Growing and developing a life of Discipleship

AS we explore what it means to grow as disciples or followers of Jesus, it can be hard to know where to start. Do you start with learning about our faith – head knowledge, what do the key things of faith mean? Or is it about living out our faith, how we behave? Mostly we jump straight to what is faith about. There are two resources that look at behaving first and the choices that we make and the actions we take to deepen our relationship as disciples.

The first of these I came across was Holy Habits from the UK. It seeks to do “Holy things until they become instinctive.” It looks to Jesus and the early Church to develop 10 “Holy Habits”. It begins with Biblical teaching and as the early church did “devoting themselves to the Apostles teaching.” Next is Fellowship following on with Breaking bread together as a sacred ritual, which is seen differently to eating together and being a community that embraces and welcomes all people to the table. Next they look at gladness and generosity, reflecting the early church’s thankfulness for all that God has done. From this gratefulness we move to worship, praising God for who God is and all that God does. The call to serve and use what we have to the benefit of God’s work, is part of our worship and gratefulness, which also extends through generosity into sharing resources. For the Holy Habit team, prayer is key ” It re-orientates us in right relationships with God, with others and the world. It is an antidote to the selfishness of sin.” It’s final habit is about making more disciples, this is not using some magic formula but by authentically living and sharing with others the Jesus life as we live it and experience it. For more information visit their website.

The second is a resource called the Way of Love from the US. It has 7 practices that it encourages. It starts by talking about turning to Jesus, taking time to “pause, listen and choose to follow Jesus.” The second one is to Learn is to daily read the bible and reflect particularly on the life of Jesus. The third is to Pray, dwelling intentionally with God every day. The fourth is to worship – gather in community to thank praise and dwell with God. The fifth is to Bless, to share faith and unselfishly give and serve. The sixth is to Go – Cross boundaries, listen deeply and live like Jesus. The final one is to rest – receive the gift of God’s grace, peace and restoration. To learn more about this resource check out their website.

So, I am a really practical person. I love both these resources start with “what does the practice of daily Jesus living look like?” They both offer videos and ask great questions and reflections. You can see and hear within them the traditions that they have come from and they are a rich blessing to the wider Church. I loved the priority and importance of community in Holy Habits, that I feel is a little weaker in the Way of Love. I love that the Way of Love includes resting in the loving restorative grace of God, a practice that I regularly need to be reminded of!

These resources are a great start for any church, youth group or bible study group to reflect on. They could also be useful as a confirmation resource, if you wanted to reflect on the life commitment of practice. The videos are definitely targeting a Churchish audience in my opinion and have left me exploring how would I explore these themes in a Tiktok format? The themes are great, very practical which is so key to young people as they grow into an owned faith. Our congregational evening Service will be exploring them as a themes over coming months and we are looking at how would I translate them into their world.

They also raise the question for me, what would our Uniting Church top 7- 10 practices be? What would you name as your essential practices as a follower of Jesus?

For me being a disciples of Jesus is about the daily choices I make in how I live out those practices. As I have journeyed in my faith I have come to value more the time participating in the christian community, because we are able to achieve so much more together than we are alone, that sharing in a meal together and recognising that this moment is a sacred time of which God is present both in the intentional and the accidental. Knowing the Jesus story, being open to learn more and more about it every day has been my faith-long journey and am regularly surprised how Jesus teaches me new things from ancient words. Paul talks about praying without ceasing, being in constant conversation with God about all aspects of life and I would agree, but there is also power in praying for each and praying together. I am the biggest fan of James the book in the New Testament, if you cant see this faith in my life and actions it’s not faith. This hits for me in 3 ways.. how I treat people and deal with life in the everyday, how I live out a care and concern for the poor and those most vulnerable and how I act around injustice. I loved the priority of thankfulness and generosity, having myself tuned to the generosity of God which then inspires and encourages me to be generous to others. I like the Way of Love finish on learning to rest in the loving acceptance and grace of God, but I would finish with the Go.. listen deeply, follow the call of God to meet the stranger and share the gift of life in Jesus, inviting them into a Jesus life as well.

So what are your top practices to the Christian faith?? We would love to hear from you!

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Karen Mitchell-Lambert is ordained in the ministry of Deacon and is the team leader of PULSE.

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