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Another word from Simon

Back to school at Magheralin Parish!

When you’ve been around church life for a few years, it’s easy to get a bit cynical about the great ideas that continuously come around – especially from enthusiastic young rectors!
Folks we’re going to do an evangelism course! Get excited we’re re-launching home groups, but this time we’re calling them cell-groups! Etc, etc… And I can promise you, I will definitely come up with “new” ideas just like that, and I hope you will go with them as best you can.  But there’s nothing new about our discipleship focussed year, we’re just getting back to basics – are we spending time with Jesus, are we positioning ourselves to become more like Jesus, are we learning to do the things Jesus did?
You see the Greek word for “disciple” is mathetes. Directly translated, it means learner. Scripture really seems to be getting at something here, something about orienting our lives around becoming lifelong learners of Jesus. It is beautiful to think that, powered by God’s Spirit, over time, we can learn the ways of Jesus, doing the things that he did while becoming the same type of person. It doesn’t happen overnight, and neither is that the expectation of Scripture.
We learn in 3 primary ways, but unequivocally, we learn best when there is a dynamic interplay between all 3 at 1 time:
  1. Classroom/Lecture
  2. Apprenticeship
  3. Immersion
Classroom/Lecture is out in force on a Sunday! Come along and hear Carlton and myself preach our hearts out! Sometimes it’ll be great and full of the fire of the Lord, other times it will be a less memorable effort, but we hope you will seek to draw something out of the well of what we and others offer in the services!  The Bible says not to neglect meeting together, so if you’re an occasional visitor – try and amp it up to weekly attendance, if you’re only a Sunday morning person, what about giving our amazing 6:30pm Sunday nights a lash?
Apprenticeship is crucial but under utilised – we are so used to hearing the weekly lecture, but so unaccustomed to practicing what is preached! I would hope that medical students don’t simply go to medical school and learn theory about surgery, that they have residencies during which they apprentice themselves to someone to learn to do what they do. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want someone operating on me who has only head knowledge!  The Sunday night Spiritual Disciplines series is about giving tools to you for spiritual formation that can be used day and daily.  There’s literally no point in hearing a lecture about the “Discipline of Celebration” if you’re not going to go home and celebrate all that He has done, is doing and will do!  Put it into action, and if we are lecturing stuff that is of no practical use – call us on it!!
Immersion is crucial, crucial, crucial. As I watch my wee daughter learning to say a few words. She hasn’t been to a class or been formally apprenticed to anyone.  Over time it’s just happening, and the more she hangs around with people who talk, she’ll learn more and more.  This is why Wednesday night Discipleship classes are great, why Men’s Alpha is great, while coffee times before and after our services are great, why Home Groups, and Knit Wits, and Friendship and Bowling Club and Prayer times… and a million other things… are great! As long as they are intentionally about sharing life, faith and Jesus with one another, that is beautiful immersion in beautiful Christian community, and (at it’s best) it’s teaching the faith by immersion!!
As I close these slightly random thoughts, here’s an important statement: “No one Accidentally creates Disciples. No one accidentally becomes a mature Disciple. Discipleship is always an intentional Pursuit.”  How intentionally are you pursuing maturity in Christ?  If the first and great commandment is ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”, is it the driving passion of your life to love him and honour him completely?  
Why not really intentionally amp up your spiritual formation this year? Chat to Simon or Carlton about how you might do this!
Bless you,