By Plenty contributor.
“What would be different in your life if you chose to act out of what you know God can do, even when you’re not sure what God will do?”
This was one of the questions that Pastor Mandy Smith from St Lucia Uniting Church posed to the group who gathered recently as part of the Moreton Rivers Presbytery Continuing Education for Ministers Day. The day, in collaboration with the Project Plenty Discipleship Working Group, focused on “How our life and faith equip us to build a culture of Discipleship”.
It began with Paul Wetzig, Discipleship Working Group – Project Officer, exploring the idea that whenever we’re passionate about something, be it knitting, fishing, golf or even beards, we find ourselves in three essential relationships. Firstly, we find ourselves wanting to know more about the thing we’re passionate about. Then we find ourselves seeking connections with others who are passionate about the same thing we’ve discovered. Finally, we like to find ways to share our passion with others who haven’t discovered it.
These same 3 key relationships lie at the heart of discipleship – our relationship with God, with those within the Church and finally with the wider world. Pursuing these three things is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus – one who lives the way of Jesus and seeks to help others do the same.
Paul then explored with the group that as we seek to live and grow in each of these three areas and invite others to do this with us, our lives together help nurture a culture of discipleship. As we grow in our discipleship relationships, those around us grow too.
Mandy then continued to challenge us to recognise that as we undertake this ministry as Jesus’ disciples, we are participating in the unveiling of God’s action in the world. This is the role that all of us are called to. This is the spark that resides in us, that wants to be working where God is in the world.
But this isn’t always easy, and there can be a myriad of things that may be actively working against this desire and capacity. These may include many external factors such as past experience and prevailing leadership and management philosophy but can also include our own fear to live into what we believe is true.
In this context, Mandy challenged us to consider what would be different in our lives if we chose to act out of what we know God can do, even when we’re not sure what God will do?
Accompanying this, she invited us to undertake the challenging but powerful task of writing a confession of where we have failed to act in accordance with what we know God has asked us to do. But as Mandy had reminded us, our failings don’t limit what God can do, and so as a conclusion, she asked us to write a second confession, a confession about what we know God can do despite, and maybe even through, our failings.
So, we are left with a challenge to lean into our relationship with God, each other, and the world with greater confidence to trust in what we know God has done and can do, in and through us, to shape the world in which we live.