Looking Back as an Act of Worship
As disciples and disciple-makers, it’s important to reflect on and retell the stories of how God has worked in our lives. Throughout Scripture and Church history, people have set time and space aside to acknowledge God’s activity. Whether it was a rhythm in the calendar to celebrate with festivals and holy days or a physical place of worship memorialized with a monument or altar, individuals and communities have been intentional about pausing to reflect and to tell stories of God’s goodness.
Time to Reflect
You’d be hard-pressed to find a list of leadership best practices or self-care tips that didn’t include looking back to consider trends and patterns, progress and growth.
This is a healthy practice for each of us, individually.
It’s an essential part of disciple-making.
It’s key to effective leadership.
Taking time to reflect as individuals and as a community is a component of meaningful REST emphasized in last week’s blog post. Pausing for reflection can be a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual exercise… It’s also a powerful practice for looking back over your life and faith journey. Start by considering shorter-term experiences. Then see how the past season fits into your bigger story. Think of at least one significant example for each of the following:
- When or where have you experienced God in an unexpected way?
- When have you felt challenged, stuck, or defeated?
- How did He prove faithful—even in a seemingly impossible circumstance?
- In what ways has your faith grown as a result of God’s goodness?
- Why is it important to remember that experience?
As a leader…
- Consider the same questions as above, but in your leadership context.
- Also, what trends have you noticed—behaviors, attitudes, questions, etc.
- How have you seen growth in people collectively? In specific people individually?
How can this personal reflection and leadership assessment lead to future growth?
How does it ultimately lead to worship?
As children of God, it is important to set aside time to remember and thank God for His good gifts. God has done incredible things for us, in us, and through us, and our response to that can only be to celebrate with great joy.
Tell and Retell
When we celebrate, we create space to recognize the significance of moments, transitions, accomplishments, and milestones in our lives. We build memorials—much like the one Joshua and the Israelites built—that serve as reminders to present and future generations of God’s faithfulness in history. We put God’s goodness on display and give Him the glory.
The people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and camped at Gilgal on the eastern limits of Jericho. Then Joshua set up in Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan, and he said to the Israelites, “In the future, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What is the meaning of these stones?’ you should tell your children, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, just as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up before us until we had crossed over. This is so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord’s hand is strong, and so that you may always fear the Lord your God.”
Let’s be people who remember all God has done, and who build memorials to remind us of our commitment to follow and serve Him above all else. It is because of Him that we have a new story and a legacy of hope to share with our community and pass on to the next generation.
Try a Resource
Check out a free sample of our newly updated and re-released group-discipleship resource—Life in Rhythm: God’s Design for Work and Relationships. The 10-week journey concludes with a memorial-making experience. We want to help you take the time to reflect on what God has done and to retell those stories with the people in your circle of influence—whether a staff, small group, family, etc.
And speaking of stories… If you aren’t signed up for our email list, add your info below to receive free resources like this month’s downloadable guide: How to BLESS People with Your Story.