We often think of spiritual disciplines as things that we do on our own. I read my Bible or pray. I can fast or tithe. Even the more group oriented spiritual disciplines (service, celebration, etc...) are often pictured as things that I, as an individual, do in the context of community.
Spiritual disciplines work slowly and over time. It's easier to see the impact of a year's worth of daily prayer than this morning's.
I wonder if we can map this onto ministry.
The Gospels record Jesus engaging in various practices of spiritual disciplines (prayer especially). One assumes that these practices were vital for the God-pleasing life of the Son of God. Did his life need the slow shaping provided by the spiritual disciplines?
God's church clearly needs shaping, purifying, washing with water through the word; the sort of things that, were God's church a single person, she might seek through the practice of spiritual disciplines.
I wonder what those of us in ministry could learn about our work if we connected our work in the community to the spiritual disciplines God gives us individually. What if we expected our ministry to work slowly and over time?