Our Rule of Life
We believe the ministries of St. Paul's should reflect the Church's mission which is about the reconciling work of Christ in our individual lives, in our community, and in wider world. We encapsulate that mission at St. Paul's by stating, as our "Rule of Life," that we're "Growing in Relationships, Growing in Service, Growing in Christ."
Our ministries are about growth. Numbers are certainly important because Jesus calls his followers to go and make disciples - our job is to share the Good News by how we live our lives so that people may find the joy of knowing Christ. Growth, however, also happens in many other, deeper ways that are harder to measure. Our Rule of Life helps us remember that our ministries should first and foremost be helping us to grow in emotional and spiritual health. The ministries we engage in should help us as people and as a church to grow more deeply into the image of Christ.
Growing in Relationships
Our ministries are about building and developing relationships and community formation because it's impossible to be a Christian alone. Our ministries help us get to know each other better as fellow church members, and are about helping us to better our relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and people in the surrounding community. The ministries of St. Paul's are designed around what has been called the "ABCs of Relationships":
Growing in Service
Our ministries are about encouraging and enabling people to serve. We provide service opportunities within the church, and in the wider community. We also encourage one another to live into our vocation as ministers. In The Episcopal Church, ministers are not just bishops, priests, and deacons, but also lay persons. Our Catechism teaches,
"The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ's work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church."
Growing in Christ
Our ministries are all about growing in Christ. The primary way we grow in Christ is through the two great sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist. The best way to know Christ is to encounter Him in the place where he assures us he will be: in the Word spoken, the bread broken, and where two or three are gathered together in his Name.
Sometimes people ask why "Growing in Christ" is the last part of our rule of life. Shouldn't Christ always be first? Absolutely! The reason this part of the rule (not Christ himself) comes last is because we recognize that often we come to grow in Christ first not just by saying we believe, but by interacting with God's people (relationships) and by reaching out to others (service). A lot of the time we have to belong before we can truly believe.
Also, if we're growing in relationships, and growing in service, we are growing in Christ! When we worship God together, we also want to get to know God's people better, and find a desire to serve welling up from within. Christ always leads us back to others. It might, therefore, be easier to think of our rule of life as a circle rather than a straight line.