This second week of Lent in our This Is Us Lenten Worship Series we turn our attention to the value of Discipleship. You may remember that about two years ago we began our Healthy Plate Discipleship program based on Acts 2:42-47 (Common English Bible) in which we find a simple, very brief description of how the early church defined all the basics of Christian discipleship:
Worship. Learn. Pray. Give. Serve. Play.
These are the ways in which we form our Discipleship. As individuals — and as a church. This simple but all-encompassing concept of discipleship also describes what it means to be a church — today and ever since the earliest days of the Christian movement.
We boiled this concept down into what we call Healthy Plate Discipleship to help us remember not only all the important aspects of Christian discipleship, but also that there needs to be a balance between these aspects. Using the balanced diet as metaphor, it’s easier to hold ourselves accountable for not only what we’re doing to develop and maintain our discipleship, but how well we’re striking that healthy balance we all aspire to as disciples of Jesus.
So here we are, two years out from the launch of our Healthy Plate Discipleship program. How are we doing? How well are we keeping our plate filled and balanced as individuals and as a church? As we each take the time this season of Lent to look inward, let’s all ask ourselves: What am I (are we) doing well? What do I (we) need to do more of? Less of? What would it take to achieve a better balance?
It’s one thing, of course, to say that discipleship is one of the core values that make us who we are, as individuals and as a faith community, but what do we do on a regular basis that reflects this value? How do we make sure that we stay in balance as seasons change, years roll by, and life gets in the way of our best intentions as it sometimes tends to do?
You know, we live in a world of self-assessment. In recent times there has been a surge of ways to measure different aspects of our health practices to see how we’re really doing. In fact, we’ve become almost obsessive about it. We track our food. We count our steps. We monitor our water intake. We keep an eye on our blood pressure and heart rate. We measure the amount and quality of our sleep. Well, we don’t really measure all those things — there is, as they say, “an app for that.”
But how do you measure discipleship? It may surprise you to learn that this kind of obsessive measurement is not new, particularly when it comes to discipleship.
It is a well-documented fact that John Wesley “took his spiritual temperature” every hour — and recorded how he was doing in his journal. Can you imagine that? How in the world did he get anything else done?
So how do we keep an eye on our spiritual life? How can we pay as much attention to our discipleship as we do to our diet and exercise?
That question was really the impetus behind our development of Healthy Plate Discipleship. We wanted to develop tools, guidelines, and a way to monitor our spiritual health and balance without obsessively journaling (who has time for that?).
And here’s the reality: As fast as things come at us in today’s world, it’s easy to look at and read the Healthy Plate materials and messages (It’s on the back of our worship bulletin every single week!) and to recognize the importance of Healthy Plate Discipleship. What do we do, day in and day out, to monitor and maintain the health of our discipleship?
I look forward to exploring this idea — along with strategies for success — with you this Sunday in the Sanctuary.
Grace and Peace,
P.S. To correspond with this week’s focus on Discipleship, we’ve developed a new Healthy Plate Check-In tool, along with a Healthy Plate Breakfast six times a year to offer a refresher course for anyone who may have missed or forgotten what this program entails. I also want to remind you that if you desire a more one-on-one conversation about your discipleship practices, any of our pastors would be delighted to sit down with you to talk about how you can better balance your plate. Just contact Rev. Zhenya Gurina-Rodriguez, Associate Pastor of Grace Groups & Discipleship (firstname.lastname@example.org | 817-339-5067) to set up an appointment.
Acts 2:42-47 Common English Bible (CEB)
The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. All the believers were united and shared everything. They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.