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We Make The Road By Walking by Brian D. McClaren

Published by Hodder and Stoughton June 2014

This is an incredibly versatile resource by the well-known writer Brian D. Mclaren. It deals with spiritual formation but in a group setting; ideal for Congregationalists! There are 52 chapters that could be used weekly to provide an overview of the biblical narrative. They are short enough to be read in five minutes or read aloud in ten. Brian D. Mclaren has a wonderfully rich writing style that stirs the imagination. In fact it is very hard not to get ahead of yourself because you want to read more. Each chapter includes Bible passages, questions for individual reflection and group discussion as well as worship resources.

I can see the book being the ideal basis for a Bible study. It is accessible enough for new Christians and challenging enough for more mature Christians. Above all, it is not dry like many of these resources can be. It is less of a catechism: ‘Christians must believe this’ than a slow unfolding of the wonder and glory of God. The opening chapter on creation is an ode to life itself and the God who loves life in all its diversity. The book is often celebratory without being sentimental. It also deals honestly with the hard stuff of our lives and the difficulties of faith. Mclaren puts the character of God at the centre of each passage. Because the book is so easy to use it means that even if you don’t have a Church or Bible Study leader you could simply meet up and go through the passages and questions. Mclaren encourages what he calls ‘Learning Circles’ in people’s homes. He believes that when learning and spiritual formation is taken seriously all sorts of growth takes place. He wants people to reflect on how the Christian life is lived out. The chapter include practical things to do during the week as well as points for prayer. There is also a Facebook community around the resource.

‘We Make The Road By Walking’ could help and form the basis of many Fresh Expressions. It could be the basis around which a group of spiritually interested people meet in a coffee shop or a starting point for Café Church. It could be the next thing for adults who attend Messy Church. Mclaren’s book would be an engaging way into a life of Christian discipleship.

If you do get hold of a copy and give it a go could you please let me know. I would be interested in how you’ve found it and whether you would recommend it too.