Holy Habits
Andrew Roberts, Neil Johnson, Tom Milton, Bible Reading Fellowship, 2018

£49.90 (Approx)
4.4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

HOLY HABITS is an initiative to nurture Christian discipleship. It explores Luke’s model of church found in Acts 2:42–47, identifies ten habits and encourages the development of a way of life formed by them. These resources, which include an introductory guide, have been developed to help churches explore the habits in a range of contexts and live them out in wholelife, missional discipleship.

What do you get?

The full course includes an introductory guide and ten individual books each relating to one Holy Habit. Glossy A5 booklets:

  1. Worship
  2. Sharing Resources
  3. Serving
  4. Prayer
  5. Making More Disciples
  6. Gladness and Generosity
  7. Biblical Teaching
  8. Breaking Bread
  9. Eating Together
  10. Fellowship

Each Holy Habit booklet has three sections:

  1. Understanding the habit

Introductory material for services of worship and groups.

  1. Forming the habit

Material to help individuals and churches make these Holy Habits a regular way of life, including:

  • Stories that show how these habits are transformative
  • Suggested practices for individuals and churches to make the habits habitual
  • Review questions for churches.
  1. Going further with the habit

Material and ideas to help people go deeper, including:

  • Pieces of theological reflection
  • Further practices to help deepen the habit
  • Suggested films and new media pieces to watch, and books and poems to read
  • Art and photographs to reflect upon.

Foundational book of same name is available, and provides much of the inspiration and reasoning behind the resource. Essential reading for leaders: Andrew Roberts, Holy Habits, MD Publishing, 2016. £9.99.

Who is it for?

Whole church, Adults, Children, Youth, Growing, Beginning. Methodist background but highly suitable for all.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Each book serves as a collection of resources and materials that encourage and enable a church to adopt spiritually healthy attributes and habits that derive from the thriving early church. They include a comprehensive and insightful amount of information and activities that enable a leader to develop the material into structured sessions, taking as much or as little information as they wish. An extensive collection of resources that encourage a church to adopt a lifestyle that is centred around living out faith and whole-life discipleship, ideally over two years.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    The books aim to take the church on a tour of the early church, understanding what habits formed and shaped them and how we can adopt these today. Each Habit book provides the backbone of a two-month series of worship material and small group resources for all ages and groups, as well as children’s activities. The introductory guide states ‘Holy Habits aims for the renewal of churches, or the formation of fresh expressions of church, as disciple-forming communities. The aim is to encourage ‘a way of living the Holy Habits, as seen in Acts 2’.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    Introductory guide explains the ethos, but leaves the rest up to the leader. There is a lot of content, deliberately designed to be ‘thought-starter ideas’ with flexibility, so that local situations can be reflected in the choices that leaders make. This is a creative smorgasbord of information, Bible verses, prayers, worship tools, activities for large groups and smaller groups, children’s activities and youth activities. Each book is a bank of information surrounding one Holy Habit, including ‘understanding the habit’, ‘forming the habit’ and ‘going further with the habit’. Activities are explained well and the books will point you to other resources that you may want to read further. A great set of books but takes some getting used to as it can be a little overwhelming, and there is no prescribed programme to follow.

    Who could lead it?

    It is intended to be used within a whole church to enable the whole church to adopt and foster these Holy Habits together.  The resource suggests having a team of people, ordained and lay, to oversee it and organise its launch and review. Also suggested is that this team represent a cross-section of the church family, where people can pursue and share their particular passions for a topic. You may find that having a further small team for each habit is useful, to coordinate all of the activity for that particular habit. Launch event recommended.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    No specific notes. Designed for group learning and participation, but this will filter down to the individual, and there are lots of suggestions for personal applications.

    How good is any digital material?

    Much suggested through the material: films, online material, music etc. Interview of author Andre Roberts via BRF online, with other material planned.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    A good amount of preparation is required. Each book includes masses of activities for sermons, prayers, Bible study resources, children’s resources, links to further resources. It follows a structure of: understanding the habit; forming the habit; and going further with the habit. It suggests exploring a new habit every two months over a two-year journey. The leader for the Holy Habit chosen needs to read the introductory guide and the book chosen. They need to familiarise themselves with the material and begin to build a plan of how they will incorporate the Holy Habit into their two month slot. However, there are materials and activities for small groups, youth and children also. The material serves as a ‘feast of ideas’ of information and activities, but requires planning to fashion it into the desired format. It includes notes for worship, prayer and suggested Bible verses too. The team can also gather stories, testimonies and pictures of the habit in action. Six month lead-in time, a launch event and concluding celebrations and reviews are recommended.

    Is there website support? Links?

    There is a website called https://www.holyhabits.co.uk/ , it contains a few question and answers about how to run the course, a video and where to buy the books.  It does not contain extra information for the course to run.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Very good interaction across all the material. There are many activities that involve interaction and participation, and the resource includes interactive worship ideas, drama, games, poetry and inspiration from a variety of media to explore.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    An extensive selection of activities which include many different learning styles, including kinaesthetic, visual and audio learners. The resource sign-posts the reader to other materials such as books, DVDs, other websites that also include different ideas and activities that could be included to tailor the content to a particular learning style.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Very adaptable, because there is so much material to work with. The book includes icons which highlight if a particular activity is relevant for children, families and youth. Activities and resources could also be adapted into small group settings with the right planning. It is intended to be adaptable for all people. There are notes in the introductory guide about how to adapt Holy Habits to those who are in care homes or housebound, or have any kind of additional needs.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    There is a large focus on applying the material. The forming the habit sections are focused around establishing a regular habit personally and includes stories of how the habits have formed in others which might be useful for ideas. For example, taking the habit Serving: there are lots of activities and ideas of how to serve in your particular context, abilities and capabilities, including suggestions for journaling, thanking others who serve you, prayer walking, holding autistic-friendly worship nights, joining a foodbank etc. It even considers people who have less time or capacities, such as children and how they might still adopt this habit. Then there is also further thought surrounding how to hold the church group accountable to this, to consider how the church can review the place of serving in all of its life together.  There is a real focus of people coming together to adopt these habits as a community and to continue to live out the habits.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    The whole resource is centred around the early church in Acts 2, encouraging us to adopt similar habits today. Each book contains a list of Bible verses relevant to the topic and has lots of Bible detail and content contained within.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Used well. The focus is on adopting Bible habits and applying how the early church lived to our world today, rather than just a Bible study. However, there is still a lot of good Bible content and the reader can use the verses how they wish.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Again, the resource serves as more than a Bible study but an application of the Bible in everyday life. The application of the Bible is relevant to everyday life, using different examples and activities. It also includes actual real-life stories from people adopting the habits.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Methodist and URC but adaptable for most.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    The Holy Habits resource has been developed to support churches who are seeking to deepen and develop whole –life discipleship habits that are seen in the life of the early church. Looking into ten different areas from serving to fellowship to making new disciples, the resources cover almost every single topic in discipleship, encouraging the church to make lasting habitual changes to their daily routines and to really encompass what it means to be a Christian.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Going back to the heart of the early church in the book of Acts and journeying through the foundations of what it means to be a disciple and follower of Jesus. There are also many pointers to other resources, including further thinking, books, and lots of Christian organisations and charities.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    Understanding how to live like Jesus in the 21st century, how to actively love and serve others and how God intended us to live.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    There isn’t much of a focus on issues as such, but the resource discusses introducing daily practices in your daily life which can help you connect with God more and enable you to develop a more Christ-centred life in the everyday. The resource assumes a healthy, realistic view of humanity, and the difference that following Jesus can make. It is realistic about the challenges of living as a disciple of Jesus in contemporary culture, and is both hopeful and helpful in encouraging a similar approach to these as seen in Acts. Lots of stories in the original book and scattered throughout the booklets.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Mission of all sorts is integral to the whole resource. It is deeply missional in every way, and seeks to inspire and encourage all to live out the missional nature of the Kingdom of God in everyday life.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Excellent strength of this resource with great ideas throughout as to how to do this. Includes information about those who are already around the country, with contact details.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Many global issues are acknowledged, and some of the material is in response to these.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Lots of examples of people going and doing global mission, supporting global mission, and learning how to express it locally as well.

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