The rhythms of a missional church: #1 bless

We in the Edge Network have adopted five rhythms in an attempt to encapsulate what it means to live our values. Each month for the past few months someone has been designated a ‘rhythm champion’ to encourage people to think about and practice the rhythm of the month. Here are the notes I produced to support this.

1. bless

the challenge

Each week we aspire to bless others in our Christian community and local neighbourhood in word, action or gift at least three times.

links to our identities and values

Identities * We are the family of God … united as brothers and sisters. * We are the light of God … we witness to Jesus’ liberating truth through our words and actions. * We are the servants of God. We follow Christ’s example of sacrificial love, finding freedom and joy in serving God and others.

Values * 1. The priority of the gospel: We are committed to filling ordinary life with gospel intentionality, pastoring one another with the gospel and sharing the gospel with unbelievers. We challenge one another to be sacrificial, servant-hearted … * 4. Sharing our lives as extended family: We are committed to sharing our lives in Christian community, caring for one another … * 6. Working for city renewal: We are committed to working for neighbourhood and city renewal – redressing injustice, pursuing reconciliation and welcoming the marginalized … We encourage one another to glorify God and serve others through the workplace, business, community projects, government and artistic endeavour.

biblical foundations

Blessing a person means doing them good or bringing them joy. Blessing God means praising him. Genesis 12:1-3. God promises to bless the offspring of Abraham. God blesses us through the story of salvation, making us his people and promising a new creation (Ephesians 1:3). God also promises to bless all nations through the offspring of Abraham. We who have received blessing from God are to bless other people. We have been saved to do good works (Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Peter 2:9-12). Jesus says to those who are blessed by God: ‘Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.’ (Matthew 5:1-16) We even bless those who make life difficult for us (Luke 6:28; Romans 12:14; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Peter 3:9).

Bible stories

Genesis 12 – God promises to bless the nations through Abram (= Abraham), but Abram brings a curse on Egypt. * Genesis 39-41 – Joseph blesses his owner, his jailor, Pharaoh and all Egypt. * Ruth 1-4 – a foreign widow blesses her mother-in-law and finds blessing among God’s people. * 2 Kings 5 – an Israelite slave girl blesses an enemy army commander. * Jeremiah 29 – Jeremiah writes a letter to Jewish exiles in Babylon, telling them to bless the city. * Mark 1:29-45; 6:30-44 – Jesus has compassion on those in need. * Acts 9:36-41 – Peter raises a woman from the dead who was much loved for the kind things she did for others.

putting it into practice

* Ask people to think of some of the ways in which they have been blessed by God. Ask them to think of ways in which they have been blessed by other people.

* Ask people to think of some of the ways in which they could bless one another. Their family and friends. Their neighbourhood.

* Ask people to think of ways they as individuals could bless other people. Ask people to think of ways we as a community could bless other people.

* Identify a social issue or project that the church community can get involved in together.

* Ask people to think of ways we can bless in word? In action? In gift?

* Give everyone £1 which they must use to bless someone else. (See Matthew 25:14-30.)

* Show the movie Pay It Forward or an extract from it. Set a ‘pay it forward’ challenge.

* Get people to draw from a hat a need in the community or the name of a person which they must try to do something about in the coming week. (E.g. help on old person, improve the environment, bless another ethnic group.)

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