by Cameron Silsbee
Begin with prayer (5 minutes)
Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.
Debrief the teaching in triads (5 minutes)
If you are in a Community of seven or more, divide into small groups of 3–4 people each (ideally same gender).
Spend a few minutes catching up on life…
Then talk through the following debrief questions:
- While listening to the teaching, what stuck out to you about your Roles, Gifts, Desires, Vision, and Mission?
- Which of those categories are you struggling with? Which do you feel you are doing well in?
Read this overview
As we follow Jesus throughout our lives it can be difficult to translate the lifestyle of Jesus to our lives if we overlook our particular context. How do you translate Jesus’ way of life to the lifestyle of a young mom, or a grandparent, or a small business owner, or a college student? Or to your particular friend group? How does the way of Jesus adapt to the outgoing or to the reserved? How do the things you are most passionate about play into this?
Taking account of our context is a critical step for constructing a rule of life that makes sense for each of our particular seasons of life and stage of apprenticeship to Jesus. Since none of us can copy the context of Jesus’ life exactly, we must do the work to translate his lifestyle to our particular context. In order to do this we must take time to carefully reflect on our lives.
Do this Practice as a Community right now (15–20 minutes)
Taking account of your current context and life rhythms is the first step in building your rule of life. A helpful way to think through your current context is through these 5 categories:
Roles, Gifts, Desires, Vision, and Mission.
Have the Notes app on your phone open or pen and paper available. As a group, read through a brief description of these 5 categories with pauses after each to think and reflect (each has a rhetorical question to help you do so).
As you read through each category, take note of whether you approach them with intentionality, or if you take them for granted. Write down a reason or two as to why you think this is the case.
Roles: All of your primary relationships and the roles you play in them, i.e. mother, brother, friend, wife, son, employee, etc. Everyone has multiple roles. Who do you repeatedly spend time with (in person or over the phone, etc.)?
Gifts: Your talents, wiring, and giftings. Perhaps you excel in business, or networking with people, or art, or building things (talents). Perhaps you come across to people as kind, or passionate, or well-organized (wiring). Perhaps something that comes easily to you is generosity, or a willingness to lead, or evangelism (giftings). How do those who know you best notice and complement you?
Desires: The deep longings of your heart and your core values. Think through the things you would love to do in and with your life and the kind of person you would like to be (longings). Also, think about what matters most to you today, and what informs the way you carry out those relationships, responsibilities, and decisions (core values). For what areas of your life do you feel the most passion?
Vision: This is how your Gifts and Desires shape the narrative arc of your life and how you respond to the needs of the world around you. These are things people will remember you for after you die. Has God spoken to you about your life’s vision?
Mission: Things God is inviting you to fulfill in order to move forward in your Vision. The relationships and responsibilities to which God is asking you to devote more or less time. Has God recently spoken to you about spending too much or not enough time with certain people or doing certain things?
Talk through the following discussion questions:
- Which categories seemed most clearly defined to you? Which seemed the least defined?
- Can you connect things God has spoken to you over the last year with ideas found in these five categories? What are they?
Discuss the coming week’s Practice (5 minutes)
The Practice for this week is to continue to reflect on your particular season of life and stage of apprenticeship, and using the 5 categories as a guide, list out what that particular context is.
The context of our lives will shape the structure of our rule of life.
This week take at least 30 minutes to do the following:
With the Notes app on your phone or a pen and paper, write down each of the 5 categories (Roles, Gifts, Desires, Vision, and Mission). Before you start making a list under each category, invite God’s Spirit to lead you in this process (it may be helpful to spend a moment in listening prayer before you begin each category). Then write out a list for each of the 5 categories. Answer the corresponding questions for each category as well.
Roles: All of your primary relationships and the roles you play in them. What emotions did you feel as you made this list (gratitude, sadness, excitement, guilt, anxiety, etc.)?
Gifts: Your talents, wiring, and giftings. What are some ways you can pursue a deeper understanding and development of your Gifts?
Desires: The deep longings of your heart and your core values. How much of your life lines up with your Desires?
Vision: This is how your Gifts and Desires shape the narrative arc of your life and how you respond to the needs of the world around you. When you imagine your life in partnership with God, what do you desire more than anything else?
Mission: Things God is inviting you to fulfill in order to move forward in your Vision. What sorts of things has God been asking you to do (or not do) in your current season of life?
Work through these discussion questions before you call it a night (5–10 minutes)
- When was the last time you reflected on the whole of your particular context in an intentional way?
- Which category do you expect to become more clear through this week’s Practice?
Close in prayer (5 minutes)