off-road disciplines

August 1, 2007

Several weeks (er, months?) ago, I received a copy of Off-Road Disciplines, by Earl Creps, for review. With some reading for school behind me, I was finally able to sit down and give this book some proper attention.

After reading this book, more than anything, I am struck by Dr. Creps’ humility. It is clear that he is a lifelong learner who does not approach the discipline of writing as a chance to tout his wisdom, but to stimulate dialogue that even he wants to continue. I am thankful for the posture he takes, and I think it gives this book a broad appeal.

The premise of the book is helpful — he offers practices for a church leader who wants to be thinking more missionally. The book is not groundbreaking in terms of the content it offers, but is helpful for reflection. Perhaps because they most jive with my personality, I was especially appreciative of his words in chatper 7, on Assessment, and in chapter 9, on Reflection. Those two chapters add the most value to the book in making it a worthwhile read.

Here’s a few samples of the humility and thought that I found helpful, with my comments in italics:

  • “I conclude that virtually every major error in judgment on issues of guidance in my life stems from attempting to go it alone, insisting on acting as the one others depend on rather than the one who needs to depend on others.” (pg. 81) That would be a taste of the humility I alluded to.
  • “Statistical measurement addresses the important issue of what we are doing, but it neglects the more important question of why we are doing it. If the why question lacks priority, the what question ultimately tells us very little, and the potential of performance management to guide the ministry dissipates.” (pg 89)
  • “But in our context, these fine ideas collided with the reality that our growing people had spontaneously found their way into informal networks that required minimal administrative support. In other words, all the good stuff happened in the cracks between our complicated programs. Our discussion that night led us to the question of how God was at work among us, and what God’s activity implied for our own.” (pg 136)
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