Wednesday, August 9, 2017

“Disruptive Discipleship” by Sam Van Eman

Most of not all Christians know what it means to find ourselves in a “faith rut.” We’re following the same patterns, the same procedures and programs, the same things we’ve always done. And while there may be nothing wrong with any pf these things we’re doing, we sense stagnation. We’re not growing. It’s the same-old same-old. We’ve plateaued, and we sense there’s more to faith than a plateau. Sometimes we’re playing it safe because safe is a good place to be when we find ourselves in a culture that’s turning upside down.

Sam Van Eman wants to disrupt that faith rut. H wants to explain how he became convinced of his own stagnation, and what he did to break out of it. He wants you to know that you don’t have to wait for a disruption that will lead to growth; you can design one yourself. And he wrote Disruptive Discipleship: The Power of Breaking Routine to Kickstart Your Faith to share what’s he learned and encourage anyone feeling stuck in their faith.

“If this book is broadly about going somewhere when we feel stuck,” he writes, “it’s more specifically about growing up when we’ve been acting like children.” Unwelcome events can force that growth, but so, too, can a deliberately designed plan. And that’s what Van Eman is arguing.

He’s got experience doing this – work experience. He’s a resource specialist for CCO – a ministry focused on helping college students “serve Jesus Christ with their entire lives.” But it’s not limited to college students; Van Eman co-creates transformational experiences for professionals and organizations as well. These experiences may be a trek in Peru, exploring caves, a “big woods” experience. Or a program in a board room or auditorium. But they’re designed (note that word) to break people out of the everyday routine and help them rethink what they’re doing to grow in their faith.

Disruptive Discipleship describes the problem of stagnation, considers options, and then moves toward practical ways to design a plan. With stories and personal anecdotes, Van Eman discusses different kinds of adventures, tests, and experiments in service. And then he explains to how translate change, navigate valleys (and heights), and how to work with others in these experiences. He includes a group study guide, a Bible study on what Jesus knew about experiential education, and even templates for creating a designed plan.

Sam Van Eman
Van Eman is the author of On Earth as It Is in Advertising: Moving from Commercial Hype to Gospel Hope. A public speaker and facilitator, he has written for PRISM Magazine, Christianity Today’s Faith in the Workplace, and other online and print publications. He also wrote a series of remarkable stories about his life collectively called A Beautiful Trench It Was. He and his family live in central Pennsylvania.

Disruptive Discipleship is not a prescriptive, one-size-fits-all approach to grow faith. But it is a wonderful resource, with all kinds of practical suggestions and advice. And it will be helpful for anyone looking to move to a more dynamic, growing Christian faith. 


Top photograph by Mark Harpur via Unsplash. Used with permission.

1 comment:

Michele Morin said...

This looks like something C.E. committees in local churches could profit from as a group read and discussion topic.