The Church is the hope of the world. Jesus meant for the Church to be a gathering of people not a place, a movement not a meeting, something that not even death could stop. The story of the church is an amazing chronicle of what God is doing in the world. Knowing the story of the church's past helps us as Jesus followers to not neglect the story we are presently a part of, and it inspires us to write a story with a future that will be worth retelling. One thing has made all the difference in the advancement of the church—something that has brought our church to where it is today and will take us where we need to go in the future. This one thing is the thing the church has when it is at its best, and it is the one thing we can't afford to lose.
1. What did you previously think the church was, and who did you think it was for? Has that changed at all for you?
2. Is there anything you have experienced personally or witnessed before that makes it unnecessarily difficult for someone to be a part of the church today? How can we remove that obstacle in order to make it easy for people to turn to God as James stated in Acts 15?
3. What makes it so easy for churches to focus on insiders rather than outsiders?
4. Paul said he was willing to be all things for all people in order to win them. He behaved Jewish when around the Jews and like Gentiles when around the Gentiles. This was confusing, messy, and couldn't be fit into a ministry policy of any kind. How does Paul's approach to ministry make you feel? What does this look like for the local church in a practical way?
5. Jesus was accused of being too close to sinners and too soft on sin. Jesus loved people in such a way and ministered to people in such a way that it was messy, inconsistent, and frustrating for those who were trying to figure him out. Do you think that some churches are so concerned with guilt by association that it keeps them from loving like Jesus? What can we do to ensure we don't become this way?
6. Our vision is to be a church where people who don't like church love to attend. Based on what you know from people who don't like church, what can we do and what should we do to ensure that those who don’t like church can find something that engages them at ours?
Whatever it takes to reach whoever will come sometimes means changing, giving, serving, risking, connecting, many many other things. Close group tonight by praying for each other to have this mindset as we move toward the future that God has planned for us.
The mission and vision of our church are moved forward as people like you get engaged in the church. Are you engaged?
Are you attending consistently?
Are you serving selflessly?
Are you giving generously?
Are you inviting boldly?
Are you connecting relationally with other believers?
1 Corinthians 9:22 (NIV) To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.