Key Bible Text: 1 Peter 2:9-10—But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (NIV)
Faith Communities 1 Fruitful faith communities use the Bible as the central source for life, growth and mission.
In a culture where many books are viewed as holy, a fruitful faith community views and uses the Bible as the central source for their understanding of God and how to live their life as followers of Jesus.
Faith Communities 2 Fruitful faith communities worship using indigenous forms of expression.
Fruitful faith communities design their worship using indigenous music and other forms of expression that reflect their cultural heritage, including prayer posture, seating arrangements, or the kinds of food used when sharing the Lord’s Supper.
Faith Communities 3 Fruitful faith communities practice baptism.
Baptism is practiced and understood in a variety of ways by the worldwide body of Christ. Whether it is full immersion or a sprinkling of water, at the beginning of a faith journey or as a milestone in an ongoing journey, baptism is a common practice in a fruitful faith community.
Faith Communities 4 Fruitful faith communities value networking together.
Understanding that their community is part of the larger body of Christ, fruitful communities place a value on building trust and support with other faith communities. The circumstances of each community vary, but fruitful communities find ways to do things like fellowship together, train leaders together, or pray for one another.
Faith Communities 5 Fruitful faith communities are committed to one another as extended family, practicing the biblical “one another” commands.
Jesus commandment to “love one another as I have loved you” challenges faith communities to reach beyond their families and come to understand other followers of Jesus as brothers and sisters in Christ. Fruitful faith communities embrace this command and put it into practice as they build relationships within their community.
Faith Communities 6 Fruitful faith communities redeem traditional festivals and ceremonies.
Life cycle ceremonies (such as weddings and funerals, traditions surrounding birth and death, and festivals that mark various events in a culture’s historical identity) are important to the fabric of any society. Rather than abandon all tradition or remove themselves from all association with traditional festivals, fruitful faith communities seek ways to redeem them as an expression of their faith in Jesus.
Faith Communities 7 Fruitful faith communities share meals and practice hospitality.
Sharing meals and practicing hospitality are honourable traits in any culture. Jesus demonstrates that these are not only ways to gain honour but are also ways to love one another and to love neighbours. Fruitful faith communities seek to bless others and provide a witness to Jesus’ love through their fellowship and generous hospitality.
Faith Communities 8 Fruitful faith communities share the Lord’s Supper in culturally appropriate ways.
Fruitful faith communities use elements and adopt a method of sharing the Lord’s Supper that makes the most sense in their cultural context. In the West, the elements of bread and wine are commonly used. But in many cultures, bread is not available and wine is forbidden. Likewise, there are many ways to distribute the elements, either during a meal or as a separate service.
Faith Communities 9 Fruitful faith communities seek to bless their wider community.
One way to provide a witness to the truth of the gospel and build trust is to find ways to bless a community. Fruitful faith communities consider the needs in the community and seek to bless those who are outside their own faith community, whether through building a well, providing childcare, conducting a medical clinic, or some other means.
Faith Communities 10 Fruitful faith communities involve women in culturally appropriate forms of ministry.
Understanding that the Lord calls both men and women to participate in ministry, fruitful faith communities seek to involve women in ways that are appropriate for the cultural context. In some areas, this may be limited to hospitality. In others, it may be appropriate for a woman serve the Lord’s Supper or to lead other women in studying the Bible.
To assess your team on these Fruitful Practices, we encourage you to use our team assessment tool.