A Way of Life
In Acts 2:42-47, Luke twice used the phrase ‘day by day’. By doing so, he highlights how the Holy Habits were a way of life lived rhythmically. In recent years, there has been a rediscovery of the value of rules or rhythms of life: patterns of prayer and regular practice of the other holy habits that deepen our dwelling in Christ and equip us in our day-to-day discipleship in the various contexts that we serve.
Many rhythms of life are developed more fully to be rules of life that encapsulate commitment and incorporate values as well as practices. Pete Greig, the founder of the 24/7 prayer movement, suggests: ‘A rule of life is a set of principles and practices we build into the rhythm of our daily lives, helping us to deepen our relationship with God and to serve him more faithfully’ (The Vision and the Vow, Kingsway, 2005).
You may wish to encourage the development of local or personal rhythms or rules of life if you chose to journey with Holy Habits.
The HOLYHABITS approach to learning
Holy Habits was not developed around any particular model of learning but does draw heavily on C.K. Barrett’s argument that Luke offers us the picture of the disciple-forming community in Acts 2:42–47 in order that we might imitate it.
As the title suggests, Holy Habits places a high emphasis on practice. As such, it agrees with Walter Bruggeman, who argues that ‘discipleship fundamentally entails a set of disciplines, habits and practices that are undertaken as regular, concrete, daily practices' (The Word That Redescribes the World, Fortress Press, 2006, p. 107). The habits are to be practised (in both senses of the word) when we gather as church in order to nurture a whole life discipleship in day-by-day life.
There is a need for teaching, discussion and reflection, and the Holy Habits resources both encourage and offer suggestions for this. Biblical Teaching has a particular part to play across all of the habits (as all are found throughout both the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament).
Learning flourishes when it is collaborative, creative and contextual. It thrives when all are involved, again wherever possible including children, who offer both their wisdom and their questions. And most importantly, learning comes alive when it is full of the Holy Spirit.
Reviews, celebrations and waymarks
One of the tasks of a Holy Habits team will be to monitor and review the working of Holy Habits on an ongoing basis. In particular, a larger review after introducing the first five habits is recommended, as well as a final review asking the important questions of how to continue nurturing and living out the habits.
To maintain energy and enthusiasm, it is helpful to have some form of gathering or celebration at the half-way point of a Holy Habits journey. This could take the form of a meal, gathered worship or a creative experience of breaking bread – or some combination of all of these. Storytelling in words, music and pictures can be very helpful on such occasions; the stories give
testimony to the blessing experience through living out the habits.