spiritual formation

"Evangelism for United Church Dummies" Workshop with Dave Anderson Sept. 12

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Evangelism isn’t about knowing how to “sell Jesus” to others as much as it is about the conviction that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to heal lives and change the world. Once a person or congregation integrates that fundamental belief into their faith life, sharing that Good News becomes both effective and credible because it comes from the heart.

Evangelism for United Church Dummies will focus on the barriers that Mainline churches face in accepting that evangelism doesn’t violate our value system, as well as some concrete practices and techniques that allow it to percolate up in all aspects of the church’s life.

Saturday, September 12, from 9am-3pm at St. George's United Church (505 6th Street) in Courtenay.

There will be refreshments, but please bring a lunch as there will not be one provided to you.

Register using the form below.

Rev. Dave Anderson has pastored two congregations and served as the Conference Minister for Lower Mainland United Churches in his 25 year career. He and Richard Bott are the co-authors of “Immersion: Investing in God’s World,” an experiential course for newcomers and long-time members alike; as well as the Lenten Challenge series. For the past 10 years, Dave has been the Lead Pastor of Eagle Ridge United Church in Coquitlam, BC. ERUC is an open, inclusive, truly multigenerational, discipleship oriented congregation, and the fastest growing United Church this side of the Rockies for close to a decade.


Living Traditions

"Tradition," from Fiddler on the Roof, 1971.

As a "millenial" and a "young minister" I am often asked what the church needs to do to appeal to people of my age and demographic. I've heard a wide variety of answers to this question--from utilizing social media strategies to getting a congregation involved in Greenpeace to abandoning the particularity of Christianity altogether for something more modern and less old ancient and/or superstitious. It's a more recent form of a similar argument made throughout the last few generations of church that we should "get with the times."

And while I do certainly believe that we as the church much adapt to our present context from our music to our words to our practices and relationships, I am not sure that this is what ultimately drew me to and kept me at church. Or got me caught up in the Way of Jesus. I have actually connected the most with the particular Christian stuff--the Bible, prayer, worship, singing, tithing/giving, serving.

Sarah Puryear wrote a great article called "Wooing Millenials with Tradition, Not Pyrotechnics" that addresses this same issue. Writing as an Anglican she says:

Rather than luring young adults through flashy programs or outsourcing their formation to experts, we will contribute to the spiritual formation of the next generation best by being serious about our faith ourselves. We must be serious about our faith on two levels — first and foremost, demonstrating what it means to be a Christian, a disciple of Jesus; and second, modeling what it looks like to be a Christian in the Anglican tradition.

Two steps: First--model spiritual formation and a deep, lived faith as followers of Jesus. Second, offering practices and ways of living one's faith based on a particular tradition.

As with every other article out there, there is no one easy fix. But I wonder what would happen if we started deepening our own spiritual lives and knowledge of our own tradition. We have spoken at length on how we might reach out and draw others into the same spiritual pilgrimage that we are on. Yet, I am not sure if we can invite anyone else in to something we don't know very well for ourselves.

So, over the next year we'll be discerning how we can best go about this as a community of faith. There are a few studies in mind, including the longer Disciple Bible Study that begins in September (there are still a handful of spots left). But the main question remains: how can we best grow people of faith to be a blessing to the world?

Disciple 34 Week Bible Study

Becoming Disciples through Bible Study is a dynamic approach to the study of the Bible. During 34 weeks of intensive study, this program moves through the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation using print and video resources in a small group format. Rev. Ryan Slifka will be be leading this intensive formation-oriented small group bible study over the period of 34 weeks to give people the opportunity to dive in and dig deep into the Christian story and learn how to live it daily.

September 2015-May 2014, time and location TBA

Living the Lord's Prayer: Adult Study and Sermon Series

"Christ Teaching his Disciples to Pray," by an Unknown French master, 13th century

"Christ Teaching his Disciples to Pray," by an Unknown French master, 13th century

This summer, we'll be taking a four-week journey through the Lord's Prayer--the most well recognized prayer in the Christian tradition. Christians all over the world (if not most of them) say the prayer each Sunday as they worship. Yet, even some life-long worshipers haven't had the opportunity to stop and consider it's meaning or practical application.

In this exploration of the Lord’s Prayer we discover this prayer as the guide for all of our praying. It is the pattern that Jesus gave his followers (you, me, us, the church) to pray authentically and faithfully. Every Sunday we recite and are reminded of how to pray, what to pray for, and to whom we pray to. As we pray it is also an invitation to live our lives in the way Jesus invites us to, and to imagine the world as God imagines it for us. This series and adult study is meant for people of all different experience/knowledge levels--whether you have no idea how to pray, are a beginner to the Way of Jesus, or whether you've got it tattoo on your heart from praying it your whole life.

Sermon/Worship Series

Sunday, June 14th: "Near and Beyond" ("Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Your Name")
Sunday, June 21st: "Earth Invaded By Heaven" ("Your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven," and "give us this day our daily bread")
Sunday, June 28th: "Free to Forgive" ("Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us")
Sunday, July 6th: "A Power Not Our Own" ("Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" and "yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen")

Adult Study

Monday Mornings June 8-29th 11:00am (location to be announced)

In the adult study we will reflect on each portion for the prayer set for that Sunday. Signup is not required. There will be no required readings ahead of time (other than the prayer itself!), but if you wish there are several books for further reading that can be ordered online or into our local bookstore.

If you'd like to hold a small reading group of your own on one of these, please let Ryan Slifka know, and he can order the books for you.

Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon, Lord, Teach Us: The Lord's Prayer and the Christian Life
John Dominic Crossan: The Greatest Prayer: Recovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord's Prayer
William J. Carl III: The Lord's Prayer for Today