Since moving to Ardmore back in late September, I've noticed that it is much harder for me to stay up on my reading and blog posting. I think both those issues are tied to the fact that when I moved here, my reading group stayed in Kentucky. I started the reading group last January because I was curious how reading through the Bible as a group would change my experience from when I read through it by myself. Having had a group, and now not having a group, there is a startling difference. I got much more out of my reading, and was much more motivated to do my reading, when there was a small group of us reading and discussing together.
That has got me thinking about how, as a minister, I could encourage my congregation to participate in the formation of spiritual disciplines as a community. Many Christians read their Bibles and pray, some fast and tithe, but just based off of the people I have interacted with personally, very few Christians do these things as groups (Sunday morning services excluded). What would happen in our churches if we did the hard work of cultivating fertile soil as a group, and not just individuals within a group? I know how much I gained over the first three quarters of this year practicing the discipline of reading Scripture with others, and I would imagine others would have similar experiences.
The book of Acts gives us a very brief glimps of the early Church's life toward the end of chapter 2. It says that Christians were devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking bread together, and prayer. These are things they did as a community, as the Church. I've got to wonder what we might experience or what God might do among us if we tried doing the same thing.
Stopping point: Acts 28