Finished reading: Faithful Presence by David Fitch

I’ve kept up with David Fitch for a while now via his blog and twitter. Fitch is a professor of theology at Northern Seminary in suburban Chicago, and has led church plants that reflect his focus on community, mutual leadership and submission, and reconciliation. Faithful Presence seeks to capture those ideas in a short, practical volume for church leaders.

Fitch outlines three areas of presence that Christians should occupy: the “close circle” (presence with other Christians around the Lord’s Supper), the “dotted circle” (still a fellowship of believers, but open to non-believers, typically in the context of a believer’s home), and the “half circle” (extending Christian presence into the neighborhood).

He then spends short chapters on each of seven disciplines he outlines as critical to a faithful presence. They are:

  • The Lord’s Table
  • Reconciliation
  • Proclaiming the Gospel
  • Being with the “Least of These”
  • Being with Children
  • The Fivefold gifting (roles in church leadership)
  • Kingdom Prayer

I really like Fitch’s focus on neighborhood and community presence; this is a welcome redirection from the big evangelical church as social hub. I found resonance there with an end note from Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Accidental Saints, where (if memory serves) she says essentially “do you want what we have? Don’t move here and come to my church – instead, start having a weekly dinner in your home with other believers, and let it grow from there.”

There’s a lot here to consider in an easy, small volume. Worth the read.

Faithful Presence: Seven Disciplines That Shape the Church for Mission

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