Faithful Presence: Seven Disciplines That Shape the Church for Mission
by David E. Fitch
Reviewed by Clint Walker
Right before I moved, I received the book Faithful Presence from IVP Press. After I moved here to North Platte, I also received a copy of this book from our Executive Minister Robin Stoops. It has taken me a while to carefully read through this book, but I have finally finished the text.
The central idea of Faithful Presence is that there are seven spiritual practices that simultaneously promise God's presence and lead us into a missional presence in our world. Each one of the practices promises that God will "show up" as we live out and share these disciplines. The practices are:
- The Discipline of the Lord's table
- The Discipline of Reconciliation
- The Discipline of Proclaiming the Gospel
- The Discipline of Being with the Least of These
- The Discipline of Being with Children
- The Discipline of Fivefold Gifting
- The Discipline of Kingdom Prayer
Fitch then goes on to share a model for living the disciplines as the church in three realms:
- Close circles: Believers in Christian community (the church) submitted to Christ and one another
- Dotted circles: Believers in the neighborhood submitted to Christ and one another as they live their faith outside of church buildings or the safety of a "holy huddle".
- The half circle: Where the Christian and christian community goes out into the world as a guest, seeking to live and share the presence of God in that space
I found this book powerful, intellectually stimulating, and believe it will be a significant text in how the church seeks to live on purpose in the world to reach the world for years to come. Eschewing quick fix programs at every opportunity, this book shares values and attitudes believers should embrace in their life together, and as they seek to live on mission in their community and world. Biblically grounded, culturally wise, and pragmatically astute, Fitch lays a foundation for church's in the future that is based on historical models of Christian community and outreach, without embracing traditions and structures that have hamstrung Western Christian mission in recent years.
This is a must read for pastors, church leaders, and followers of Jesus seeking to live their lives in a way that grounds them deeply in their faith, and empowers them to multiply their faith as well.
Our deacon board is studying this book together right now, and seeking to move forward in ministry and mission with the guidance it provides.