So here is what we did to transform Bible class from a place to come and discuss to a place where we discuss and apply. We opened up our Bibles with this question in front of us: “Who did Jesus and the early church give their attention to? Followed by this question, “How are we as a group doing that today?”
Here is what we came up with based primarily on Luke 4:18-19, James 1:27, and Gal 6:10:
- First and foremost we have to be about loving and serving each other (Gal 6:10). I would say we have that one down very, very well. We don’t need to be so outward looking that we overlook the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ. But we don’t need to be so inward looking that we fail to recognize the needs of a lost, dying, and hurting world that is all around us.
- The lost – Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Lk 19:10) and that was the mission of the early church (Mtt 28:19-20). We call this evangelism.
- The poor/homeless and prisoners
- The sick
- We added in our college and youth group age because we don’t connect them in very well and need to give this attention. Our youth ministry is one of the best I have been around but like many congregations we struggle in integrating them into the rest of the congregation and forming relationships with people outside the youth group.
Next we got organized for action:
- We split the class up into six groups to represent our areas of focus.
- These groups were given sticky notes to write their ideas on of what we can actually do to make a difference in their lives.
- Each group sent up a spokesperson to share their ideas.
- Then we split our 20s & 30s group up to give every member a responsibility in one of these areas.
- They all got together and put together a game plan and picked dates for their group to serve. Each group has two Sundays between now and the end of February to do something for their target population.
How this plays out on a weekly basis:
- Each Sunday our class has two simultaneous meetings. The group for that week gets together in one room and does their service. The rest of our class meets in the room next door.
- While they are serving or out serving we pray for them and we have a Bible study about their area of service. Example: last week our shutins/widow(er)s group wrote cards to everyone in the church in that group introducing that we were going to try to meet their needs better as a class. On a future Sunday we will go to our shutins and bring the worship/Bible study to them on a Sunday morning.
- While they were planning and writing letters, everyone else was having a class on what the Bible teaches us about the elderly. We prayed for their service project and they came back in at the end of class and reported what they had done.
- Each week we will introduce what is coming the next week and hear the success or what was learned from the previous week. That way we are all being encouraged in hearing how God is using our ministry to serve others every single week!
- We will also be having deacons/ministers and community leaders involved in these areas come in and talk to the class about how we can serve our community in each of these areas.
Next week our orphans group will be coordinating a project to help that group in our community. It is awesome to see these guys at work. They love God so much and want so badly to serve others and learn more about God. I can’t think of a better way to learn than to get our hands dirty in service while being informed by scripture! I write this in hopes that maybe it will inspire someone else out there to put their faith into action in an organized way for a class or small group. I will let you know how this goes in the coming weeks and months!