What if practice is the new deep?
What if practice is the new deep?
Mission Hills Church Austin is a community of faith orchestrating our lives around “Rhythms,” believing that a shared practice is both formative in us and can impact communities around us. While these Rhythms are not theologically exhaustive, we want to encourage a kind of spiritual practice, simply because growth/intimacy/maturity/life change/healing requires intentionality. These Rhythms are a way of unifying a church so that we can be the church whether we’re gathered or scattered throughout the week.
Most people desire to grow their faith but few have a game plan. Our response is to unify a faith community around a set of shared practices. These 'Rhythms' help us experience the heart of God, leverage our faith for the benefit of others, as well as help instill a Living Faith into those closest.
Here are a few Rhythms that we think can make a difference:
We see the need for wisdom and choose to seek it from those who’ve traveled further in faith, family, marriage, and career. However, we see our own experiences and learning as a sacred trust. A Rhythm of Apprenticing means growing in faith and investing in another. We see the value of invitation, challenge, potential and the chance to be known as part of a transformational process.
Key Question: Who do you pursue wisdom, accountability, and coaching from and who are you investing in?
The practice of Renewal involves learning to “turn” or yield to God’s guidance. At times, it can mean turning away (from sin, attitudes, or apathy). Other times, it means turning toward God, a need, or opportunity. Renewing our hearts means a growing awareness – and sensitivity to respond – to the presence of God.
Key Question: To what extent do I live sustainably and aware of God’s presence in my life?
Hospitality – Central to the expression of Christ is our compulsion to welcome others. Hospitality is a standing invitation, if not a reminder, to make faith and community accessible. The Rhythm of Hospitality is about BOTH making room AND learning to receive from another. In either case, we seek to recognize who God’s prepared in advance for us.
Key Question: How can we both make room and learn to receive from others in hopes of realizing whom God's placed in our lives?
God is made tangible by the life and words of Christ, and made accessible through one another. Believing we’re all created in the Image of God, equally and uniquely, the Rhythm of Community means doing the hard work of finding what we have in common. True community goes beyond age, culture, education, or economics and seeks to move past differences or even offenses.
Key Question: How do we connect with others, find what’s common among us, despite our diversity, AND make each other better?
The Rhythm of Generosity recognizes God as the Source of our lives. We recognize the abundance of God’s gracious provision. As such, we seek to give cheerfully, systematically, and opportunistically of our resources. The reason we give is not necessarily to save anyone. Rather, generosity saves us from thinking we somehow deserve what God has provided.
Key Question: How do we steward our time, talents, and treasures so that what we have doesn’t “own” us?
We see the brokenness, pain, and marginalization within the world, but realize that we are not without resource. The practice of Compassion seeks to rely on the Holy Spirit, respond with care, and recognize how another’s needs are simply different than their own. Growing and sustaining a compassionate lifestyle develop best through God’s Spirit and the support of a community of faith.
Key Question: How do we practice care and justice, and become agents of healing in our world?
With all of life’s challenges, we recognize that gratitude is a discipline and consider thanksgiving a valuable practice. In times of plenty or times of need, in sickness and in health, gratitude is like a muscle in need of exercise. The Rhythm of Gratitude seeks to know the character and nature of God, offer praise, and declare God’s faithfulness.
Key Question: How do we express God’s worth amidst the mundane, fun, and challenging parts of life?