This 7-session study will help you and your group think about the ways in which you reach the surrounding community. The study presents questions such as: How is the church called to be different from the local social club? How do you immerse yourself in the culture, but not be negatively affected by it? How can we reach the unbeliever as a whole person, not just his mind? In what ways do technology and entertainment shape the cultural climate? How can we best serve the community around us?
The Measure of Our Compassion
Some surprising finds about how much we care
Matthew 6:1-4; 14:13-21; 22:36-40; 25:34-40; Mark 1:40-42; John 9:1-7; Acts 2:42-47; 3:1-10; 6:1-7
While researching North American congregations, Jewish scholar Ram A. Cnaan learned that they are verifiably compassionate toward the needy. Cnaan, who documented his findings in The Invisible Caring Hand: American Congregations and the Provision of Welfare (New York Univ. Press, 2002), found that churches felt compelled to reach out to the needy as a means of actualizing their faith. This study discusses the measure of our compassion.
Caring for Our Community
Why we should give back to the places that help shape us
Genesis 1:26-28; 12:1-3; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Matthew 5:13-16; Galatians 6
In his letter to the Galatian Christians, the apostle Paul wrote, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers" (6:10). This instruction has sometimes been reduced to the proverb "Charity begins at home." How do we balance our responsibilities toward the communities in which we live alongside our responsibility to nurture those within the community of faith? How do we help those in our neighborhood while also following our mandate to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth?
Culture: Love It, Leave It, or Transform It
Richard Niebuhr's Christ and Culture still has something wise to say to evangelicals.
Matthew 5:13-16; Mark 4:1-9, 13-20; John 3:16-21; Acts 5:27-29; Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 4:17-19; 5:1-2
Our culture is becoming less and less "Christian." So what does that mean for us? What goodness does our culture reflect? What evil or darkness permeates it? How is the gospel good news for the darkness of our culture? How might the gospel be communicated or embodied using the cultural forms of the advertising and media worlds?
Engaging the Culture
How should Christians respond to a culture that contradicts biblical teaching?
Matthew 5:13-16; 28:18-20; John 1:3, 9-11; 3:16-20; 12:47; 16:8-11; 17:15-16; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 4:8; 1 John 2:15-17
When and how should Christians react to popular cultural notions that flagrantly contradict Scripture? Should Christians attack false theories, engage in dialogue with the wider culture, or keep our distance? This study addresses these questions and examines how we should live as Christians in the world around us.
From Personal Faith to Social Action
How does Christ's command to care for "the least of these" translate into social action?
Joel Carpenter says the church has changed a lot in the past 30-plus years, thanks to a document hammered out by a small group of evangelicals whose social consciences were hurting. Many people have never heard of the Chicago declaration, but according to this article, it is responsible for turning the hearts of many evangelicals back to issues of social justice and compassion ministry. But have we come far enough?
In this study, we explore the tension between social justice and evangelism. We look at Jesus' expectations of his followers and ask some probing questions of ourselves and our churches.
What is the best way to represent Christ at work?
The Book of Esther
If our professional persona is so important, what role does our faith play in it, if any? If I am both a Christian and profession, is there an acceptable blend of these two roles that is neither too anemic nor too strong?
Believers come in all temperaments and project different personas at work. So which approach to workplace faith is right? Which is wrong? And what does it matter anyway?
Fresh Ways to Connect with the Gospel
Christianity must be presented so it reaches the whole person, not just the mind.
Genesis 1:26-27; Exodus 35:30-36:2; 2 Chronicles 3-4; 1 Kings 10:18-20
In spite of their passion, knowledge, love, and careful scholarship in defending the faith, evangelicals seem powerless to convict, engage, and transform the secular world, says English professor Louis A. Markos. That may be because we've lost our capacity to wonder, he says. We need to capture the imagination as well as the mind of the unbeliever. We need fresh ways to reflect on the Incarnation as the great myth that is also true.
Total number of pages—70