Church membership is not the same as discipleship. While this seems like a patently obvious statement that should not require debate, the lived-out practice in many local churches has turned it around. Why has this happened? We have spent decades placing an emphasis on tracking how many members a local church has, how many people attend worship, and a variety of other measures. While this data is important, it is far more important to look underneath it to see the true story of a community of disciples living out their call. . . .
Do we spend more time in a new members’ class talking about the bygone history of our congregation, or do we talk about the vision to which God calls us? We need to focus more on the spiritual needs of individuals, from cradle to grave, and how the congregation can help people live into the fullness of their discipleship through mission and ministry.
—Christine Harman, For the Common Good: Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts (Upper Room Books, 2021)
What are your spiritual gifts? If you don’t know, consider using the spiritual gifts inventory provided in For the Common Good. Join the conversation.
Serve each other according to the gift each person has received, as good managers of God’s diverse gifts.
—1 Peter 4:10 (CEB)
Prayer for the Week
Holy God, help me to discover and use the gifts you have given me to serve you. Guide me to find ways to use my gifts for the common good of others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
In Fully Human, Fully Divine, Whitney R. Simpson writes, “An embodied Advent invites us to live the experience of this season fully, with our whole selves, right here and right now as we await the Christ child.” This Advent favorite is now available in paperback! Order your copy here.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.