"When your willingness to live in sacred community
as Christ's new creation
exceeds your natural fear of spiritual and relational transformation,
you will become who you are called to be."
Doctrine & Covenants 164:9b
With a theme like, "Discover and Live Your Future," the 2019 Congregational Leaders Retreat was poised to challenge and excite participants to engage in their faith and congregations in a transformative way, and leaders left the retreat eager to do just that! World Church ministers Larry McGuire and Michele McGrath shared the work they've been developing around the idea that authentic and loving communities can change our world. How do we live into such an idea?
Becoming Practicing Communities
We engage in spiritual practices as a way of awakening to what God is doing in us, among us, and ahead of us. Michele led the group in several spiritual practices, including sacred listening, dwelling in the word, and an image prayer. She shared the simple yet transformative practice of praying aloud on her commute to work in the mornings. We are reminded that the power of spiritual practices is in the repetition--daily commune with God. God is active in ways we haven't always been paying attention, and spiritual practices help us pay attention.
Praying the Mission Prayer is another spiritual practice that invites us into a new rhythm of being: Awaken, Risk and Bless. This rhythm is not linear, but instead acts as the heartbeat of mission. We wake up to God working in our community. We risk our egos to start daring conversations, relationships, and ways of being as a community. We bless others, and graciously receive blessing as we share God's love.
Larry shared two essential questions that guide us in transforming our congregations:
What is God doing in us, among us, and ahead of us?
How then shall we live as disciples and communities of Christ's love and peace?
As we explore these questions, we find that spiritual practices and action are two sides of the same coin. As we draw closer to God, we risk new actions and try new ways of being, both independently as as a community.
Where is God calling you and your community?
Interested in learning more about the "Discover and Live Your Future" pilot program? Check out their website missionalleaders.org, or like their group, Living and Leading Missionally, on facebook.