1. Promoting Spiritual Disciplines as a Way of Making Space for the Word of God
Focus on 1-2 spiritual disciplines that are “word-based” and allow for the participant to encounter the living Christ in the text. We will start with guided meditation. Another practice to try is Lectio Divina.
In the past in our context, spiritual disciplines have been a way of making space for God. But how might we use a spiritual discipline to make space for the WORD of God? I believe there is a difference! We will know we are on the right path if. . . we hear our people feeling like the Bible is not just a rule book but a story where they find themselves truly believing that they are a present character in the unfolding story of God.
The podcast “pray-as-you-go” provides some good ideas of how this might be structured. I’d also suggest using Thomas Keating’s book on Lectio.
2. Learning to Dwell in the World of Our Sacred Scriptures
We will promote a Bible Study that is not traditional in the sense that it will always push the participant to find herself in God’s story and then live out of the God story.
Bible studies that simply pass on more bible knowledge are not enough! We don’t need 200 bible students strutting around in our congregation. We need 200 people who regardless of age/stage of life, they find themselves living INTO and OUT of the world of our sacred scriptures.
We are going to need to work hard at helping our congregants believe that the Bible is God story vs. snippets of moral advice. Along with a Fall 2012 Bible Study, we started preaching the Narrative Lectionary from September 2012 – June 2013.
3. Learning to Preach the Gospel where Jesus “Moves amongst the Pews”
We will work harder at helping each preacher find the gospel message in the midst of their assigned text for preaching on any given Sunday. This means that we staff preachers need to meet once every 6 weeks to talk about our text and challenge and chide each other as we prepare for our given Sunday.
How can we practically help each other become better preachers? By speaking into one another’s ideas with kindness but also with a bit of healthy “pushiness”!
Each preacher comes to the meeting with their text, a working title, some ideas of where they are going with the sermon and a 1 or 2 liner that boils down their “gospel message focus” for their sermon.
4. Prompting our People to Share “Encountering God” Stories
During the season of Easter, for 6 Sundays, we will find people to share STL (Seen The Lord) stories. In John 20:18, Mary says she has “seen the Lord.” Now, how about us?
If Jesus is alive, in this season of resurrection it would be good to hear stories of how he is alive in the midst of our real, everyday lives!
People need to be encouraged to share however feels best for them. If they’re not comfortable sharing their story, perhaps they’ll write it out and let someone else read it on their behalf. Or perhaps someone could do a video interview and then edit it. . . this will help.