Out of the Box

An invitation to move into new forms of mission and ministry. “In the story of God’s people, it is often those who dared to imagine a different reality who were crucial in helping their community to move in God’s new direction.” These words introduce Out of the Box, a fresh CD resource to help churches dream up a storm of new ways to express worship and prayer, mission and community.

The resource is compiled by the BUV’s Regional Ministers, drawing on their experience in church ministry, consultancy, team-building and helping churches move beyond predictable responses. They realise that it is not enough for churches to be told to change and be relevant, to be creative and innovative; we need creative and innovative processes to guide us in exploring fresh ways of being and doing church. People can sincerely be open to God’s Spirit inspiring us in new directions, but we also need our experiences to be broadened beyond church as we have always known it.

Some of the most valuable exercises of Out of the Box are the suggested visits to churches who worship in different ways, or encouragement to engage in prayer walks around our neighbourhood (with a guided group process for that). It invites what may be confronting input from the local mayor, indigenous or refugee group leaders, or a visitor with a non-churched background who is invited to church just to learn from their response. Out of the Box is unsettling and invites groups on an adventure outside of their comfort zone. It invites us to put aside preconceptions and listen to extraordinary, albeit potentially confronting, possibilities.

Out of the Box has excellent questions and activities for listening to God and to one another. It invites us to engage deeply with Scripture, community needs, the passions of our community and the fun of the process. It offers practical guidelines for prayer in public places, mission in coffee shops or pubs, films to spark discussion, frameworks for creative dreaming, thinking about lifestyle choices, and some yummy sounding prayer stations.
The suggestions for a personal prayer retreat are based on this series of questions about our life journey:
• Where am I going?
• What is my calling?
• What am I avoiding?
• Where am I stuck?
• What am I celebrating?
• What am I carrying that I need to put down?
• What am I hoping for?

What a gift to make space for listening and dreaming about new possibilities. I am looking forward to using Out of the Box with my local church as we imagine new and locally appropriate ways of seeking God, doing life together and engaging our broader community.

Out of the Box can be dipped into for occasional use in worship or church meetings, or used over a month or three-month process, including within small groups. It offers 80 pages with 13 sessions of icebreakers, activities, interactive exercises, brainstorming topics, Bible studies and action points, and another 20 ready-to-use resources and handouts.
Rev Dr Darren Cronshaw is the BUV’s Coordinator of Leadership Training, co-pastor of Auburn Baptist Church, and regular reviewer for the W!tness, BUV’s Newsletter. Out of the Box is available now from the BUV. Phone 9880 6100 or email: [email protected]