BUILDING BIBLICAL COMMUNITY

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1 BUILDING BIBLICAL COMMUNITY Connecting People in Authentic Relationships that lead to Spiritual Transformation A 6-WEEK STUDY OF OUR CORE VALUES WEEK 6 November 27 th

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3 BUILDING BIBLICAL COMMUNITY WEEK 6 Sunday, November 27 th CORE VALUE #6: ENGAGE MISSIONALLY WITH OUR COMMUNITY & WORLD TO MAKE DISCIPLES "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19 20 GET OUTSIDE THE LIVING ROOM Picture this: a group of athletes want to perform at a high level in their sport. They ve committed themselves to their training. They ve received instruction from their coach and encouragement from friends. They ve been honest about their weaknesses and have disciplined themselves to strengthen them. They ve been reminded of their potential, and everyone is supporting them. And then, when the big moment comes, they are unwilling to leave the huddle. That would be tragic. All the work that they put in would be negated by the fact that they didn t get in the game when it actually mattered. In community, it would be equally tragic if all the investments we make in each other s growth didn t leave the living room, so to speak. If our group is only inwardly focused, looking to our own needs instead of those around us, we re missing a big part of what God wants for us. We are all God s workmanship, created to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). If our community group doesn t impact the way we believe, think, and act outside of our group, then it isn t working as it should. Getting outside of our classroom could mean something as nearby as having a conversation with a neighbor, or it could mean something as far away as taking a trip to the other side of the world. Wherever there is, we should engage intentionally for the cause of Christ. It s no accident that we re alive today, and living where we are it s God-ordained (Acts 17:26). THE GREAT COMMISSION In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus tells His followers to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey everything He had taught. This commission applies to every believer; therefore, it applies to our groups. We are called to multiply ourselves and create other fully devoted followers of Jesus. This means sharing the gospel, loving others, and teaching them God s truth. This may feel daunting, but we aren t doing it alone! Jesus will go with us (Matthew 28:20), and we can support each other as well.

4 KNOW YOUR GIFTS, USE YOUR GIFTS Fulfilling the Great Commission might look different for everyone. Each one of us has special gifts and we should use them to serve others as good stewards of God s grace (1 Peter 4:10). We are uniquely wired to serve God in the way that He wants us to. We may not feel particularly gifted, but God can use us in significant ways. As we get to know each other, our group can help identify and build upon the spiritual gifts God has given to each of us for the common good (Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). We can encourage each other to serve individually, and we can also leverage our collective gifts to serve together. With the group, talk through how we can love and serve: The local body of Christ (Galatians 6:10) Other believers (1 Peter 4:10) Non-believers (Luke 19:10) The poor and needy (James 1:27, Proverbs 14:31) People in other nations (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19) Let s pray for one another that we would be effective in ministry and service, and let s pray with one another that God would use us to build His kingdom! LET S GET PRACTICAL Here are 4 Practical ways to live your life on mission: 1. IDENTIFY PEOPLE WHO NEED THE GOSPEL People who live on mission are always on the move toward others. They don t wait for the world to come to them, they seek and find the people who have needs. If we live our lives on mission, it will require us to walk across the room to people. The people who need our help are not necessarily going to show up on our doorstep (or in our group), so we have to identify them where they are and move toward them. Do you know your neighbors? Do you know their stories, their background, their spiritual beliefs? A staggering 28% of Americans do not know a single one of their neighbors and only 29% know some of their neighbors. If we are called to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31), then without excuse, we have to know our neighbors. Even when we discover our neighbors are different than us, we must find ways to communicate the central truth of the gospel to different audiences. Living a mission lifestyle is rooted in the knowledge that God is already on mission around you and He has placed you in your environment because He wants to use you to reach the people around you. We can start identifying needs through prayer and open eyes. Let s begin asking God to reveal the needs around us and then make sure we have our eyes open when He starts answering our prayers! Who has God placed around you that He may be calling you to be on mission with? What changes can you make to be more consistently aware of what God is doing around you?

5 2. INVEST YOUR LIFE IN OTHERS AS YOU SHARE THE GOSPEL After identifying where God is at work around us, the next step is to take action and invest in those to whom God has led us. Paul made this part of the missionary process clear when he wrote to the church in Thessalonica: We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us (Thess. 2:8). We must speak the gospel to those we identify, but we must also invest our lives, our time, our resources, and our gifts. Investing our lives will look different each time we do it, whether individually or when we do it together as a group. If you are throwing a party, having a cookout, or serving someone, the goal is to build relationships with those we seek to invest our lives into. One of the best ways to start learning how to invest in people is to ask them how you can pray for them. It will open up ways for us to share the gospel and begin building disciples. Describe how it would look if you invested in the people God has led you to identify? How can you consistently build relationships and spend time with them? What changes might you need to make to truly invest in people? Pray about who God wants you to be intentional with. Write down their names and pray for them every day this week. Write out how you will invest your time and energy into them this week. Go and do it. 3. INVITE PEOPLE INTO DISCIPLE-MAKING RELATIONSHIPS We don t just want to present the gospel to people and once they accept it, leave them there. Instead we want to invite them into a deeper, disciplining relationship with God. We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ (Col. 1:28). There is nothing wrong with investing in someone for the sake of inviting them to a church service or our Sunday morning group gathering, but helping someone move closer to Jesus is going to take more than that. If we are going to reach people where they are, we have to be bold enough to speak the gospel where they are and not wait for the pastor to do what every believer has been called to do. When we invite people into disciple-making relationships, biblical community is formed. And remember, in biblical community, they will see people who do not have it all together, people who are struggling with some of the same issues they are, and people who need more of the grace and mercy they have just discovered. We will see new believers begin to learn more of what Christ is calling them to, and in turn, invest and invite their lost friends into this newly formed community. As a result, more disciples will be made. Who do you feel God is leading you to invite into a relationship with Jesus? What conversation might you need to have with someone about the gospel?

6 4. INCREASE DISCIPLE-MAKING BY SENDING PEOPLE TO MAKE MORE DISCIPLES The goal of being mission-minded is not to have an awesome group and keep the same people around us forever because we like doing life with them. The goal is to see a movement! To see the gospel spread, new people come to know Jesus, and new disciples made. The most effective thing you can do for the mission is to reproduce yourself as many times as possible so there are more disciples in the world speaking and displaying the gospel with their lives. Think about it: Jesus poured himself into his disciples, the disciples raised up others in faith, they sent out others, and the chain eventually got to you and me. We are a part of a huge family tree of discipleship. If we see our lives as a continuation of that thread into the future, it will make us want to give away what we have instead of grasping it tightly. That s why, even when we may want to remain in a certain small group, God will grow our hearts to a place where we have a great desire for other people to experience the gospel in community and decide to go out and participate in starting new groups. Intentionality in increasing the number of people living on mission is central to seeing the kingdom impacted! What is the hardest part of making disciples and reproducing yourself as a missionary? How does Jesus promise in the Great Commission that I am with you always, to the end of the age encourage you in your efforts? How can you be intentional about raising up others and sending them out? GROUP DISCUSSION How comfortable are you with sharing the gospel with others? What, if anything, makes you uncomfortable to share (e.g. fear, lack of knowledge, etc.)? What are some steps you could take to grow in this area? If you could choose three people to come to know Jesus as Savior today, who would they be (e.g. neighbor, co-worker, family member, etc.)? Why did you pick them? What are you doing, or what is your plan, to engage those people in a spiritual conversation? What gifts and talents has our group been blessed with? How will we best deploy them in engaging those who are far from Christ? Brainstorm some ideas together. How will we encourage and hold one another accountable to share our faith regularly? Be specific. IDEAS FOR LIVING OUT THE CORE VALUE Identify the top 10 people that you would like to intentionally engage with about Jesus, and pray for those interactions. Practice sharing your testimonies with each other in order to get comfortable sharing them with others. Spend time intentionally sharing the gospel with others as a group or as partners. Build relationships with people who don t know Jesus, and invite them to group activities. Share stories of where God provided opportunities to serve others and share the gospel. RESOURCE Use the Share Your Story document to help you write out and articulate your testimony.

7 YOUR STORY Writing Your Personal Testimony The aim of giving a personal testimony is to tell of the working of God s grace in your own life, that the cross of Christ may be proclaimed, and the faith of your listeners built up. Things to Remember When Writing Your Story: Keep it focused on Christ, the cross, and on God s initiative and grace God focused as opposed to self-focused. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, so that the most important and helpful aspects of your gospel story will be shared clearly. Believe that God will empower you through his Spirit to be a witness to His good grace (Acts 1:8). Be brief. Your testimony isn t every life event. It is a simplified version of your life before Christ, receiving of the Gospel, and your life now. Practical Guidelines on How to Write Your Story: READ ACTS 26 In this passage, Paul stood before King Agrippa and shared simply and plainly the story of his life. Essentially, Paul s testimony followed a guideline that can help you prepare your testimony. 1. BEFORE YOU MET CHRIST (ACTS 26:4-11): What was your life like? What characterized you? How did you think of God? What were your thoughts about religion? How was the Lord justly angered toward you because of your sin during this time? REMEMBER: We can all say, I was once a and fill in our own description of our sinful state. And we don t need a dramatic testimony to do so. Even if your story doesn t involve drugs or immorality, it is still a miracle of God s grace. You didn t write it by yourself. God intervened. God changed your heart. God saved you. 2. HOW YOU CAME TO KNOW CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED (ACTS 26:12-20): Help your readers & hearers to understand what drove you to consider Christ, whether it was the circumstances or time. Share the specific steps of how you became a Christian. If there was a particular Scripture or word that someone said that drew you to Christ, share it here. Explain the gospel clearly: o You were sinful and fully deserving of God s wrath. o Christ died in your place on the cross as your substitute bearing the wrath of God in your place. o When you repented of your sin, turned from your old lifestyle, and placed your faith in Christ s sacrifice, then you were forgiven of all sin, became a child of God, and obtained new life in Him. 3. AFTER YOU MET CHRIST (ACTS 26:21-23): There is forgiveness in the gospel of Jesus Christ, but there s also power! What difference has Christ made in your life? In the way you think, feel, and act? In the way coworkers see you? In the way your family sees you? In the way you view your coworkers or family members? Don t be afraid to share honestly that you still have struggles, but be sure to share how Christ helps you with these struggles. Conclude by sharing you now know that you have eternal life (according to 1 John 5:11-13) in Jesus Christ.

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