Last week I wrote that as well as good principles we need to find practices that can help us grow in strength as disciples and missionaries called to follow Jesus and build community. We accept this idea in most areas of life. We wouldn’t ask an athlete to complete a marathon without many miles of training. We wouldn’t expect a musician to perform a great work without hours of practice. This is also true of our life together – if we really want to become a church of disciples who see God use us to make new disciples, that will be greatly helped by developing monthly, weekly, maybe even daily practices.
The rhythm of GRACE: Generously blessing others, Receiving and releasing God’s presence, Asking questions and telling stories, Celebrating often and Eating together provides a simple way to talk about and take steps forward together to build community. Remember that this is a rhythm of grace. Life with God is a gift from Him, community is a gift, and any practice that enables us to get a little closer to him or a bit more confident sharing our faith is a gift. It all relies on His work and generosity to us.
That is not to say there is no room for our work. Dallas Willard famously said “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.” The more we practice our faith, the more we do things out of love for the God who loves us and takes steps forward, the better we will find we are able to hear God, to serve him, to live with hope and joy, and to see community growing amongst us.
Next week we will start to look at the first of these practices – Generous Blessing. This week consider this question – what step is God putting in front of you that might grow your life as a disciple?
This talk of effort leads well to thinking about our 4th Sundays. How can you use yours to build community? While 9am Communion meets every week, Central Gatherings only take place on the first 3 Sundays a month. This is to give those of us who connect to this gathering a bit of time with which to build community. How are you going to use it? It’s time to be taking some new steps, trying things out, putting in a bit of effort again. So how might you use your next 4th Sunday (27th January) to help build community?
There are a few things you could already join in with:
- The Kairos Fairfax team are running their monthly Lazy Sunday drop in and would love you to be involved.
- 9am Communion is a warm, friendly and prayerful place to meet others and worship. On the fourth Sundays we include prayer for healing in the gathering. You could come and receive prayer for yourself or on behalf of someone else.
- Eat Pray Love Community are eating together. You would be very welcome to join them.
Alternatively you could have a go at something yourself. One simple step would be to get a couple of other households together for some food and conversation.
How are you going to use your 4th Sunday? I’d love to hear your plans.