How’s Your Healthy Plate?

By March 11, 2019

Read this story and more in CONNECT Magazine | 2019 Lent Edition

CONNECT Magazine is your source for the stories of our FUMCFW Faith Community — and how each fits in with our Healthy Plate Discipleship. Pick up your copy in the Main Office and Welcome Center or read it online.
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In November of 2016 we rolled out a new model for helping First Church members develop and maintain a rhythm of life built on the foundations of worshipping, learning, serving, giving, praying, and playing.

In some ways, this premise is nothing new — we all know on some level that these things are all part of the basis for a healthy Christian life and experience. But in other ways, Healthy Plate Discipleship offers us a revolutionary new way to think about each of these aspects of Christian discipleship — and not only how we can learn to balance our life to better follow the example of Jesus, but also what this balance will do for us as individuals, families and a faith community.

So now we’ve been living with the idea of Healthy Plate Discipleship for the past couple of years. We may or may not have paid close attention to the balance on our plate. Perhaps Healthy Plate Discipleship has given you a framework that has already changed your life in powerful ways and brought you peace and joy. Or you may have paid attention to your Healthy Plate for a while, but then life got in the way, you got busy, and pretty much left your plate in your pantry of good intentions. Or maybe you never really understood all this at all and just sort of let it slide on by. No worries!   

“Each item on the plate has a depth and breadth of meaning that can keep those words from being just the same old, same old church talk. Each word knows its place in our lives. The trick, it appears, is for us to know it!”

— Charme Robarts, Community Advocate

Because Healthy Plate Discipleship is all about helping us grow in being more faithful disciples, or followers, of Jesus, it’s never too late to take another look at those six essential categories, reflect on your choices and activities in each of those areas, and consider what you can do to achieve a better balance. And regardless of where you are in this journey, every day is a new opportunity to experience the same sense of awe that overcame the disciples in Acts 2:42-47 as they explored — and discovered — how best to follow the example of Jesus.

Depending on where you are in your faith journey — and what else is going on in your life right now, you may find that some of these practices will comfort you, some will challenge you, and all will completely nourish you. Your plate may be too full or too empty, but the most important thing to consider is that you have a well-balanced experience when it comes to your life of faith. Here’s a quick recap of what each item on your Healthy Plate can do for you:

  • Worship is an expression of our love and need of God. When the community gathers for worship, God teaches us, draws us closer to one another, transforms our lives, and equips us for the work and mission of the coming week.
  • Learning is the intentional pursuit of knowledge and a growing understanding of who God is. Study exposes us to God’s complexity, opens us to new ideas, and can connect us to others with similar ideas and questions.
  • Service is giving our time and gifts back to God and the church by putting our faith into action. In service, we turn our hearts toward God’s people and can be transformed by relationships with our church and community.
  • Play is good for our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Having fun and enjoying the company of other people can inspire our imaginations. Play opens us up to friendships that help us bear burdens and celebrate life’s joy.
  • Giving is the commitment to put God first in all things. The habit of sacrificial giving of our money and resources allows us to trust God in deeper ways and to share our love with others.
  • Prayer and meditation are especially critical in a world where we are all addicted to being busy. Regular prayer and personal disciplines can renew our energy and open us up to the places God is leading us.

As members of FUMCFW, we’ve made a commitment to pursue a devoted life of discipleship. And likewise, FUMCFW has made a commitment to provide you with opportunities for growth toward a Christ-centered life.

Do The Healthy Plate Discipleship Check-In!

Now that we’ve had some time to consider and explore our own Healthy Plate commitments, we invite you to hit the pause button in your busy life and take a few minutes to complete a Healthy Plate Discipleship survey. You do not need to share your results with anyone — this is simply a tool for you to use whenever you’d like to check your balance and see what’s going on to help you fill in any gaps you may discover. Take this checkup at least once a year to keep your plate healthy and your heart turned toward God.

Healthy Plate Discipleship Check-In

  • On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the lowest) evaluate these Christian practices in your life today.

  • How regularly do you participate in weekly corporate worship?
  • How regularly do you serve within the church or larger community?
  • How does your giving reflect your trust in God?
  • How regularly do you seek to grow your knowledge and understanding of God?
  • How often do you participate in life-giving social activities and events?
  • How is your prayer relationship with God?
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