While I'm at it (and since I'm suffering from jet lag), let me go on and say that I'm also impressed with Nazarene Publishing House and The House Studio.
1. NPH is kind of a traditional denominational publishing house. They tend to publish a lot of the kind of stuff you might expect from a denominational publishing house, mostly Bible studies, program materials, and tip books for how to do the same stuff a little better. I was impressed with their launch a few years back of Barefoot Ministries, a pretty cool in-house yet vogue youth ministries resource group.
However, NPH recently did something which strikes me as completely radical. They launched a new publishing house (in a house across the street) called The House Studio. The idea is simple yet shocking. People want some non-institutional resources. These can't be produced in a big institution (and even if they could be, the people who want them wouldn't buy them).
So NPH put up some cold hard cash and set up three quality young leaders in The House Studio and turned them loose. No oversight. No control. No rules. They just said, "The world needs you, and the world needs you to be free. Go forth and make good stuff."
This is incredibly unselfish, uninstitutional, and very-very-very Kingdom-like. I love it. This is a beautiful example of dying to live, of actually living out the truth that it's not all about us and our group and our success. In a time when NPH is working hard to keep their own house afloat, I can hardly believe that they put up the seed cash to start something new with no direct benefit to themselves. Way to go NPH. You just earned some trust in my book.
2. The House Studio's first offering is a beautiful little book for small groups called The Kingdom Experiment. Between yesterday and this morning, I have already read it cover to cover. It's a group study-experiment on the beatitudes. The basic idea is that each beatitude gets a 1 page explanation. Then, the group talks about two well-formed questions. Next, each person in the group chooses one of eight experiments to try sometime during the week to actually live out that beatitude. When the group meets the next week, they talk about their experiments and repeat the cycle.
I bought a copy, and I hope that some of the small groups at our church will give it a try. Maybe it will even make it into a church wide sermon series and book study next year.
I'm pretty impressed with The House Studio's staff and their plans for publishing the conversations about renovation in the Church. I look forward to seeing where God leads them.