individual.  The post-modern mantra of “that’s good for you, but I’ll find my own truth” pervades every corner of our lives.  It also has impacted and informed current day discipleship processes.  Discipleship has become a process that is done to us – we attend a 6 week class at Church and are pronounced “discipled”!  Or, we are smart enough to know the right (intellectual) responses to doctrinal questions (that reinforce our denominational biases) and people think we are doing well as Christians.  Perhaps, like me you have been brought up in the Church and have ‘learned’ what prayers will get people saying “Amen!” or can lead worship in just the right way to make the congregation feel “tingley”.  It is possible to do all these things and not be a disciple of Jesus.  Let me say that again to reiterate that statement’s importance:

It is possible to say the right things, pray the right things, lead the right way, have just the right words to say…and not be a disciple of Jesus!

Now, I am not stating that prayer, praise and a rich biblical knowledge are bad – they most certainly are not… unless they are done with the wrong motivation.  Discipleship is not a Christian conveyor belt through which we travel to achieve a better Christian status.

Discipleship is a deepening relationship with Christ Jesus with whom we travel through life and faith.

Many Christians have started their journey of faith with 100% sincerity that the Christian life is for them.  They started off enthusiastic about living for Jesus and got stuck into Church life, maybe even being so touched by Jesus that they vibrantly shared their faith with anybody who would listen.  Then they’ve ‘been ‘discipled’ into believing certain things and behaving in certain ways.

For many the process of discipleship has removed their passion for Jesus and enthusiasm to share their faith and helped them to ‘settle down in faith’.

Sadly, for others a dry non-relational discipleship process has not been enough to stop some from ‘forsaking their faith’ when life has got hard or the church has been lacking in the grace that Jesus shoed and continues to show.  It always a saddenning thing to see people turning from their faith in Jesus.  It is saddenning that often our programmes have turned people off Jesus.  But, more so, it is deeply saddenning that often we have judged these lost souls as unable to persevere (we love the parable of the sower), or worse – we state that they never had a real faith if they have ‘so quickly turned away’.  I believe that the problem is not always with the person who has left the Church (although at times it is).  I believe that it is more to do with the fact that the church has not created faith communities that are conducive to growing disciples who reach maturity of faith.

The Church needs to create discipleship communities where every follower of Jesus can thrive and mature in faith!

Disciples were never meant to travel alone!  When we look at Jesus’ model of discipleship we never see him holding a class, handing out notes and asking people to bring them back completed.  Jesus intentionally chose 12 key people and he called them to be his disciples.  What are some of the keys we can find from how Jesus made disciples?

Jesus created a small community of disciples
Jesus called 12 men together to learn from him.  He formed a band of brothers who travelled with him; questioned him; listened to him; watched him preach, pray and perform miracles; they argued with each other (about who would be the greatest in the kingdom); they ate with him (often) they went through some terrifying experiences with him (stormy seas and a garden arrest!!).  Jesus invested his time, energy, experience and spiritual life with them.  Whenever Jesus went somewhere, they went with him.  They served Jesus and each other.  They prepared for festivals with him, and went to parties with him.
In 30 years of Church life I have rarely experienced this form of closeness with a group of Christians.  There have been inklings of it once in a while: I spent six month on a YWAM discipleship Training School (I was actively searching to grow as a disciple at a time when my Church was not engaging in making disciples) and lived in a huge house with over 50 other people.  During this time I spent every waking minute (almost!) with other members of the DTS.  It was a great period in my life and I still look back on it as a period of massive spiritual growth in my life.  I could put this down to the amazing teaching sessions I attended (although I think this was a minor facet in my discipleship at that point).

I believe that I grew spiritually because I became part of a community of believers who were looking out for me; loving me; listening to me; correcting me; encouraging me; praying for and with me; crying with me; barbecuing with me; joking with me; walking on the beach with me; eating with me; and more besides – all of this with Jesus at the centre of it all!!

During this time I shared my life intimately with about 8 of these people and (I believe) added spiritual value and discipleship to their lives.
Gospel and Missional Community
Discipleship needs community, but community is not enough!  A discipleship community needs to be on a mission with the Gospel together.  The Apostles have articulated the following three emphases throughout the New Testament:
1.We glorify God together (Gospel)
2.We gather and grow in Christ together (Discipleship)
3.We go out on mission in the Spirit’s power together (Mission)

 

Basic theology of Community
Christian community begins and ends with God!  In the trinity we have the original community.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit work together perfectly to fulfil their plan of redeeming the world and restoring humanity into a right relationship with the father again.  The Father SENT the Son on a mission.  The father and the son sent the Holy Spirit to carry on that mission through the Church.  And we are that Church!
The Church needs to relate to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  God-centred Community, like other styles of being Church needs to maintain a relational balance in relationship with our Trinitarian God.  Discipleship that does not relate to all three members of the trinity will be unbalanced and unhealthy.  Our God is a Trinitarian being so we need to be Trinitarian people in thought, word and in deeds as we journey together.
The other emphasis is on a very small word with big implications.  That word is “We”.  Disciples are not lone rangers.  We do not do church or mission alone.  In Luke 10 Jesus sends the disciples out in twos.  Nowhere in the Gospels do we see Jesus sending the disciples out alone.  Discipleship is a community thing because it is a relationship thing.  We disciple each other – I need you and you need me!   I am discipled by the strongest and the weakest members of my community.  This is an amazing truth to grasp.  We often think that we need to be discipled by someone who knows more than us – I have found that God uses the weak things to silence the strong.  God does not just give revelation and wisdom to ‘leaders’ – he shares himself and the riches of His grace with every member of the Church.  This can be a very humbling experience for us.  We need to expect that God will speak through every member of our communities.  We need to create communities where we expect that God will minister and speak through a child or through a new convert, as well as through the ‘spiritually aged’.  This not only encourages our faith, but it will encourage their faith as they see how God uses them.  This encourages new disciples to have an expectation that God will use them to play their part in the discipleship of other people.  What a joy to hear and see young disciples of Jesus discipling others!!
The emphasis on Gospel, Discipleship and Mission is also important in ensuring that our faith is balanced:  Where we lack in one area there will be imbalance in the discipleship process. If we do not emphasise Gospel we will create disciples who do not depend on God, and who are not looking to see HIS purposes fulfilled.

Discipleship very easily becomes about us when we do not look squarely to the Cross of Christ and its far-reaching implications.

If we do not seek to grow as disciples together we will not value the need to meet together and to grow in faith.  The result is that Gospel and Christian community become low priorities for us and we may not have any commitment to the community of believers.  This is counter-productive to the relational discipleship process.
If we do not look out in Mission we run the risk of being disciples without purpose – we become a closed club for the spiritually initiated .  Disciples without a mission are like mountaineers without a mountain to climb – we learn how to be disciples by following Jesus into mission just as the first disciples did.  Essentially, it is Jesus who disciples us (albeit often through his church).  Mission is the disciple’s mountain upon which they will grow in their understanding of how to follow Jesus’ teachings in the reality of their particular life contexts.
We need to disciple within the context of Gospel-centred communities centred on God and going in mission together.  Community offers us accountability to grow in faith in a loving and supportive environment as we share life together in the spiritual and practical experiences and conversations we have.
May we be a people who follow Jesus to the God the Father in the power of the Spirit to make, mature and multiply Gospel-Centred, discipling, missional communities and Churches.

This is an article I recently wrote and had featured on http://www.gcdiscipleship.com – I highly recommend the writings and ethos of Gospel-Centered Discipleship. On their site you will find a wealth of practitioner-written articles relating to numerous facets of discipleship focused primarily on the Gospel, as well as on living missionally as disciples and families in today’s world.

Introduction to the 7 key themes Jesus taught and lived

In the Gospels Jesus teaches and illustrates how to make disciples not just theologically, but practically too. These seven practices highlight the majority of what Jesus taught in the Gospels. We believe that when followers of Jesus simply learn and apply what Jesus taught, they are more effective disciples, missionaries and Gospel-carriers. When we are confident about what Jesus taught we can more confidently live life as he modelled.

These practices are not “the be all and end all” of what it means to follow Jesus, but they will lay a strong foundation of faith and practice through which to grow as a follower of Jesus.

PRAXIS 1: Love

Jesus lived and taught what it meant to love God fully. He taught his followers that loving your neighbour was essential, and that loving your enemy is also vital.

 Without love it is impossible to grow in relationship with God and with others. Love is the glue that holds all relationships together and without it life has no real meaning. We love God by surrendering every part of our lives to him – every relationship, good or bad.

PRAXIS 2: Repent & Believe

Repentance follows on from the revelation of God’s love for us. we can only see our need to repent when we see ourselves in light of God’s character.

This includes a change of lifestyle – from our way to Jesus’ way. From sinfulness towards holiness. To do this we need the on-going infilling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit reveals Jesus to us, as well as revealing the truth of God’s word to our hearts.

PRAXIS 3: Watch & Pray

Jesus modeled prayer more than he taught about it. In the Lord’s Prayer we learn various components about how we should pray. Prayer links us into the will of god and helps us to focus on giving HIM glory for our lives rather than seeking our own gain.

 Prayer is more than a ‘religious spiritual’ exercise to be ticked off each day – it is ongoing conversation with God who loves us enough to relate to us through the gift of prayer.

 Praxis 4: Break Bread

When we think about breaking Bread we generally think about ‘holy communion’ – a moment in a Church service when remember Jesus’ sacrifice of death on the cross through sharing in a little bread and wine. This is an important practice for the Church and ought to be upheld, although it does often just get left at that. In the New Testament breaking bread had deeper, more intimate implications: Breaking bread was about developing close community with other believers and sharing lives around Christ. This is where discipleship relationships develop and mutual, non-controlled accountability can take place. It is where believers become friends and truly journey together with Christ and each other in fellowship that is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Praxis 5: Faith, not fear

We live in a world full of fear. It is likely that Jesus did too. He saw how fear can cripple our lives and faith. He did not shy away from the issue, in fact numerous times he instructed his followers not to be afraid and to have faith in God.

Fear and faith are polar opposites. Where we are afraid we need to apply faith in God and allow him a welcome into the nitty-gritty of our lives. This is not a one-off event – it is an on-going intentional way of living.

We live and walk by faith by learning and applying God’s word to our hearts and lives – we believe God’s word is a higher authority than anything the world can offer us, so we learn it, believe it, and apply it in faith.

Jesus taught much about how God is generous and loves to meet our needs and the needs of the world, but he did not leave generosity as something to be received – he laid it out as something to be given. Followers of Jesus are to be generous people who are faultless in giving and who love to give to others. 

Jesus taught about joyful, humble giving that was done before god in secret rather than in public.  Generosity frees us from the evils of putting our security in riches and in the accumulation of stuff. He taught that a simple lifestyle is the best way to keep focused on loving God and loving others.

PRAXIS 7: Make Disciples

Making disciples is the crux of the Seven Praxis Project. We make disciples by helping others to LEARN and APPLY the teachings of Jesus to their own lives.

Jesus told his followers to make disciples. Throughout history followers of Jesus have sought to live and share their faith so that the world might know Jesus’ love. Making disciples is not just for paid clergy – it is the responsibility of every person who calls themselves a Christian.

We are to speak of our faith. we are to live out our faith ptractically. we are to share our faith. The context of making disciples is not a Church building – it is the marketplace; the workplace; the school; college; university; at the pub; over meals.