By Kim Shockley
This is the third in a series. See part 2.
As a refresher, I’m writing about my experience and reflection after reading Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch’s book, The Faith of Leap. The previous blog was about liminality – that in-between place that is so uncomfortable that it forces us to either retreat in fear or make the leap. Now I want to share the next element from this book – the adventure that is Christian discipleship!
Adventure is a journey with an uncertain outcome. Many of us hate this. I really do speak for myself here. My husband has dragged me kicking and screaming to some of the places that he was appointed. On the DISC profile I am a SC – steady and compliant are the words I use to describe myself. I’ll go, and I’ll make the most of it, but I don’t have to like it that much. The most memorable time when this happened was our move from Cranberry Township PA and Cornerstone Church to Orlando FL and what would eventually be HopeSpring Church. We were leaving everything we knew and loved for an unknown adventure in a very different place. I kicked and screamed while we packed up, and I went with great reservations, but after a few months I found the way in which God wanted to use me there and the real adventure began. For me, the opposite of adventure is security. I was losing all my security in this move – a job I loved, people I knew, stuff I could depend upon. I didn’t see where God was in the midst of the new stuff because I was looking at my old stuff. My need for security blocked my ability to see the adventure. Thankfully, the fog finally lifted and I embraced the new journey that has become foundational to the work I am doing now. As an aside, I did learn through that experience to look for God’s adventure a whole lot quicker!
Frost and Hirsch make it very clear that God’s adventure takes courage. And that often means letting go of our need for security. If the liminal place for the church today is between what worked and what will work to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, then the adventure that we need to embrace is a courageous attempt at innovation. We have to try new things, new ways of doing things, and be ready to do them joyously with the understanding that we might fail. Now, that is courage. That is adventure. That is using faithfulness to take a leap – especially since the outcomes are unclear.
What’s the first thing that is said when someone shares a new idea? “We never tried that before.” “We did try that, but it failed.” “What will so and so say if we do that?” “Where will the money come from to try that?” These are security based fearful questions. They are not courageously joyful questions. Let’s try these questions on for size: “Who can we partner with to do that?” “How can we be praying for the right next step?” “How will this help us share Jesus with others?” “Who do we know that has passion around that?” “How will that help us make disciples?” “What will help this be successful?” “When do we need to evaluate?” “How can we celebrate this?” Can you feel the energy that comes from these questions? They reflect powerful opportunities for joyful adventure!
The next blog will focus on the third element for making faithful leaps – communitas.