Missional Church (part 2) – The Mindset – Acts 17.16-33
For Central Baptist Church House Groups on the 29th September (for Word doc, click here)
In this second study in our Missional Church series we turn to the mindset required as we engage in church planting. Paul exemplified this mindset in his cross-cultural evangelism – willing to be flexible on every, and any, non-essential, but completely rock-solid on the core truths of the gospel.
1. Jim stated that central to a missional mindset is the ability to “observe, absorb and feel” – if you have time before the house group, spend an hour in the city centre observing and praying over the people walking by. Pray that God would give us compassion for the crowds as Jesus had (Matthew 9.36). Share some of your reflections on this experience with the group. Which of these three verbs do we prayerfully need to work on the most?
2. Paul’s Athenian sermon is a great example of communicating in a language our hearers understand. What points of contact does Paul use to draw in the crowd? When does the tension arise? What is the key teaching that they cannot accept?
3. Paul uses contemporary culture to build bridges to his hearers (see v 22,23 & 28). How can we use literature, media and conversations to understand people and listen to our culture? What messages do we hear? Spend some time sharing thoughts on how you could introduce & explain the gospel, beginning from areas of common ground (e.g. a song, book, movie or news story).
4. What are the main themes that Paul touches on in his message? How does Paul communicate the gospel? What aspects of God’s character does Paul focus on? How does he introduce sin, repentance and judgement?
5. Jim said “God has to do something in us, before he can do something through us.” What is God’s final objective in all His work in us (Romans 8.28-30, Hebrews 12.7-11)? How is that sometimes different from our objectives in life? Share an experience of when God has broken you in order to shape you.
6. Jim said one of the key things church planters need is “being prepared to take a hit” – have we taken a hit recently in our gospel witness? What are the points of tension with our society? Do you feel prepared to answer the objections? How can we gain a hearing for our response?
7. Jim stated that “the vast majority of our city do not worship the one true God revealed in Jesus Christ, and so numb have we become to that that we accept it as the norm.” Is this true for us? If so, what are we prepared to do for them? Are ready to enter the harvest field?
Paul’s missional mindset meant that, as well as adopting the style of his preaching to his hearers, he also accommodated his lifestyle, as much as he was able, to those he was witnessing to. While holding the central truths of the gospel with an unshakeable grip, he used every means possible to bring his message to life. This required a high level of maturity where he was able to distinguish the essential from the peripheral. May God grant that we also would be empowered with the same passion for being soul winners and see many in our homes, work and community come to know the only Saviour.
“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible…To the weak I become weak to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings. 1 Cor 9.19-23