Practice #1: Teaching
Preaching and teaching from the Bible is a central part of what we do when we gather. Every Christian needs to regularly be listening to good teaching.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
Speaking to a leader of the church, the apostle Paul reminds him of how much people need good teaching. Teaching from God’s word has the power to steer us in the right direction, to turn us back when we’re headed for trouble, and to give us encouragement. This is exactly what we need to pursue God in our lives.
Practice #2: Singing
God deserves a joyful response from us because of who he is and what he has done. He is a great God and Savior. One way we express our thankfulness and praise to him is by singing.
Psalm 95:1-3 Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods.
God created music as a way to evoke our deepest thoughts and emotions. So singing is a key part of what Christians call “worship”. Worship is the overall response of our life to God’s greatness. It may involve many other kinds of expressions. But when we gather with other Christians, we sing because it gives voice to our joy and gratitude toward God.
Practice #3: Remembering
Jesus gave us two symbolic actions to remember, when we gather with other Christians, what he has done for us. The first is called the Lord’s Supper or “communion.”
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
Jesus initiated this practice on the night before he died on the cross. He told his followers to eat and drink in memory of the sacrifice he was about to make. We also do this to announce his saving work to others.
The second symbolic action Jesus instituted is baptism.
Matthew 28:19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The act of baptism is an outward expression of inward realities. It symbolizes how, in Christ, we are cleansed from sin, our old way of life is dead, and we have begun a new kind of life.
Practice #4: Serving
Every Christian has been given some kind of ability from God for the purpose of serving others.
1 Peter 4:10-11 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
Some people have gifts that mainly involve speaking words. Others have gifts that mainly involve helpful actions. Whatever your gifts are, using them to serve is not optional, because God works through us to benefit and build up others. So get involved in serving. It brings great honor to God when you do.
Practice #5: Mentoring
The Bible tells us to pass on God’s truth to others, who can pass it on to others in turn. Churches have called this “making disciples” based on Jesus’ command (Matthew 28:18-20) to create and cultivate followers for him.
2 Timothy 2:2 You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
In this verse, making disciples involves taking the initiative to personally help people understand and apply God’s truth in their lives – in a way that they can do the same for others. This happens in families, in small groups, and in individual relationships. With the right attitude and the right resources, every Christian can do it.
These five practices are meant for every Christian to be involved with. Each one of us should evaluate whether these activities are shaping our lives as Christians. After all, they all celebrate or reflect Jesus. He instituted them, and he works through them in our lives.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Do you like to sing? Why or why not? Describe a time when music moved you emotionally.
- What is it about music that makes it a fitting way to express joy and gratitude to God?
- What rituals do you observe in your family to help you remember important events or people?
- How do the Lord’s Supper and baptism help you remember Jesus?
- Do you think your gifts for serving others lie more on the “speaking” side or the “helping” side, and why?
- Who mentored you on your faith journey? What did they do?
- On a scale of one to ten, how confident do you feel that you can mentor someone else in their faith, and why?
- Let’s say you invite an unchurched friend to church. What have you learned in this lesson that would help you explain what to expect?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.