Missional Church (pt 1) – The Message – Matthew 28v16-20.
(For CBC house groups on 15th Sep 2010 – for word doc download click here)
In this first of four studies centred on the theme of church planting, we look at Jesus’ message to his disciples – his mission statement for the worldwide church to pursue until he comes back. This message is to be the beating heart of every local church, an unending commission that calls the church to the task of world evangelisation supported by local training; of pioneer missionary endeavour combined with feeding the flock.
1. What comes to mind when you think of church planting? Spend a few moments in the group sharing experiences of those who have been involved in church planting in the UK and abroad. What have we learnt from our experiences?
2. The authority and presence of the Lord are the two bookends to the Great Commission. How do these two aspects of Jesus’ reign impact our approach to outreach and discipleship? How does the enemy seek to undermine our confidence in both these areas?
3. Jim reminded us that the great need in Scotland is for “proclamation allied to planting”. What would you say is the greatest priority for the church to focus on in order to further this goal? How do our local church and denominational structures support or hinder this goal?
4. Jim said “the church that gives, lives” – how does the example of the early church in Jerusalem (Acts 4.32-35) and Antioch (Acts 13.1-3) inspire us to undertake this challenge? How did these churches receive blessing for their obedience?
5. Jim argued that we cannot separate the task of growing the local church from mission. What happens to a church when they are separated? What do we need to change in our individual and corporate lives to re-unite these two?
6. Jesus was the watershed in turning God’s kingdom message from “Come” (to the temple) to “Go” (into all the world). What has replaced the temple in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 3.16-17)? Does this perspective help us overcome the attacks we mentioned in question 2b?
7. Someone once asked the question “Why should anyone hear the gospel twice before everyone has heard it once.” How would you answer this in the light of our discussion tonight? What would you say to someone who thought that “mission” only happened overseas? How can we be more effective in reaching those who have never heard in Dundee and beyond?
As the church grows, it is inevitable that it will expand into new territories and people groups. Jesus’ vision for the growth of the church across the entire world is to be like the strawberry plant – sending out runners into new areas, supported and upheld from the sending plant until it is ready to put down its own roots and send out runners from this new base. This view of the great commission helps to overcome the barriers we sometimes place between church ministry and world mission. We desperately need those (like Paul) with a burning ambition to preach Christ where He is not known (Romans 15.20) but, for a lasting impact, these pioneer missionaries must be followed by those who (like Apollos) have a heart for training and discipleship (1 Corinthians 3.6). Spend a few moments reflecting on where God would have us contribute most effectively to the extension of His kingdom.