We encourage each of our ministry teams, fellowship or service groups–from the Board of Elders to the property committee–to integrate spiritual formation into their “business” meetings. Groups are asked to set aside time at each meeting to connect with God and with one another and with God. Below are suggestions to prompt that time of sharing.
Here’s this month’s suggestion for a spiritual discussion theme:
A Time When Service Was Spiritual and Transformational
Progressive religious communities are often approached by liberal causes, in hopes that we have disciplined rank and file followers who are ready to picket, march and write letters at the drop of a hat. Truth be told we don’t have that sort of internal discipline. Particularly in the UCC, we are much too free to expect any of our folks to do some thing, even a very good thing, just because someone or even the church suggested they should!
This doesn’t mean our people don’t do a lot of good service and advocacy.
But it does mean that sometimes opportunities to serve don’t connect with our deepest spiritual gifts or callings. As one rabbi colleague of mine summed up her progressive Jewish congregation’s reaction to such invitations: “Oh, yeah, social justice, we did a lot of that in the 70’s, but it often wasn’t fun or sexy. And it didn’t even feel particularly meaningful religiously.”
For us, that’s really a challenge. Old First could be described as a congregation whose faith and practice are about “service Christianity.”
And Jesus did both teach and model… and call us to… the practice of a faith in which finding our lives was about losing our Selves in service.
Question for Sharing: Can you remember and share a time when you found yourself serving… and that service felt deeply spiritual, even life-changing (something you were sure that you were supposed to be doing)?
After every person has had the opportunity to share, ask a volunteer to close with prayer.
Remember our “guidelines” for spiritual companionship sharing:
- Groups are free to to structure this time however they choose. These discussion themes are provided as suggestions only.
- In the spirit of our UCC tradition, each individual is free to “pass” and not share if s/he so chooses.