What are Faith Catalysts?
“Faith Catalysts” are activities which spark or fuel faith; they are the ways we actually grow deeper in our faith and widen our embrace. We have become convinced by watching what God has done over the first 14 years of our church’s life that when we engage in these things, they create opportunities for God’s Spirit to show up. They aren’t magic or mathematical formulae, but when a community commits to them, over a long period of time, God transforms us and builds faith in us.
All faith starts with a first encounter. For most of us, that’s through an invite from a friend we know and trust, to an event or experience where we encounter God and/or His people. The Spirit works through this to give us a desire for more. (e.g. Skating Day, Day-camp, Alpha, Sunday AM service)
This is the weekly worship gathering; a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multi-faceted experience of God with his people. In 2000 years since Jesus started His church, though many of the forms have changed and diverged, the weekly gathering has never stopped. While our faith in Jesus in personal, it’s not private, and there is something powerful and life-changing that happens when we meet weekly for worship, prayer, connection and to be taught from God’s Word.
Grouping together in smaller communities is the essential “other side of the coin” when it comes to our faith journey. Our Home Groups, youth groups and Ignite kids groups are a weekly practice which provide us the opportunity for connection, prayer, friendship; with Jesus and each other. These groups remind us that the faith journey is not one we travel alone. They also allow people into our lives at a closer level; people who will care for, challenge and strengthen us.
Serving in the church is absolutely a faith catalyst (not a job we do because “everyone needs to do their part”)! Opportunities to serve are ultimately invitations to see God work in you and through you. They help you discover and use your spiritual gifts. They remind us that in Christ, we have a communal identity as a body – the body of Jesus in the world. Jesus said that we, as the church, would do greater things that even He did (mind- blowing, right!!??). No individual does that, but collectively as we serve each other and the world around us, we are Jesus together.
Apprentice with Jesus
This catalyst is based on the conviction that we as the church have been given spiritual practices to help us learn the way of Jesus. The Christian life is a “way” of life, not simply a state of being. Practices like personal and communal prayer, reading scripture, giving, Sabbath rest and fasting (to name a few) are not things we do to earn God’s love, but rather to access and experience that love. These practices, engaged in consistently and passionately, day-by-day, week after week, year after year, form us from the inside out and help us live the life Christ has freely given us.
Live on Mission
Ultimately, the faith journey we are on with Jesus is one of participating in the mission that God Himself has undertaken; a mission to reconcile people back into relationship with Him and restore our broken world. This mission involves both word and action, being people who proclaim the reality of Jesus to others, and do the work of Jesus wherever we find brokenness, hurt, poverty or injustice. Each of us are invited to live on mission (that is, on purpose, with intention) wherever we find ourselves, and we are also meant to engage in mission together as a community. Some examples of this in our own community are: New sites, the Alpha Course or Divorce Care, partnering with international workers in West Africa and Central Asia, court support/first Response bags for victims of trafficking.
Questions to Consider
As you read through these 6 Catalysts, which ones have personally helped you grow in your faith?
Which one do you think would be the best place to invest some more time/energy, or to engage with in a different way, in order to grow in your faith?
Is there any way that you could use the help or support of your home group to help you take a new step into any of these Faith Catalysts? What do you need?