Session 6

Churches are called to be committed communities of discipleship and mission, places of friendship, mutual accountability and multi-voiced worship. As we eat together, sharing bread and wine, we sustain hope as we seek God’s kingdom together. We are committed to nurturing and developing such churches, in which young and old are valued, leadership is consultative, roles are related to gifts rather than gender and baptism is for believers.

1. Reflect quietly on this conviction and then (if you can) share with one or two others your response to any of these questions:

  • How (if at all) does this differ from what you have known and believed before?
  • Who do you know who lives out this conviction and commitment?
  • How does this conviction inspire your imagination?
  • How does this conviction challenge or empower your faith?
  • How might this conviction impact the way you live?
  • 2. Read the article from Anabaptism Today that explores this conviction:

  • What questions does this article raise for you?
  • What aspects of the core conviction does it not address?
  • Are there elements of the article or the conviction with which you disagree?
  • Are there elements that you strongly affirm?
  • 3. Check whether there is any difference between the current version of this core conviction and the earlier version on which this article was based. If there is:

  • Why do you think a change was made?
  • Which version do you prefer?
  • Are there further changes you would propose?
  • 4. Is there anything distinctively Anabaptist in this conviction – either the particular aspects of church life mentioned or the combination of features?

    5. What is the role of food in building Christian community and in mission?

    6. Believers’ baptism was a ‘crunch issue’ in the sixteenth century, signalling a shift from territorial churches to believers’ churches. Is it still such a crucial issue in post-Christendom?

    7. How can we develop practices of mutual accountability that are liberating and life-enhancing rather than intrusive and oppressive?

    8. What practical steps can your church take to enable young and old to value each other, learn from each other and engage in mission together?

    9. What liturgical resources – songs, prayers, poetry, icons, rituals, etc. – do you know that might enable you or your church to express and celebrate this core conviction and renew this commitment?

    NB: Further resources for this session can be found at www.anabaptistnetwork.com/anabaptistpractices