When we commit to healthy spiritual patterns, both individually and in community, we prepare ourselves to be ready for God’s work in and through us. These practices or patterns are tools to help us become aware of the presence of God among us—they are not ends in and of themselves. Each year at APU, we choose a spiritual practice to focus on for the year—a practice rooted in the themes of Scripture and utilized for centuries by the Christian church to foster relationship with God.
Some of these practices are about individual spiritual growth, and others are about spiritual growth as the Body of Believers. Some of them make us feel weaker, so that in our weakness we are drawn to greater dependency on God (e.g., fasting). Some of the practices may feel more fun or easier than others (e.g., celebrations). However, the hope from each practice is that it will release our patterns of self-dependency in order for us to find greater dependence on and rest in the Living God. These practices are not goals to be mastered, but rather tools that the Church has used for centuries to remove distractions from the world in order to be attentive to a completely different way of life.
The Spiritual Practice of Worship and WitnessThis year at APU, we are looking at the spiritual practices of Worship and Witness.
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.” John 4:23 (NRSV)
Worship is a recognition and appreciation of the worth of God which is followed by an outward expression and offering of honor towards God. The spiritual practice of worship emphasized by Jesus through scripture who said, “You must worship the Lord you God and serve only Him” (Matthew 4:10). In the book Celebration of Discipline, author Richard Foster says worship must have priority in our lives. There are a variety of avenues through which we express our worship to God. These include:
- Sacramental Worship
- Music Worship
- Worship through Prayer
- Spiritual Gifts
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NRSV)
During the second half of the year, we will center on the spiritual practice of Witness. Every disciple of Christ has a responsibility to be a witness for Christ. A witness is defined as someone who can give a firsthand account of something they have seen, heard, or experienced. A witness for Christ has an opportunity to witness and make disciples sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. We will discover several approaches to witnessing the gospel throughout the school year.
If you are interested in engaging in these topics, consider participating in Spiritual Formation Week. Or, you might want to pick up one of our recommended books so you can study it on your own, with your D-Group, or with a spiritual mentor. God bless you as you watch for God’s presence and work through His people!
Programs: Spiritual Practice of Worship and Witness
October 1–5: Spiritual Formation Week