Money certainly is not the only practice of discipleship that will challenge us to grow as a community. There are unimaginable depths to be explored, and the authentic church will encourage continual growth and learning. As we go deeper into a serious journey with Christ, and as we seek to be healed from our addictions and be reconciled to one another, we will want to find additional practices.
We might read together a “book of the month,” increase the time we spend alone and together in prayer and silence, prepare spiritual reports and keep a journal of our inner discoveries, go on retreats together, have social gatherings, take a class, go to the movies or do charitable acts together and so on. We will never exhaust all there is to learn and discover and enjoy about building a common life in Christ.
Responding to an inner hunger, some undoubtedly will want to embark on a path of even more focused study and growth in order to make a more informed commitment to Christ and his call on our lives. When any of us who have been a member of the group for a period of at least some months sense that God is calling us to go deeper, we will request a sponsor, someone who has been working with the principles and practices of the faith for a number of years, who will meet with us one on one to start a process of discernment about what next steps might be right.
At this point we will enter what in the past we have called “intern membership,” a time of directed exploration to listen for God’s deeper callings in the particular circumstances of our life. This exploration will happen within the church’s seminary.