Session One

We Create

Jon Tyson—Praxis Spiritual Director and Pastor of Church of the City NYC

Andy Crouch—Partner for Theology & Culture at Praxis


Jon Tyson and Andy Crouch cast a vision for our creative and entrepreneurial calling.

The Praxis Course kicks off with the first half of a talk by Jon Tyson called "Joining God in the Renewal of All Things." Jon is a highly entrepreneurial pastor in NYC who also serves as the Praxis Spiritual Director. He introduces the core idea of the four-part gospel (creation, fall, redemption, and restoration) and shows us how our calling as creators fits deeply into the story of God's work in the world.

Andy Crouch, Partner for Theology & Culture at Praxis, has also profoundly shaped the thinking behind The Praxis Course. He follows Jon's talk with an excerpt of his own talk "How (Not) to Change the World." He explains four incomplete ways that Christians have responded to culture (condemn, critique, copy, consume) and offers an alternative response, which comes from our creative calling as God's image bearers. "The only way to change culture," he says, "is to create more of it."

Jon and Andy delivered their talks to groups of next-generation entrepreneurs participating in our Praxis Academy programs.


 

HOSTING OFFLINE?

 

OPEN IN PRAYER

 

Connect (30 min)

Start with group introductions. Getting to know individuals in this group is a key part of this experience. Allow each person a chance to share, and listen attentively to one another. Go around the room and share the following:

  • Name and where you're from

  • How you spend your time and what you do for work 

  • What was new to you or challenged you in the introductory video on Redemptive Entrepreneurship?

Tip: Give everyone a heads-up that you'll set the timer for 3 minutes per person. When the timer goes off, please wrap up, so others can share. 


WATCH (16 min)

REFLECT (3-5 min)

Spend a few minutes in silence, praying and reflecting on the videos. Ask participants to jot down questions that were raised, significant key points, where they felt encouraged or challenged by the Lord, etc.


DISCUSS (20 min)

1. Jon speaks about a tension he began feeling when he was young, which was captured in Dorothy Sayers's question: “How can any one remain interested in a religion that seems to have no concern with 9/10ths of a person’s life?” Have you felt this tension before? In what way? Did Jon's talk clarify anything for you? 

 

2. What does it mean to be made in God's image and to bear God's image? (if needed, review Genesis 1). How does that inform your life?

 

3. Jon defines "creation" as an action that fills the earth in ways that honor God and helps people to thrive. How might your work fill the earth with good things? How might it help people to thrive? What are some ways that your work might even keep people from thriving—and how could you avoid that?


Watch (7 min)

REFLECT (3-5 min)

Spend a few minutes in silence, praying and reflecting on the videos. Ask participants to jot down questions that were raised, significant key points, where they felt encouraged or challenged by the Lord, etc.


Discuss (20 Min)

4. Andy describes the four postures that fail to change the world: condemning, critiquing, copying, and consuming culture. In your own life, which of these postures have you tended towards?  What are some things that you condemn, critique, copy, or consume, yet nothing changes? (Areas to think about: media & entertainment habits, work & leadership culture, relationships, the church, etc.) 

5. In light of Jon's talk on creation, What does it mean to make culture? What does it mean for you personally to make culture through your work? 

6. What are some examples of “culture makers” today or in the past who have introduced a culture-shaping idea or product into the world, opening up new horizons of possibility that had not been available before?

 

7. Think about your answer to question 4. How would it change your approach if you were tasked to create culture on that specific element vs. condemn/critique/copy/consume it?


PROTOTYPE (3 min)

Think of something you would like to change about your immediate surroundings and come up with a product, service, or habit that offers an alternative imagination to combat the status quo.

END IN PRAYER


FINISHED THIS SESSION?


INCUBATE

After every session, we'll offer a few activities for you and your group to develop a deeper understanding of this particular aspect of Redemptive Entrepreneurship. You'll find these listed in the templated follow-up emails we've created for each session. 

PRAXIS Fellows Case studies:

Our community of practice contains a global portfolio of redemptive business & nonprofit ventures. Each week together as a group or separately at home, watch one or both of the following five-minute pitch videos. Discuss where you saw aspects of the week’s topic lived out in and/or through the venture.

  • Non-Profit Venture: New Story - New Story builds safe homes and transforms slums into thriving communities. They are also developing an open sourced “playbook” and toolkit of best practices for the ecosystem of entities who build communities for the poor. 

  • Business Venture: Livful -Livful is a biotech company on a mission to save 200,000 lives per year from mosquito and bacterial borne diseases.

Activity: 

  • Bible App reading plan: Called to Create, which features brief Scripture readings and stories from four prominent entrepreneur/creators (5 day plan).

Suggested Reading: 

  • Andy Crouch, Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, Part I: Culture


Do you have a story to share?