HOLYHABITS: Getting started, including discussion questions
Holy Habits project leader Andrew Roberts introduces you to the Holy Habits course available from The Bible Reading Fellowship. These flexible, easy-to-use resources will help you and your church to engage with discipleship in a deliberate and exciting way.
HOLYHABITS in your church
In Acts 2:42-47 Luke offers us a picture of what it is to be church. It is a timeless, trans-cultural picture that is made ever new by the breath of the Spirit. According to the preeminent biblical scholar C.K. Barrett, Luke deliberately offers his readers this picture ‘order that they might imitate it’ (Acts 1—14, T.&T. Clark, 2004, p. 160).
Many have commented that there is nothing essentially new in Holy Habits – and they are right. Having said that, the question then is how alive are the habits among us? Which are flourishing and which may be neglected? Holy Habits is not essentially a policy, programme or strategy, but a way of life and, as such, needs continuous renewal.
To help this way of life be fruitful, many churches are finding it helpful to undertake an intentional Holy Habits journey for a year or two, consciously looking again at the way of life Luke describes and reimagining how this can and needs to be lived within the gathered context of church and the day-by-day lives of the constituent disciples.
To help these journeys, a range of resources have been developed. See church resources. All of these are offered to help, not to direct or control. They are not prescriptive but are designed to encourage local people to take from them what is helpful to be used creatively and contextually.
Holy Habits is flourishing when the Lukan emphasis on all being involved is embraced. (The biblical commentator James Dunn in his commentary on the passage warns against the dangers of idealism, so it is best to understand ‘all’ as as many as possible). In most of these places, small teams have been formed to help churches journey through their initial exploratory phase: an overall team and specific teams looking in more depth at each of the habits. Where possible, it is good to involve children and younger people in these teams.
In an age where initiative fatigue is a real and present danger, carefully planning the order in which habits will be explored is important. For example, if a church is committed to Thy Kingdom Come, looking at the habit of prayer at this time makes sense. Gladness and generosity fits well over the Christmas season.
A note for small churches
Please don’t think you are too small to explore and practise holy habits. All of the churches in Acts were small! Being small has some advantages too and can make planning a lot easier.