Monday, September 17, 2018

Tim's Toolbox - Introduction

Hello friends!

It's been a long time coming but I have finally written up a brief introduction to what I call my discipleship "Toolbox" - a collection of ten themes and practices for followers of Jesus. These are the things that have been the most helpful to me and that I have gone back to over and over again in conversation with others.

In the coming weeks I'll be featuring the Tools one at a time in blog posts here. As I go, the links will all be collected onto one page that I'm calling "Toolbox Central." You can always find that on the main page of this blog at the tab labeled "Toolbox" under the main banner. There is also a link there to the entire set of tools as a pdf in case you're eager to have a look right away. I do encourage you to subscribe to this blog so you'll get updates by email as they come out.

Here is a copy of the Introduction that I wrote for the Toolbox booklet, just to get things rolling.

As always, I'm eager to be in conversation and hear your questions, comments and suggestions from improving my material!


Imagine that I wrote a book for you, telling you all about the ideas and practices that have been the most meaningful to me in my life as a follower of Jesus. It would be my own personal toolkit so to speak. Now imagine that each chapter in the book had a brief summary at the end, recapping the most important points for you. Well, that book doesn’t exist, but the chapter summaries do and that’s what you’re holding now!

Truthfully, I’m sure that an actual book would be more helpful for you to be reading first! These summaries can be pretty dense as they try to say a lot in just a few words. But better a summary you can have now than a book that may – or may not! – get written later on! 

I am hugely indebted to Mike Breen for much of the good stuff you will find in here. Four of my Tools (Rhythm, Follow, Balance and Prayer) are taken directly from his own collection of Life Shapes. Two others – Diversity and Multiplication – are based on his shapes. So if you do want a book to read, please get Mike’s Building a Discipling Culture and you’ll have an excellent introduction to the Life Shapes and much more! It’s a tribute to Mike and his colleagues at that they encourage people like me to share and build on their work without concerns over copyrights and such.

Finally, although I love to teach the tools, the Toolbox is not a curriculum. A curriculum is about content one is trying to learn, rather than skills and practices one is being trained in. With a curriculum, once you have achieved understanding there’s a sense that the work is done. But in the Toolbox, once you have learned how to use the tools, that is when the work begins.

I pray that these tools will be as helpful for you as they have been for me! Blessings as you build a Kingdom life.


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