Off-Road Disciplines

Earl Creps holds a PhD in communication, is a professor at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and has been a pastor of three different churches. He is both an academician and a practitioner. After spending three years studying churches and leaders he presents his findings as off-road disciplines based in the belief that the life of the missional leader is the single most important variable affecting any organization. These disciplines are such because they are not to be found in the ordinary catalogues. The ordinary disciplines such as prayer and Bible reading should be supplemented by other kinds of encounter with God that occur unexpectedly – complete with the bumps and bruises inherent in off-road experiences. He contends that an experience is a spiritual discipline if it has the potential to form God’s heart in a person and that person embraces it as such.

The book is organized into two sections. Part one depicts six disciplines that shape the interior life of missional leaders as individuals, while part two offers the same number for organizations. The symmetry reflects a belief that organizations are fundamentally are spiritual reflecting the leaders’ spiritual life.

The two chapters which impressed me the most were Humility, from Part One - Personal Disciplines & Sacrifice, from Part Two - Organizational Disciplines.

Humility is, like John the Baptist, knowing who you are and who you are not. One has to convince himself that he is not omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Using the following three phrases helps convince us: I do not know, I am sorry, and I need you.

Mission only happens when everyone involved is willing to make concessions. A key distinction ahs to be made concerning the difference between orthodox unchangeable theology and the variables of preference. Paul asked Timothy to endure circumcision on cultural grounds so that he could be a more useful missional partner by having access to both the Jewish world and the Greek world. It was not a theologically motivated action. Three criteria for working together are offered: voluntary, sacrificial, and missional.

Off-Road Disciplines was reviewed by Jeff Piehl, Director of Student Ministries, EFCA

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