Week Two|Friday

Dream of Your Ideal Church Start

What if we were not discerning a direction for an existing church, but discerning the shape of a brand new church? What is their was not past record of “success” or “failures?” What if all options were on the table and we were fully open to God’s dream for Christ’s church in our community? What might that church look like?

As we move forward in this process of discernment we are going to begin working on an imaginative Church Start Plan. Each week you will have the opportunity to ask some of the questions that new church starters ask before they launch a new work and to go back and revise your answers from the previous weeks.

So, take five or ten minutes and imagine what your ideal church start would like if you were to start it tomorrow. You may want to sit with your eyes closed, you may go for a walk outside, you may have a prayerful and creative conversation with a friend or family member. In either case, try to “see” this ideal church in your mind and heart.

Journal about your new church start with as much detail as possible.

This week we are focusing on Why.
In developing your church start plan, you should be explicit in laying out the 1) Mission 2) Vision and 3) Values of your new community. You may not have these perfectly crafted at this point, but begin to explain why do you want to start a church and what is the purpose for this church. Think about how your gifts and style of ministry fit with this vision.

Dedicate time to capturing all your initial ideas, but don’t be afraid to go back and add and revise your thoughts over the next several days and weeks.

Week Two|Thursday

A Conversation with Peter

Monday you read Matthew 9:35-38 and yesterday you read Acts 2:38-47. In Matthew Jesus is healing and tells his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” In Acts Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, preaches and the message is met with an overwhelming response. The church community formed is intensely compassionate and deeply committed to mutual support. Can you imagine how Peter felt watching this new and remarkable work unfold before him?

Today we will practice a prayer called “colloquy.” Colloquy is an imaginative conversation with a person like a biblical figure. In colloquy you address this person directly and personally like you are talking to a close friend.

As you reflect on Peter being taught by Jesus then leading the early church, have a conversation with Peter. What would you like to know from him? About his experience? About his feelings?

Start by asking Peter a questions, then patently wait for a reply. Record your conversation in your journal like a play script.

Me:

Peter:

Me:

Peter:

Me:

Peter:

Week Two|Wednesday

 

Read Acts 2:38-47

Spend some time in silent prayer and meditation over this passage. (Guide to Sacred Scripture Reading is here.)

Write down your initial thoughts about this passage.

 

Pray about the following questions one at a time:
1. Incorporating your ideas about yesterday’s video, why do we do what we do as the church?
2. Should the “why” be motivated by genuine compassion? What does that look like?
3. How does could a renewed vision for this church fit into the “why?”

 

 

 

Journal about these questions and share with your family member if you are meeting as a group.

Rest in prayerful gratitude.

As you go, allow these questions to resurface over the next day. As fresh ideas come to mind record them in your journal.

 

Week Two|Tuesday

In this talk Simon Sinek explains why it is important to know why we do what we do before we decide what or how we will do it. Over the next 24 hours prayerfully pay attention to what you are busy with and ask God to help you to clarify the why.

As insights come to you record them in your journal.

Week Two|Monday

Watch this video of Fr.James Martin, S.J. describing prayerful scripture reading.

Read Matthew 9:35-38

The context of the text is the very heart of Jesus’ public ministry: seeing brokenness, making it whole, and commissioning the disciples to do the same.

Read this passage prayerfully and meditate on the following questions:

  • What does the text say?
  • What does the text say to me?
  • What do I want to say to God about the text?
  • What difference will this text make in my life?

Journal about your immediate reactions to the text, as well as how this text relates to the current chapter of your faith journey.

Week One|Friday

We continue down this path. One foot in front of the other.

As we close out these weekdays, spend several minutes reflecting on each these questions one at a time. If you are meeting with your household, share your thoughts with one another.

This week we have reflected on discernment. How would you define discernment?

 

 

What have Paul and the monks from North Africa taught you about discernment?

 

 
What does Paul’s call to Macedonia in Acts 16 teach us about new chapters in the Kingdom of God?

 

 
How do these reflections this week relate to the current chapter of your faith journey?

 

 
How does the story of Paul’s call to Macedonia speak to you about innovation?

 

 

How did it speak to you about a church’s calling?

 

 

Take plenty of time to journal about these questions and any thoughts that are bubbling up from this weeks readings and prayers. Tomorrow rest. Sunday worship. Be at peace.

Week One|Thursday

After Paul was prevented from entering Bithynia, we are told in Acts 16:9 that, “During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’” After this Paul decided he should go and preach in Macedonia instead of Bithynia. Consider each of these questions for several minutes before moving on to the next. Discuss your feelings with your family members.

How do you think Paul felt after awakening with a fresh vision?

 

 

How has God given you new visions and direction when your old plans did not work out?

 

 

Where are places you sense God is already at work giving our church a fresh vision?

 

 

Spend a few minutes capturing your thoughts and feelings in your journal.

Week One|Wednesday

In Acts 16:7-8 we read, “When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.”

Take time to pray about each of these questions individually. If you are with your household, discuss each question after a period of silent prayer.

How do you believe the Spirit of Jesus kept Paul and his companions from entering Bithyhia?

 

 

How do you think Paul felt when he was not able to finish his well-intended plans?

 

 

Has the Spirit of Jesus ever kept you from doing something you believed at the time was right? How?

 

 

Has the Spirit of Jesus ever kept our church from doing what we believed at the time as right? How?

 

 

Take a few minute to journal about what you are hearing. Then rest for a moment in gratitude to God.