Book Review: Surprise the World


One of the books that has had a lasting impact on my ministry is Michael Frost’s book Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture. This book helped me understand ministry in our current context and the importance of living missionally- which I believe is more than a buzzword within the church. Last night I finished his latest book, Surprise the World: The Five Habits of Highly Missional People. I found this small book to pack a big punch is helping Christians understand that living missionally is not a “one-off” series or an event, but that missional living has to do with the habits that we cultivate that cause us to “live questionable lives.”

Since finishing the book, this phrase of “living questionable lives” has been rolling around my head. Frost premise is that our habits as Christians should lead people to question our lives. Questions that can organically lead to conversations about our faith and our God. I know that from a pastoral vantage, I have preached, encouraged, and taught my congregation that our lives should look differently than the world. Frost provides a framework on how we do that with just a few habits. These habits came out of his community, and it would make sense for other faith communities create their own values and habits contextually- but for the sake of the book Frost’s five habits are a great starting point for conversation. So what are these habits? Frost provides an acronym of BELLS.

Bless-I will bless three people this week- one of whom is not a member of my
Eat- I will eat with three people this week; one from outside of my church
Listen- I will spend at least one period of the week listening to the Spirit’s
Learn-I will spend at least one period of the week learning Christ
Sent- I will journal throughout the week all the ways I alerted others to the
universal reign of God through Jesus.

I’m not going to go into the details of each letter of the acronym other than to say that I think this habits are helpful for myself and my congregation in living “questionable lives.”

In a increasingly post-Christian culture, Surprise the World provides a helpful framework for individuals and groups to understand how the ordinary habits of our lives can impact the world around us. I recommend this book as you seek to live a “questionable life!”

About Steve LaMotte

Husband of Andrea and father of four amazing children. Pastor at Avenue United Methodist Church in Milford, Delaware.
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2 Responses to Book Review: Surprise the World

  1. paulbowman says:

    Definitely going to add this to my 2016 reading list!

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