Many of our churches have a habit of investing too much in the next big, growth-delivering, soul-saving, church-renewing spiritual product, often backed by a handbook and set of films from some wealthy church somewhere a long way from where God has placed us.
This is all good, but in my experience doesn't quite work as well as advertised. Most church-renewing spiritual products, it seems sometimes, haven't met my church.
When Jesus first taught the Sermon on the Mount to his disciples, it must have been a shock. It's still a shock today. What he majored on was not technique, was not slick and didn't need a workbook.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit ... those who mourn ... the meek ... those who hunger and thirst for righteousness ... the merciful ... the pure in heart ... the peacemakers ... the persecuted.” (Matt 5:3-12)
The Beatitudes are all these things:
grounded in a deep need for God
affecting all of life
undergirding and rising above any specific plans
concerned with our hearts, not our skillset
encompassing sadness and setback
using the materials to hand, and
successfully helping us and our works to be a sign, instrument, and foretaste of the total transformation of the world in Jesus.
Fruitfulness, in other words, for the rest of us.