This guide has been developed by Kent Smith. We encourage you to print a copy and then experiment with it in your group (your family, house church, etc.) Tell us below in the comment section if you are planning to try this out. Then, let us know what you learn as you proceed with the experiment.
A Meeting Guide for Ecosystems of Grace
This is a simple plan for the steady growth of vibrant families of Jesus under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Such families, where everyone brings their gift, their grace, become in time a whole ecosystem of God’s grace—an interdependent community of shared resources.
The meeting begins by appointing and blessing a facilitator of the meeting who will walk the group through a process of sharing in rounds in the following areas:
Attunement: This is a direct way to open ourselves relationally to God and each other. It involves two parts: 1) An expression of gratitude for something God has been doing in our lives recently; 2) A sharing of what we are feeling most strongly at this time and why. (SASHET)
Grace: A description of our sense of calling from God—that place where we most come alive in service to others—where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. We follow this description with current stories of where we are seeing this happen.
Attention to God: A quiet time of listening into our individual and collective grace in light of what has been shared and what the Lord is calling our attention to together. What would the Lord have us notice and say or do to bless one another?
Participation: A sharing of what we have discerned with respect to encouraging and empowering one another. This is a practical exercise in edification—literally building up God’s household, the body of Christ.
Encouragement: We close by identifying in a round what we have learned and are taking away from the meeting. In this we learn, not so much by what we have experienced, but by creating space to reflect on our experience with the Lord together.
This process, “AGAPE,” can be used by families, communities, and teams as an ongoing means of hearing and following the Lord together. Bringing a journal to the meeting can be very helpful in recording, recalling and sharing insights gathered through the time together.
A meal and/or the Lord’s Supper may be shared as a part of this process at the discretion of the group. This can be a deeply meaningful process of discerning and affirming our union in the Body of Christ—a re-enactment of the early Christian love feast.
The net result of ongoing practice in this shared attention to God is vibrant families of Jesus actively at work in discovering, demonstrating—and calling others into—the joy and delight of God’s Kingdom.