According to our mission statement, the way we grow in God’s love and make a difference in our community and our world is by following Jesus. This discipleship is in turn built upon certain practices by which we come to know Jesus and his teaching, and incorporate them into our lives. These practices are some of the pirmary ways we live out our values and beliefs.
There are many ways to pray, but essentially we’re looking for some activity that intentionally puts us into the presence of God, some “communion” with God as we understand God. Meditation, set prayers, using a devotional guide, sitting or walking in silence, group prayer. If Christianity is primarily a relationship with God, then we need time with God daily to develop the relationship. Click here to learn more.
This does NOT mean our members are not allowed to go on vacation or go camping! It DOES mean that since we believe that Christianity is a communal religion, gathering for worship is an essential practice for faithful discipleship. Normally, it means gathering on Sunday at church. It could also mean gathering for worship as a family while on vacation or in the campground, it might mean visiting another congregation while on vacation, it might mean lobbying our own church for a second worship time (mid-week or evening or early morning) if shift work, etc. prevent regular Sunday morning attendance. Sunday morning worship is not an obligation that must be fulfilled, on pain of guilt. Rather it is a practice, a discipline, that enables us to become more fully who we are. And it’s a stand against the powers in our culture that say “worship isn’t important.” Click here to learn more.
STUDY THE BIBLE
In the Bible are the stories that form our identity as Christians, and through the Bible the Spirit of God speaks to the Church. In the Bible are the words of Jesus, that enable us to know Jesus well enough to know how to follow! Given that we in the United Church interpret the Bible in a somewhat different way than many churches, it is an important part of our discipleship to become “Biblically literate.” And regular encounter with God through the Bible has been an important source of spiritual growth since before the time of Jesus. Click here to learn more.
Hospitality is one of our core values, and therefore must be practised as one of our core discipleship practices. This inovlves “making rooom” for people, welcoming them. It’s not just a matter of being a welcoming church – accepting those of a variety of races, sexual orientations, theological perspectives, etc., when they happen to show up at church – it’s a matter of welcoming and caring for people in all aspects of our lives. This involves sharing meals with one another, getting to know our neighbours, making friends with other hockey or school or choir parents, etc… Click here to learn more.
We believe we are called to “make a difference,” which means doing ministry in a variety of ways:
1. We are called to make disciples. We understand this to mean that we are called to bring people into relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and that we are called to follow Jesus, to learn from him, to learn to be like him. In effect, this calls us both to BE disciples and to MAKE disciples.
2. We are called to participate in God’s ministry in the world, which means, essentially, to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.” To take the title from a recent United Church report, we are called to participate in the “mending of the world.” “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth…”
3. Jesus said, “As you go, proclaim teh good news: the Kingdom of Heaven has come near. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.” (Matthew 10:7 – 8 ) That call to wholeness is expressed through the loving heart of ordinary people, focusing on healing, forgiving, empowering and reconciling. Healing touch and healing prayer are contemporary forms of the healing ministry demonstrated by Jesus. Click here to learn more.
We believe that generosity (particularly in North America, which is the wealthiest society in the history of the earth) is an essential component of the gospel, and an essential practice for our lives. This involves generosity with time, talent, and treasure, generosity towards others and towards ourselves. Click here to learn more.
We are commanded in the Ten Commandments to remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy, and to rest. We therefore set aside a day (or some time) each week for rest and renewal – a time to “practice heaven”. Click here to learn more.
In all aspects of life, we look for “whatever is true, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). We look to appreciate what is, rather than coveting what is not.