By Ven. Kim Van Allen
Are you looking for an opportunity to grow as a disciple and follower of Jesus?
I have often wished we had an Anglican resource to help us reflect on what discipleship looks like in our time.
Generous, Intentional Living is a new Anglican resource to which many of us were introduced at a Stewardship conference in Quebec in the fall. Originally created by Trinity Church, Aurora, the National Church was given the program to share across the country.
You may be working your way through this meaningful, down to earth resource through the forty days of Lent!
Generous, Intentional Living or its short form ‘I Intend’ focuses on five key areas of life. Each area forms a chapter or a session as we consider how we, a disciple of Jesus Christ and a steward of God’s mysteries, shape our daily lives in response to:
- The Environment
- Our Time
- Our Talents
- Our Treasure
- Our Mental and physical well-being
The Introduction in the workbook explains that ‘I Intend … is a discipleship program that fosters spiritual growth, offers a holistic understanding of the life of faith and proposes practical and specific spiritual practices for daily living. Each area and session give the individual an opportunity to:
- Reflect on their life
- Ask some key questions
- Discern God’s call for faithful living
- Decide on suitable spiritual practices
- Record the practices in Intention Statements
- Begin living generously and intentionally as a disciple of Christ’
St. George’s, Goderich and Christ Church, Port Albert engaged in this program throughout Lent. St. George’s parish council agreed to be guinea pigs for a trial of the resource over the summer of 2017. Feedback was positive to use it within the parish. We choose Lent, but the resource may be used whenever you like.
There are six sessions, one serves as an introduction. The program outlines the many ways the material may be used:
- As an at-home workbook for individual or home-group work
- As a sermon series providing people with a workbook to bring with them each Sunday or simply provide the sheet for each topic.
- As a small group for six weeks.
Our two congregations indicated in our Self-Assessment and Ministry and Mission Plans that Stewardship and Discipleship are key areas for growth. Because of this, we choose to use the ‘Generous, Intentional Living’ in many ways.
Copies of the workbook were made for members of the congregation to take home for individual reflection and to bring to worship with them for the sermon series.
The program suggested that the average attendance could be a guide to determining how many copies to print. We also emailed the resource electronically to all in the parish who have given us their email address.
Some in the parish have an appetite for small group discussion finding value in cracking open the scriptures before we hear them in worship on Sunday. A Friday morning discussion group for an hour or so was offered bringing people together from both congregations which is our norm.
What are we gaining? A way of discussing and considering our lives as disciples and stewards grounded in our everyday living. We are intentionally making decisions about how we want to live in the world responding to all that God has given us.
Yes, Jesus, we are following you caring for God’s creation, considering how we use our time, sharing our skills, our money, and nurturing our mental and physical health.
At the end of the program, in whatever way you choose to use it, you will make a list of ‘I Intend …’ statements based on your own personal decisions working through each session. The intentions are given to the coordinator (perhaps by way of the collection plate) in a self-addressed envelope. After six months, each envelope is returned to you (unopened) so that you may see how you are doing in the intentions you created for yourself.
Enjoy this program. Live intentionally!
Ven. Kim Van Allen is a member of diocesan Stewardship Committee
(For more information, feel free to contact any member of the Stewardship Committee: Graham Bland, Chair, Heather Moller, Matthew Kieswetter, Raymond Hodgson, Andra O’Neill, Kim Van Allen.)