"Staying is the New Going" asks this question- where does your life happen?
Where do you sleep at night, where do you hang out, where do you eat your dinner and go to church and go to work and walk your dog? Why did you choose this place, and why do you stay?
Do you even intend to stay?
What if you decided that you would stay, and stay well?
What if we could reveal the hidden power of staying? What if we could stay in a way that's so compelling that staying would be the new going?
Alan Brigg's thinks that we can. He's tried it. He's gone from a mover-and-shaker out to see the world to a man growing roots, trying to faithfully inhabit his corner of God's earth.
Barring the necessary moves to meet your work and family needs, Alan challenges you to hold your ground in one place for a while. He casts a vision of Christians who move into any "ordinary" place and get busy right there with the people of that area.
This book explores several aspects of what it takes to encourage a "staying culture." Some of these points really got my attention.
First, we'd need to begin recognizing God's glory and good opportunities in our own zip code. Ministry and mission happen right here, Alan argues. God is at work and you can join in, on a dirt road or in a city block.
Second, we'd need to understand this place we're trying to serve and flourish in. As Stephen King said, "A place is yours when you know where all the roads go." So, go explore. What's the culture? What's the lingo? How do the people here roll? Where do you fit in seamlessly and where do you struggle to find a toehold? What do you enjoy about this patch of the map, and what drives you crazy?
Third, watch your mindset. As you explore, be a pilgrim, Alan suggests, not a tourist. To simplify the definitions, a pilgrim moves with an eye for Christ's presence in all places, and accepts the hard things as well as the lovely ones as part of the journey. A tourist might eagerly find all the best spots in town, but by nature they can't stay long or get deeply involved.
Fourth, you need to neighbor. No, you didn't choose them. No, you don't live anything like they do. No, you don't know them yet.
But if you're going to stay and stay well, you're gonna have to meet the neighbors.
"You know your neighbors are beginning to trust you when they begin to inconvenience you."
This is a statement that is so true, yet I'd never thought of it this way before.
If somebody is a stranger to me, do I call them to ask for help during the dinner hour?
No. I don't.
But if I ever did, if I took that risk, they might become a friend.
And actually, I've seen this happen.
Maybe you have too.
Maybe you've been really blessed by the people around you, and maybe you've blessed them back.
If so, you know what Alan is talking about. If it's never happened yet, keep the faith. It can happen.
"Staying is the New Going" would be a really great book to read along with Hugh Halter's "Flesh." Both of them revolve around the same thing- Jesus does his awesome work through common men in common places.
(And perhaps you'll find that no place and no person is common, if you borrow God's eyes to look with.)
I thank Tyndale and NavPress for my review copy.