This week I’ve had a chance to look through “Exilio” the new resource by Forge Australia, a “24 week small group study” based on the book “Exiles” by Michael Frost. The resource was officially launched at the Forge 2008 “Grassroots Festival” only a week ago, some people might have already grabbed a copy, or ordered one, or been sent one to review, but I’ve not seen many reviews of the resource online so thought I’d throw my two bobs in for those of you who might be keen on a resource to help your church or others work through issues of mission in a community, in a world that is post-Christian.
Michael Frost speaker on things missional, post-Christian and Jesus. His book Exiles was released back in 2006 asks people to think about how they live a life of mission in a society that is by large post-Christian, it reflects on the radical life and voice of Jesus is the Professor of Evangelism and Missions as well as the Founding Director of Centre for Evangelism & Global Mission at Morling Theological College in Sydney, he’s written a number of books and has become one of Australia’s best known, the scripture’s call for a radical life and how the (C)hurch can get beyond it’s doors and recapture that kind of vision that we read about and hear about in the early days of the Christian Church. People who read the book are encouraged to grasp this old vision and re-imagine it in today’s world, in their community.
“Exilio” is a resource that gives communities, friends, churches, mentors, strangers, monastic communities, young adult groups, youth workers, chaplains mission workers and ministers a process to explore their faith, ecclesiology, understanding of Jesus’ message and how they can connect with the society, the culture around them.
The package includes:
- 1 DVD with 4 series of lectures by Michael Frost on
- Dangerous Memories
- Dangerous Promises
- Dangerous Criticism
- Dangerous Songs
- 1 copy of the book “Exiles” by Michael Frost
- 1 copy of the Facilitators Handbook
- 1 copy of “Ignition” a 12 week study on the book of ACTS by Mark Sayers
Essentially the course is broken up into 5 meetings over the space of 24 weeks (approximately once every 6 weeks), each gathering focusing on one section of the book Exiles, some sections are longer than others (as far as it might take to read, not in as far as it might take to discuss). So each time you meet you will be able to connect with each other, reflect on the scripture, discuss your reading material, discuss your journaling and notes from your experiences/reading/prayer (journaling is an essential part of the learning process), watch a session from the dvd pack, ask questions, be set up with homework for the weeks ahead, prayer and be sent out.
Each participant is also given some homework to do during their time apart, action and reflection is encouraged in this course.
One of the homework items it to participate in, or lead a small group through the Ignition study, some people might be able to lead a small group while others may find it hard to do, so facilitators are encouraged to work through those issues as a group, or prior to running the course. So, along with reading the material and meeting together every six weeks participants are asked to also coordinate Ignition with perhaps a meeting every 2 weeks with a small group.
At the end of each week’s session participants will be given two specific challenges that will connect with the week’s readings, challenges might include interviewing people about a specific issue or question, bless one person each day for one week, watch a movie, host a meal for people, connect with and participate in a community group’s activity… These activities are designed to help people connect with their reading and exploration.
So basically we’re talking about Gathering, Story Telling, Reading, Listening, Reflection, Prayer and Action.
Ignition is a 12 week study of the book of Acts, each week providing a time for gathering, story telling, reflection, scripture, discussion, listening and prayer, and much like the Exilio sessions each meeting asks people to journal and do some homework (perhaps 1.5 hours) between sessions.
Ignition is for people who want to discover effective and biblical ways of sharing the gospel within a culture in the midst of massive change. It is for people who want to understand the missional nature of God and desire to move their faith to an “action” footing. Ignition is for people who want to live the message of Jesus outside the four walls of Sunday Christianity.
- A World of Change
- Church in Society
- The Mission and Heart of God
- The Kingdom of God
- The Incarnation
- The Plan of God
- Sharing The Gospel
- Transforming Mission
- Spirituality of Mission
- The Missional Church
- Where To From Here?
As with the Exilio course participants get a bit of homework to do each session, from journaling, interviewing people, going on a prayer walk, reading, prayer, reflection… Unlike the Exilio course, Ignition asks the participants to each decide on what it calls a “Missional Experiment” which participants take up during the course as a part of their study, this experiment is reflected upon in their journal and in the time doing the course.
Missional Experiments could include ideas like joining a community group, connecting with neighbours, running community activities, addressing social issues, starting a community vegetable garden, connecting with a community of people that participants have a passion for connecting with.
Where It Fits With Exilio:
Participants in Exilio are asked to facilitate a small group through Ignition during their participation in Exilio as individuals or in pairs, or if there might be issues with leadership skills and small group skills to participate in the study alongside the course.
Running Exilio and Ignition:
I’m looking at this package and wondering how I would use it i my setting, and I’ve a number of ideas, I’ll list them here for people to add to their thoughts re facilitating Exilio in their settings.
- 24 weeks to run Exilio might seem like a long time, from looking at the course I think you could get away with meeting once every two weeks, expecting people would read 2 chapters a week (13 chapters, 13 weeks). This would only work if you had a group able to handle the reading, journaling, thinking and acting in the two week blocks. The dvd lectures then would be screened whenever you crossed from one section to another. In doing it this way you might find that running Ignition as a part of the course is a tad over ambitious, perhaps then you might want to have participants run Ignition as a response to Exiles, and as a promotion for the next time you run Exilio rather than running it during the time you’re doing Exilio.
- Ignition is a decent stand alone study, you don’t need to run Exilio in order to facilitate it, I’m going to use Ignition with a group of youth / young adults this semester, we might move towards looking at Exilio next semester.
- The Exilio dvd lectures are good enough to show without running Exilio, you might want to run them in a small group, but that might hinder you if you want to run the course with them at a later time. But perhaps if you’re working with people who aren’t readers, then you might be able to run the dvd lectures alongside Ignition and get away with with it, but that being said as a whole it would work best running it in the format that it’s designed.
- The entire pack costs $99.95AUD + Postage, but you also need to remember that as it’s designed each participant would also need to have their own copy of both Ignition and Exiles, this ups the price if you’re considering providing the material rather than having participants purchase their own copies.
- Individual copies of Ignition cost $9.95 AUD + Postage and Handling
- Individual copies of “Exiles” by Michael Frost are $19.95AUD through Forge and $19.95US (currently $13.57US) + Postage through Amazon.com
- You might also want to take into account publicity, catering, how much people might spend on setting up missional experiments..