“Evangelistic mission works effectively when we are living generous, Spirit-led, hospitable, Christlike lives as missionaries in our own neighbourhoods—and when the gifted evangelists in our midst join us in sharing Christ with our neighbours. That’s not just good evangelism strategy. That’s the biblical model” (Michael Frost, Surprise the World, NavPress 2016).
These words from Michael Frost, an Australian church planter, theologian, missiologist, and cofounder of Forge Mission Training Network, speak to the heart of the series on Shared Practices we’ve been sharing for the past few months. Yes, Shared Practices are at one level meant to help already-Christians grow in the kingdom way together, being transformed more into the likeness of Christ through important facets such as accountability, Bible study, hospitality and prayer. But really, the whole point of the gathered and scattered people of God is to make disciples who make disciples—to be a winsome people who, as Frost puts it, “announce and demonstrate the reign of God through Christ.” Shared Practices are inherently missional.
Over the coming weeks, we’re going to share Mike Frost’s videos about the 5 Shared Practices that his missional community practices together: the BELLS method of Bless, Eat, Learn Jesus, Listen to the Spirit, Be Sent.
We’ll share a new clip each week, giving you time to experiment with the practice. These videos are not meant to necessarily give you a plug-and-play model for Shared Practices, but they are a good starting place to foster conversation in your congregation.
These approximately 4-minute videos give us a new way to approach some of the habits or tendencies that we already have as human beings, and today we’ll begin with the first B: BLESS.
Take note that the original word bless means “add strength to one’s arm.” Remember that God strengthens with His right hand or arm and that strength is what blesses the person. When we do likewise (as imitators of Christ) we bless.
We encourage you to try out the practice yourself. Does it come naturally to you, or is it a stretch? What might this practice look like in your church family? What similar practices already exist in some way in your congregation? Why is this practice important for disciple-making disciples of Christ?