Get on the Train
Do you love an adventure?
Or do you hesitate on the platform, imagining everything that might go wrong?
Being a disciple starts with saying yes to Jesus. This can be scary, as you don’t know where the journey will take you. But it is so worthwhile.
And if you have said yes, you need to continue to say yes every day, committing to staying on the train even when things get hard.
You can get on the train at any station, including ones that are off the map.
Visit Every Station
As Methodists, we highlight 12 particular stations on the discipleship journey.
God calls each of us to get involved in all 12, as each helps us to respond to God’s love in a different way. We do not expect to be perfect in this, but we live out these practices as far as we are able, with God’s help. There are four areas on the map; Worshipping God, Serving others, Evangelism (sharing faith with others) and Learning and caring for each other.
Some might feel familiar and safe, or like a passion – let’s call it your home station. This could be linked to a vocation but could also be something completely different. We might avoid some stations because they’re scary or difficult – experiencing God here feels hard. Others are unfamiliar, but it feels like the season to visit them. Let’s call these exciting, or terrifying, stations growth stations.
We challenge injustice.
- Get involved in the Campaigning group.
- Attend one of our events highlighting different issues to find out how to get involved.
We care for creation and all God’s gifts.
- Get involved in our work towards EcoChurch.
- Find out about climate change and how you can adjust your lifestyle to help.
- Grow something – take care of a little plant.
- Find out your carbon footprint and how you can reduce your impact using a carbon footprint calculator such as footprintr.me.
We live in a way that draws people to Jesus.
- Look at the other stations, how can getting involved with them help you draw people to Jesus?
- Tell someone what you love about them.
- Invest in a new or existing hobby, so that you can invest in relationships outside of church.
We notice God in Scripture and the world.
- Join the Thursday bible fellowship or Praying Together on a Wednesday to talk about scripture and see where God has been at work.
- Spend some time outside each day and be open to notice God in nature or culture.
- Keep a daily journey of what you notice about God working in the world.
- Ask other people where they have noticed God and learn from other peoples perspectives.
We practise hospitality and generosity.
- Offer to be a welcome steward or to serve coffee after the service.
- Invite someone that you don’t know very well for a meal. If they ask to host instead, say yes!
- Strike up conversation with a stranger.
We share our faith.
- Look at the other stations, what ways are there to share your faith through them?
- Share your faith more intentionally on social media, by posting Scripture or hymns and saying why they matter to you, or posting about a spiritual experience.
We tell of the love of God.
- Talk to someone new at church or at one of our weekly gatherings.
- Talk to other Christians about your faith – it’s a good way to get started.
- Do you find it easier to talk about faith with friends or strangers? Think about why this is.
- Be open with your friends and family about what the good news means in your life. You could talk about a specific church project so they understand more about how you spend your time.
- Ask people their stories. This might just be: “What’s happened to you this week that’s given you hope?”
We worship with others regularly.
- Join us for worship, either in the church building or online.
- Catch-up on worship later in the week or rerevisit service that spoke ot you.
- Get involved with worship, whether it is music, reading, drama or something else entirely.
- Attend the worship focus groups and have your input on the worship life of the church.
- Consider if you are being called to become a worship leader or local preacher.
- Find ways to worship at other times of the week. Either with others or on your own.
Reflect on the Journey
When we live a Methodist Way of Life, we can expect to have amazing experiences as we encounter God in any and all of the 12 practices.
A crucial second step is to reflect on these experiences; to make memories, to see how they fit with the rest of Christian tradition, and to think about what might happen next. This helps us to continually shape both our beliefs and our practices. How are you being called to partner with God and other people to make a change in your life or the world?
How reflection changes us for the better
“Experience and reflection both need to occur for us to move towards being fully formed in Christ.” (Clive Marsh, Christ in Practice)
A key area of Methodist theology is that we are gradually changed by the Holy Spirit, from the inside out to become more like Jesus Christ. This is called sanctification, and it is a work of God’s grace, not something we have to strive to achieve.
Reflection is a space where sanctification can happen.
Some different ways of reflecting spiritually
Noticing God: Seeing God in the world and in other people opens our eyes. “I think I meet God in every person I meet!”
Journalling: Whether you’re an artist or a poet, keep a record of your reflections.
Conversations: Hearing other people’s experiences and perspectives is one of the most important ways we learn and reflect.