“I’m a pragmatist,” I tell people. “Not a theologian.”
And after twenty five years of trying to figure out how to be a follower of Jesus and His Way, I find I’m getting even more practical in my old(er) age.
I find I’m not alone. Many of us are kicking back at how the information age has created a glut of theological theory. We want to be doers of the Word, not just hearers! On Thursday nights I gather with a group of young leaders from different churches in the city. We have dinner together. We worship. We share communion. And we craft and perform experiments. Thursday night has become our learning lab as we wrestle with Jesus’ teachings and how we can put them into practice.
We are inspired by, well, Jesus, of course, but also another guy named Mark Scandrette who wrote a book called “Practicing the Way of Jesus – Life together in the Kingdom of Love.”
His book and his website www.Jesusdojo.com challenge and guide us in our journey.
Here was the experiment of the last two weeks. First we meditated upon some of Jesus’ teachings about security and provision, and decided to celebrate as a group how God has blessed us with abundance. Each day we created a list of things we were grateful for.
Then we took an offering in the group, and shocked ourselves as we came up with over $1000! With the money, we decided to shower abundance on someone that God had been putting on our hearts. One of us is friends with a single mum who has three teenage girls, two of whom have significant health challenges. The family needs to move, but lacks the resources.
We purchased gift certificates for Ikea and Home Sense. We got the mom some spa gift certificates and got each of the girls a mall gift certificate. We put together a gift basket of their favorite foods. We spent the night before delivery praying for the family, and writing messages of love and hope on cards for each family member. We made a video of us sending our love, greetings and blessing to them. And then we delivered it all to their home, along with a commitment to take care of their move for them – the packing, the cleaning, the truck acquisition, and the move itself.
Delivering the basket to the family was like Christmas morning, except with more tears. Gotta be the most fun thing we’ve done in a loooooooong time… and we can’t wait to meet next week and reflect on our practice together!
In Jesus’ days, making disciples was learning from teaching AND learning by doing. We are excited about our new Practice, and encourage you to create some experiments of your own!
Click on the link below and hear some of Mark’s thoughts about Practicing the Way of Jesus