Building on from last week’s blog, I want to continue to share what I believe God is saying to us as a community of faith. The direction in which we are heading is one of excitement, and I am thankful for those of you who are already responding to the prompts to be thinking and praying about how you can be part of it.
The idea of communities is not new to St. John, as we have had multiple gathering groups throughout the years. However, the time is now to respond to the invitation and challenge to take things further as we look to include UP, IN and OUT is each area of ministry at St. John.
In today’s blog I want to concentrate on our discipleship pathways. Our way of living UP at this time, I believe is functioning well, as we gather together for Virtual Church, Discipleship4All, and the introduction of Prayer4All just this week. Connecting with the Father, and centering ourselves on our identity in Christ, is what fuels us to be able to really live into our calling as disciples.
We are called to make disciples that can make disciples, that’s what Jesus, in his command to us through the great commission, tell us.
We have just seen some of how we are doing this, but where can we improve? Where are we being called to take this? The answer, I have no doubt, is into communities. Community brings the ability to share life with others, to help them grow in relationship with you, others and with God. As things stand, meeting together is tricky, but it is not impossible. Discipleship4All, Prayer4All, Knit & Crochet, Lay Pastors, as well as other groups have been meeting via zoom using a predictable pattern.
The beauty of gathering with like minded individuals around a shared goal or vision, is that it opens up the space to help invest in them, to develop relationship and ultimately to speak into their lives. The danger is that these communities can become ‘closed’ and thus cease to function as an effective ministry, because there is no OUTward focus.
My prayer is that throughout St. John we have communities which gather to worship, encourage one another in faith, and reach out, supported by those in that community (and at times the wider St. John family) on mission to those they feel called to serve.
In the past these groups of 10-25 people, or several families sharing a vision for mission, have been referred to as Missional Communities (or MC’s) but now we’ll just be calling them communities and I would love to see as many of you as possible be part of one, supported by the leaders of that community, and through that be better equipped to live as a disciple that can “go make disciples.”