Thursday, August 21, 2008

Principles and Practices for Discipleship

Fully formed disciples of Jesus are committed to…

an active and growing relationship with the risen Christ.

Our relationship with Christ is the means by which we grow in our understanding of God’s freely-given, unmerited grace. The spiritual discipline of practicing the presence of Christ helps nurture this relationship through the developing a continual openness and awareness of Christ’s presence in our life

openness to God’s healing, transforming and life-giving grace.

God’s grace comes to us to bring the healing of our hurts and brokenness even before we know God. Practicing a radical openness to that grace brings the healing that enables us to live the new life promised in Christ. The spiritual practice of inner healing prayer opens us to the stream of God’s healing grace.

living incarnationally according to the example of Christ.

The Incarnation is the foundation of how God reveals God’s self in Jesus. Incarnation is the principle by which we embody God’s love to others. The spiritual discipline of examen opens us to the deeper awareness of how Christ is at work in our life. It helps us reflect on and grow beyond the practices that are obstacles to a fuller life with Christ.

the disciplined practice of spiritual formation.

By engaging in spiritual practices (prayer, study, worship, fasting, service, etc.) as a means of grace, the Holy Spirit heightens our sensitivity to experiencing God’s grace. The spiritual practice of contemplation wakes us up to the presence of Christ and the movement of the Holy Spirit that is continually at work in our life.

living a shared commitment to a life of discipleship within the Body of Christ.

The life of the Christian is not simply to be a disciple but to be committed to making disciples within the context of relationship and mutual journey. More than simply hanging out with a group of people, the spiritual discipline of community is the expression and reflection of our experience of Christ’s self giving presence invested in the common journey with other Christians.

share the story of God’s grace as we experience it in our relationship with Christ.

As we experience more deeply the power of God’s gift of new life in Christ, the Holy Spirit empowers us to share that grace through our life. The spiritual discipline that supports this sharing is witness. This means modeling and telling others of the difference that our relationship with Christ has made in our life.

living Christ’s incarnational love in the world.

Our commitment to Christ compels us to follow Christ’s example of incarnational and unconditional love lived with all persons, especially the poor, the broken and the marginalized. The spiritual practice of stewardship is the voluntary and generous offering of God’s gifts given to us for the benefit of others. Stewardship is the holistic sharing of our prayers, presence gifts and service for the sake of the Kingdom.

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