Given Jesus’ promises to be present in and among his people, we have committed ourselves to the following seven disciplines:
1. THE LORD’S TABLE
. . centers our lives socially around Christ’s presence.
God’s nature is to be among us, sharing his life as both host and guest. As host of the Last Supper, our Lord humbly tended to his friends’ needs and even showed his own vulnerability (Jn 13:5, 21). As the guest of “sinners,” Jesus received their hospitality and revealed the Kingdom (Lk 19:1-9). So as Christ’s sent people, we seek to gather regularly with others, as the host (Acts 2:42) and guest (Lk 10:5-9), being fully present to them and to God in our midst.
“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” Lk 24:30
. . makes real the new creation in Christ.
Conflict is everywhere. Nations war, neighbors annoy, church friends offend. Rather than blow steam or avoid the problem, we accept that Christ has given us “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18). Taking up the awkward cross of honest confrontation, we address sin humbly and discreetly—trying to win a person, not an argument (Mt 7:5, 18:15). Any dispute can become sacred ground for God’s restoration of all things.
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen, you have won them over…. Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Mt 18:15, 20
3. PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL
. . invites listeners into the world of Jesus’ Lordship.
Proclamation requires us to be present to the other person and to the ongoing work of God’s Spirit in their lives. Asking, “Will Jesus be welcome here?” we observe what God is doing and then announce good news from a place of humility. This is less a persuasion or explanation than a description of the new realities made possible in Jesus. Through our faithful presence, the Holy Spirit breaks in.
“And tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you….’ Whoever listens to you listens to me.” Lk 10:9, 16
4. MUTUAL SUBMISSION
. . recognizes Jesus’ authority in the gifts of the Spirit.
We seek neither to control Jesus’ authority nor to act like we have none, but rather to see God at work in our gifts and to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21). Mutual submission creates the kind of community where Jesus is the Head and all his body members work together “for the common good” (1 Cor 12:7).
“He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity . . . attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Eph 4:11-13
5. BEING WITH THE LEAST OF THESE
. . reveals the kinship of Jesus’ suffering.
Jesus invites us to see the needy among us not as projects but as everyday brothers and sisters. Whether visiting the imprisoned, welcoming the stranger, comforting the sick, or providing for the poor, we come into Christ’s presence. We weep, rejoice, or just listen. Without the agenda to solve a problem, we offer who we are and receive who they are.
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Mt 25:40
6. BEING WITH CHILDREN
. . teaches us the youthfulness of God.
We welcome children in the mystery of Christ’s presence in and around them (Mt 18:5). Engaging their perspective, we relearn the wonder and play of life with God. Whatever our personality or gift, we can bless them and be blessed (Mk 10:16). The more we become like children of the kingdom, the more we can direct little ones to the King of Glory in our midst.
“Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven…. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Mt 18:3, 5
7. KINGDOM PRAYER
. . opens space to see and join what God is already doing.
Following Jesus’ example of a praying lifestyle (Mk 1:35) and his teaching on prayer (Mt 6), this foundational discipline gathers us together into God’s presence and reign. Resisting the urge to seize control and make the kingdom come on our own terms, we orient our lives instead around God’s wise and merciful purposes.
“Our Father in heaven, holy is your name; may your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Mt 6:9-10