Establishing the Commitment
by Josh Porter
Begin with prayer
Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.
Debrief Last Week’s Practice
How was your time last week in listening prayer, asking for someone to bless? Did anyone come to mind? Did you reach out to them?
Read this overview
The foundation of Paul’s writing is gratitude. From destroying the church to building it after one incredible encounter with Jesus, Paul was humbled and shaped by the rescuing work of God, and gratefully released into the mission of Jesus. When he wrote to the church in Colossae, their faithfulness to one another embellished Paul’s gratitude, as he wrote, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people.” (Col 1v3-4)
The author of Hebrews demonstrates a similarly unique concern for the church caring for the church: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb 10v24-25)
The basic, fundamental foundation for loving one another as the family of God is the shared love of the church. Meaning, to be the church, we have to show up.
Do this practice together as a community
It’s time to entertain a candid, vulnerable conversation about expectations and commitment. Be kind and gentle with one another while embracing the opportunity to hold one another accountable in love.
A Van City Community has always been defined as belonging to Van City as actively, faithfully, consistently showing up and participating in the Sunday Gathering and to a Van City Community. If we show up for one and not the other, we are not participating in the life of the church. This broken dynamic creates a Sunday gathering populated by people whose lives are not open and accountable to other disciples of Jesus, and it creates fractured communities populated by people who have no grasp on how God is shaping and leading our church every Sunday through prayer, worship, prophecy, and communion.
Discuss the Following Questions Together as a Community
- How has attending church and community positively impacted your life?
- How can your Van City Community encourage and hold one another accountable to faithfully, consistently showing up, and participating in the Sunday Gathering and to your Van City Community?
- What will be the expectation for your community going forward? (e.g., Unless there is a work or family emergency, or we are out of town, we will faithfully and consistently be present at both community and the Sunday gathering.)
- How will you lovingly hold one another accountable to the expectation? (e.g., Calls or text messages to check in when someone isn’t there, reminding them of the expectation.)
Pray Together as a Community
Both Paul and the Colossian Christians were compelled by gratitude for what God had done. They were faithful to the church of Jesus because they genuinely believed that they had been saved by Jesus. That the truth had set them free into a new way of life, a new humanity in King Jesus, a new family. That family is the church.
Gratitude is something we neither force nor fake, but we can learn it. Have one person begin by asking God’s Spirit to fill your community with a renewed sense of gratitude, then spend a few minutes listening silently. After a few minutes of silent listening prayer, take turns praying out loud, each of you giving thanks for what God has done in your own life and in the life of the church.
Have someone close by asking the Spirit to teach you the ways of gratitude as a daily disposition, and to be changed as a result.