I just finished Earl Creps’ book, Off-Road Disciplines: Spiritual Adventures of Missional Leaders. I was able to obtain this book for free because Earl had a deal for bloggers that he would send them a copy for free if you were “willing to write a review of the book for your blog AND on Amazon.com“. So I took him up on the offer. HT to Jonathan Herron for the heads up on that.
I really did not know what to expect when I started this book. I have heard Earl speak one time at my church, Rockpointe Community Church, so I am not too familiar with him. But I was pleasantly surprised. This is a book that I would recommend to anyone who is in church leadership.
The book description on Amazon.com says….
In Off-Road Disciplines, Earl Creps reveals that the on-road practices of prayer and Bible reading should be bolstered by the other kinds of encounters with God that occur unexpectedly—complete with the bumps and bruises that happen when you go “off-road.” Becoming an off-road leader requires the cultivation of certain spiritual disciplines that allow the presence of the Holy Spirit to arrange your interior life. Earl Creps explores twelve central spiritual disciplines—six personal and six organizational—that Christian leaders of all ages and denominations need if they are to change themselves and their churches to reach out to the culture around them.
Prayer and Bible reading are core things that will help every Christian be able to grow deeper in their relationship with God, but often times those two things seem to fall short. It feels like there needs to be more and Earl explores those things. But what I like about this book besides that, is that he explores what it is that the Church can do to make them more successful.
On the personal side Earl explores how we need to move ourselves out of the center of it all and put Christ into that position, honestly examining who we are and what our faith is saying to others, how we need to not think that just because we are older (though I am only 33) we have the answers but look to those younger than us for help as well, and how we as Christians need to invest more in the “sought” and develop relationships with them. I have found over the years that these are definitely things that are lacking in most Christians and especially with pastors and leaders in the Church.
On the organizational side Earl explores the fact that not everything in the church can be measured, sometimes things in ministry are just hard to measure. Then he looks at how it is that the three mindsets of pre-modern, modern and post-modern can and should learn to work together, which can be a daunting task, but one that we must strive to achieve. How churches need to create a “missional space” and that there are three things that go into it: a Spirit dimension, a venue dimension and a heart dimension. If you do not adequately work on those three things and bring them into your church and/or evaluate them, then you won’t have that missional space in which you can reach more people effectively. And then looking for other whom we can pass the baton onto, because the reality is that we will not be here forever. Too often in our American culture and society we are so concerned with protecting our status and position that we are afraid to mentor or train anyone else to do our job. But that is effectively killing our society.
If you are a leader in your church I encourage you to buy a copy of this book for everyone on your team and read it together. You won’t regret it.