Storyline commissioned its first “partners in mission” on Sunday, August 14, at the monthly Community Gathering.
Nine individuals answered “we do” to the following questions:
– Do you believe in the story of God in Jesus found in the Christian Scriptures?
– Do you commit to following Jesus with the Storyline Community by living out Storyline’s lifestyle?
– Do you commit to supporting and encouraging each other in faith and mission?
This commissioning ceremony comes as the fruit of a season of prayer and reflection by Storyline’s Leadership Team at the beginning of 2011. Several events last fall helped the Leadership Team to see that Storyline needed to grow in discipleship. As a result, the team sensed God calling Storyline to organize its life together around a communal “rule of a life” – a specific commitment to follow Jesus together and walk in his ways.
Before the commissioning, each partner in mission completed Lifestyle DNA, a seven-week equipping experience that helps people explore and practice Storyline’s fivefold lifestyle:
1. Sharing life with disconnected/downtrodden friends (monthly);
2. Tending to personal growth in formation groups (weekly);
3. Opening to God through prayer and Scripture (daily);
4. Rallying with spiritual family (weekly);
5. Yielding resources generously to the mission (monthly).
The major outcome of Lifestyle DNA is a “Lifestyle Growth Plan,” in which participants personalize the Storyline Lifestyle to their own life by listing the spiritual practices they will engage. Moving forward, they plan to rework their Growth Plans with new spiritual practices at least every six months to fit them as they continue to grow. Formation Groups will serve as the primary source of ongoing encouragement and support in the lifestyle for partners in mission.
In the August Community Gathering, partners in mission had an opportunity to share how living into this new lifestyle had impacted their lives.
– One spoke of having real intentionality in her spiritual life for the first time.
– Another spoke about the way he had grown closer to God through regular prayer.
– Another person was able to confess sin and deal with it for the first time.
– Yet another shared how his eyes had been open to sharing life with his neighbors and disconnected friends around him.
– One recalled ways he and his wife were challenged to give more generously, and how God provided for them to do it.
I’ll speak for myself – my spiritual life has never been richer, nor my connection to God deeper since beginning to practice regularly the rhythms of this lifestyle.
Not only do I feel like Storyline is now really beginning to do discipleship together, but I feel like I’m really being a disciple myself!
These nine partners in mission will form the first “coaching group” this fall – a discipleship group inspired by 3DM’s ‘huddle’ structure, where each will be equipped to follow Jesus more deeply and to equip others to do the same. Our prayer is that these partners will start their own coaching groups and invite others to live out the way of Jesus with them.
Praise God for the work he has done within Storyline and within these partners in mission! Please pray for these disciples as they seek to live out God’s mission together this fall.
Please pray too for the next round of people entering into Lifestyle DNA starting Thursday, September 1. If you’re interested to join us, you can RSVP at www.meetup.com/storyline.
That’s exciting news! May God bless your participation in his work and draw all of you to more closely follow Jesus.