David Fitch has become an important voice to me very recently. In the past couple months, I had read, “The Great Giveaway,” and found myself chewing on the gristle of that book for many days after I finished it.
This volume does not disappoint. The voice has changed a bit. To borrow ideas from the chapter of this volume, “The Discipline of the Firefold Gifting,” Fitch used the voice of a prophet in “Giveaway.” Here, he is much more speaking with the voice of a pastor, putting into practice some of the weighty principles of the earlier work.
Both are necessary. Where a prophet puts to disorder, a pastor aids us in finding the reality of our situation, learning how to live it out. This book does exactly that.
The title, and indeed the interwoven theme of the book, bring to play a very important and somewhat lost idea in our world: being present. This is the centerpiece of each of the disciplines Fitch presents. We may not merely participate in things, not just do them to check off a list: we must be present in the moment. Our presence is the first contribution. The presence of Christ is the stated response.
It is interesting that this book is about disciplines. The Lord’s Table, Reconciliation, Proclaiming the Gospel, Being with the “Least of these,” and the other sections of this book could have very simply been Christian objectives. To present them as disciplines, though, brings the reader immediately to another level. We are not just studying. This book is about doing. Indeed, this is exactly what I found myself challenged to. Repeatable, purposeful action which brings us into a deeper spiritual formation.
Church leaders, people who have been approached for church leadership, or anyone who gives care to the re-orienting of a missional church should absolutely read this book. It will give you clear pictures and vivid, real-life stories about how to be shaped into a living, breathing community of the Holy Spirit. You will not be left wanting.