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Many years of programs and activities have left members busy and exhausted. The goal of this study was to re-envision discipleship at Houston Chinese Church within the broader context of spiritual formation: one must learn how to be and plan to grow with Jesus, not just serve and do for him. When God’s people arrange their schedules and intentionally create space to be with him, true rest as described in Matthew 11:28-30 occurs. Practicing three contemplative disciplines in historical Christianity can help busy evangelicals live with margin in their lives and experience God’s rest.
While God alone forms and transforms, effort is required by believers to create space for God. The spiritual disciplines of contemplative prayer, lectio divina, and prayer of examen help believers guide this effort, allowing God to do his work of formation and transformation. Because engagement in these practices enable God to work, they are a “means of grace,” helping one experience and live by God’s grace. It is argued that when grace is a lived truth in one’s life, not just a theological concept for salvation, disciples of Jesus will live lives characterized by rest and refreshment rather than busyness and distractions.
To fulfill this goal, a new ministry initiative called Breakfast with Jesus provided people with space and time to practice these margin-making disciplines. Those who made an effort to participate and intentionally be with God did experience his grace through rest and refreshment. For this group, discipleship was re-envisioned within the broader context of spiritual formation. Due to the limited number of participants, further study is needed in how to best offer this space to other members in the church. However, the project shows that it is possible for busy evangelicals who hunger for something more, to find rest and be refreshed with God.
Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD
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Hong, Cynthia K., "Margin-Making as a Means of Grace in Re-envisioning Discipleship at Houston Chinese Church" (2013). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 97.