Practices are the “doings,” not just the good intentions, the thinking and theory and hoping and planning that occupy our minds and hearts.
When we talk about marks, characteristics, or qualities of fruitful congregations, we too easily fall into a “we have it or we don’t” mode of thinking. I find it more helpful to speak of practices that any congregation can adopt, change, develop, begin, or improve upon. If we’re not the kind of church we think God intends for us to become, we simply begin to act like it by adopting the practices until they help us become a new church.
The Greek word for the Book of Acts is praxeis apostolon, or Acts of the Apostles. Praxeis is the Greek word from which we derive the English word practice. Thus, the Book of Acts is about the happenings and doings of the early church! The practice of Intentional Faith Development puts us in the most advantageous place to perceive and receive God’s activity and will for our lives. We become something new in Christ.
How can your congregation change the “values” of hospitality and faith development into the “practices” of Radical Hospitality and Intentional Faith Development? How will you help?