Stepping Up for Jesus
As Methodists, there are a couple of phrases that are used (in the Pizza with the Pastor class, for instance) that may or may not make sense to the average person in the pew, or chair as it may be. Our founder, John Wesley, used the phrase “Means of Grace” when talking about “Spiritual Disciplines.” The easier of the two, and slightly more universal, is “Spiritual Disciplines.” These are the things that we do as Christians to learn more about God and to deepen our relationship with him, as well as sharing him with the world around us. These include reading the Bible, praying, going to church (specifically, worshiping), and participating in mission projects.
Wesley categorized these activities as “Means of Grace.” Just to make things perfectly clear, grace is getting what we do not deserve. So, the means of grace are the activities that we do, or the means, through which God can poor out his grace on us, helping us to become the persons that he wants us to be, not activities that we do to earn grace. God can and does give us his grace anyway he wants, these are just some of the activities through which Christians find it easiest to recognize and respond to that grace.
As we look at the means of grace today, they can be divided into works of piety and works of mercy.
Works of Piety
Individual Practices – reading, meditating and studying the scriptures, prayer, fasting, regularly attending worship, healthy living, and sharing our faith with others
Communal Practices – regularly share in the sacraments (baptism and communion), Christian conferencing (accountability to one another), and Bible study
Works of Mercy
Individual Practices – doing good works, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, and giving generously to the needs of others
Communal Practices – seeking justice, ending oppression and discrimination (for instance Wesley challenged Methodists to end slavery), and addressing the needs of the poor
Stepping up with you in His strength!
Creative Ministries Director