By Shannon Youell and Cailey Morgan
Greetings from #CBWCbanff2019! We are thankful for this time to be gathered with our sisters and brothers from across CBWC to be inspired and equipped and encourage each other in our journey of leading congregations large and small, rural and urban towards faithfulness to the ways of Christ.
Keynote speaker Ken Shigematsu, author of Survival Guide for the Soul and God in My Everything, has been helping us think rightly about our personal journeys of devotion and rhythms of life. His vivid reminders of the love of our heavenly Father help consider how we will live out of the gratitude and peace that comes from knowing that we are God’s kids. We are invited to wear the yoke of the perfect love of the Father where Jesus will “rest us.” Ken invites us to daily put this yoke on for, when worn, the way we breathe and live and move in this world will be changed.
Bible study leader Lissa Wray Beal took us on a journey through the Waters of Power, the Waters of Sorrow and the Waters of Comfort through Psalms 144, 137 and 23. Psalm 144 reminds us that our God, the One God, is all powerful and at work all around us, inviting us to join him. The lament of Psalm 137 invites us to recognize that sorrow and pain are a part of this world and how to find our offering of praise in the midst of our anguish, anger and angst and to allow ourselves to be transparent and honest to selves and to one another as we minister and pastor. And finally, after acknowledging our God is One and All, who walks with us in the midst of the sorrow, we find that oft elusive comfort of the Shepherd’s Psalm which helps reorient us again in our faith, our hope and our joy as the people of peace who rest in our Creator’s great love for us.
At the Church Planting booth, we’ve been asking questions with that lean towards communal practices through the spiritual rhythms of life. What does it look like to grow together, as congregations, toward Christ? Where do Shared Practices fit into the missional discipleship of our congregations? Some interesting feedback has emerged as we’ve asked these questions:
What value do you find in being around a table with your people?
- Common goals
- Time to connect relationally
- Accountability, sharpening and spurring each other to good works
- A Place to belong
What do shared practices look like for your congregation?
- Practicing the spiritual disciplines
- Book group of moms meeting to encourage each other weekly
- One-to-one discipleship to read the passage together before Sunday morning
Many of us hope to discover ways to develop shared language in the rhythms of our church communities that take us deeper into connecting relationally, into missional discipleship, into table gatherings where hearts, joys and sorrows are shared, prayed for and where living a life of faithful presence together becomes the core value of the church gathered and scattered. Most of us who care for and love communities of people long to find ways to develop spiritual practices that grow both the congregation and the individuals into a deeper communion of loving God, others and selves with all our hearts, minds, souls and strengths.
Shared Practices form and shape us into a community on God’s mission together. Drop us an email to hear more about these and follow this blog forward as we continue the conversation started on this blog a few weeks ago. Click here for last week’s blog to download some of the Advent resources available at our table.
We are enjoying our time around the table with friends old and new. We are inspired as we listen to the stories of church planters and of pastors in long-standing churches who continue to faithfully bring the Good News of God’s already-and-not yet Kingdom to their neighbourhoods.
Please join us in continuing to pray for inspiration of the Spirit, renewal, and perseverance for CBWC’s pastors and their families as they head home today.