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. AND, at the same time, we also want to create a life-giving environment so that faith feels bolstered. 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 called Rhythms. Growth is too hard to sustain on our own. We need others. It’s challenging, even demotivating, to make myself uncomfortable for the sake of what seems like modest gain. Yet there’s something about being uncomfortable within community that makes it actually life giving. What’s more, the challenge for us to to have an expression of faith so that our faith becomes a way of life.
Here are a few Rhythms that we think can make a difference:
At the breakneck pace that demands nearly all of our focus, we seek renewal to remind ourselves of not only who we are – when the noise of the world is intentionally muted – but to also whom we belong. We see the Creator’s invitation for a better way of life as a sacred trust. As such, we seek a growing awareness of God's presence that our hearts may be re-sensitized.
Key Question: To what extent do I live sustainably and aware of God’s presence in my life? How can we develop new patterns that lead to greater contentment, wholeness, and joy?
We seek to give as we have been given. We recognize the abundance of God’s gracious provision in our world, and acknowledge His blessing in our own lives. As such, we seek to counter greed with generosity, scarcity with abundance, and to make known God’s blessings by sharing our own.
Key Question: How do we practice sharing our time, talents, and treasures so that what we have doesn’t “own” us?
God is made tangible by the life and words of Christ, and made accessible through one another. Through His life and words, Jesus teaches how to love one another and seek a genuine connection with all people. We are committed to take the journey of faith in solidarity and, as Christ's Body, discover not only our greatest potential, but also our greatest contribution.
Key Question: How do we connect with others, find what’s common among us, despite our diversity, AND make each other better?
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. Whether sharing a meal or celebrating life change, we recognize the power of his presence when we gather. It’s in gathering that we’re able to share, reconcile, grow, laugh, and learn. We see hosting people as a means in which God manifests his love in and through us.
Key Question: How do we host and include people in ways that introduce them to the love and reality of Christ in our lives?
We see the brokenness, pain, and marginalization within the world, and how in need it truly is…but realize that we are not without resource. Compelled by the love and model of Jesus – in His serving despite his power – we allow ourselves to be moved by those things that move Him. We strive to be agents of healing by utilizing our influence, effort, and resources to try to mend where there is brokenness.
Key Question: How do we practice care and justice, and become agents of healing in our world?
We see the need for wisdom and choose to seek it from those who’ve traveled further in faith, family, marriage, and the marketplace. However, we see our own experiences and learning as a sacred trust, enabling us to “pay it forward” from within our influences with others. We see the value of invitation, challenge, potential and the chance to be known as part of a transformational process.
Key Question: Who are you pursuing for wisdom, accountability, and coaching and who are you inviting and investing in?
With all of life’s challenges, if not hardship, 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 a necessity. Like a muscle in need of exercise, we seek to live our lives in praise to the Creator and an offering.
Key Question: How do we express God’s worth amidst the mundane, fun, and challenging parts of life?