WHAT?

When faced with a person’s deep need- spoken or unspoken- Jesus always offered a gesture of grace. A shared meal with a despised sinner. A blessing for a forgotten child. A nurturing touch to the disciples’ calloused feet. These gifts of grace invited people into abundant life, but also invited them to share grace and life with others.

Gifts (or also Means) of Grace are intentional opportunities that we use to share God’s grace- love, forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, blessing- and call people into abundant life in Christ.

Intentional Faith Development means learning to be aware of these opportunities and incorporate them into daily life and the shared life of the church. It means learning to accept Gifts of Grace from God and others, as well as offer them, even when we are uncomfortable in doing both.

Some opportunities to grow in Gifts of Grace include:

Baptism          Confirmation         Communion          Words of Blessing          Healing Prayer/Service

Affirmation of Spiritual Gifts       Washing Feet 

 

“The process of spiritual formation in Christ is one of progressively replacing destructive images and ideas with the ideas that filled the mind of Jesus himself.” –Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart.

WHY?

Our world is filled with words of criticism. Most people hear “You’re not good enough,” more often than “You are a child of God.” As a result, people believe that they have to earn acceptance or approval to be valued. A Disciple knows he/she is loved, redeemed, and called to new life. This knowledge can have world-changing impact. How can your church be a ‘dispenser of grace,’ to use Phillip Yancey’s words?

 

Reading Resource

  • Embracing the Love of God by James Bryan Smith
  • The Blessing by Gary Smalley
  • Shaped by God: Twelve Essentials for Nurturing Faith in Children, Youth, and Adults edited by Robert Keeley

Doing Resource

  • Provide church leadership and others (like new members) with a Spiritual Gifts Assessment
  • Establish or expand a Confirmation program in your church. Credo (Cokesbury) and Re:form (Sparkhouse) are popular curriculum options.
  • Offer prayers for healing or blessing of children on Sundays that Communion is celebrated.
  • Be intentional about giving a Pastoral blessing to new parents, new homeowners, or the hospitalized and homebound.

 

If you have questions or would like to further explore these Stepping Stones to faith development
please contact Rev. Amber Massingill by phone (817-877-5222) or email (amber@ctcumc.org).