Hundreds of ideas for Christian groups with a wealth of activities, studies, prayers and resources for groups of all ages. Contents are: Ideas for integrated Bible studies; Ideas for Bible studies and prayers; Ideas for church activities – devotional, educational, creative, serving, social, sporting; Ideas for all ages together; Ideas for building relationships.
This book offers a huge range of activities, arranged according to group activities. It provides a wide range of activities for many different kinds of groups. The first section, Ideas for Integrated Bible Studies, gives you four group studies on each of the themes or topics.
How to use this book
Ideas for integrated Bibles studies The Great Experiment
Finding New Life
Living New Life
Great Chapters – Old Testament
Great Chapters – New Testament
Ideas for Bible studies and prayers Bible passages
Bible study methods
Bible reading and relationship building
Bible readings and prayers
Ideas for church activities Program emphases: Devotional, Educational, Creative, Serving, Social, Sporting
Witness and Sharing Weekend
Gifts Check List
Ideas for all ages together Activities involving young children and others
Activities involving older children and others
Family and church family questionnaires
Useful teaching activities
ABC of resource ideas
Simulation activities. Simulation Game: Build my Church
Ideas for building relationships Deep – ideas and attitudes
Deeper – ideals and values
Deepest – ideologies and commitments
What is your main love language?
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Dr CharlesV. Taylor wrote as a well known Australian linguist, Bible teacher, author, and Christian magazine contributor. His doctoral studies researched the Nkore-Kiga language of Uganda in Africa where he served as a missionary.
Can the leopard change his spots? This, and the question about the Ethiopian’s skin, is found, surprisingly enough, in Jeremiah 13:23. I used to think it was in Proverbs. The text is appropriate to the subject of discipleship, because the second half of the verse says literally: ‘Can you also do good, you who are discipled to do evil?’ It seems we can be under false discipleship as well as the healthy version.
The English word ‘disciple’ comes from Latin and means a learner. The corresponding Greek New Testament word mathetes comes from manthano, ‘to learn’, so it’s the same idea. In fact, even ‘mathematics’ originally meant something learned, a science.
The Hebrew word for ‘disciple’ is found only six times in the Bible. This word, limmud, is translated in the old King James Bible as ‘taught’, ‘learned’ (twice), ‘accustomed’, fused’, and ‘disciple’. Originally it meant ‘goaded’.
Do you remember how Gideon promised to ‘teach’ the men of Succoth in Judges 8:16? He taught them with thorns and briers. They were goaded into knowledge. In some such way, may not God sometimes goad us into the knowledge of the truth?
Whether you accept that or not, the idea of being a learner is associated with ‘coming into line’, or as we also say, ‘being disciplined’. That’s why the biblical reference translates limmud as ‘accustomed’ or ‘becoming used to’. In Jeremiah 13:23 the leopard can’t change his coat. He’s grown quite used to it. True, he didn’t have to be taught, but he’s marked for life.
A Christian should be marked for life. A Christian should, without being forced, stand out in the world as somebody different. Whether some sort of badge is worn or not, the world should be able to recognize the Christian, and the Christian should attract others, not to him/herself, but to Christ.
When someone is converted to Christ, the first thing should be to say so, as Romans 10:9-10 explains. All churches worthy of the name should also offer baptism of some kind or other, and the Christian can also be distinguished by ‘going to church’, which in this mobile age is unfortunately not so universal as it used to be. The home churches are wonderful, but without cover and discipleship they can give the impression that Christians are all ‘separated by a common faith’, just as many of my linguist friends used to say that Britain and the United States are ‘separated by a common language’, referring to misunderstandings that can occur from the two sorts of English.
The outsider wants to see at least some resemblance to a united front, to submission to the Gospel, to some sort of discipline and discipleship. Isaiah 54:13 says we should all be children taught (discipled) by the Lord. Jesus said that to be converted we had to become like little children.
A process of uniting Christians
So I see discipleship as a process of uniting Christians, while not making them all identical. All leopards don’t have the same spot patterns. When I lived in Ethiopia for two years I found that all Ethiopians were not the same sort of black. And if you (rightly) tell me that ancient Ethiopia is today’s Sudan, well, the same thing holds there too. God isn’t stamping us all with an identical mould. But he does want us to be basically recognizable, and truth is one and indivisible.In Isaiah 50:4 the prophet says God gave the Servant of the Lord the tongue of the learned, that is, of the discipled. With this tongue we can sustain the weary. In Isaiah 8:16 the law must be sealed up among his disciples, which seems to mean that they alone will really know the Lord’s mind.
If this is so, may it not be that it reflects the fact that the true disciple or learner from God is able to understand spiritual things which those outside just can’t understand? Isn’t it true that when a Christian speaks of things that move him/her most, outsiders are just puzzled? That’s a sure sign that a person has been born again through the Holy Spirit. The reason for this is not that the Christian lives in a sealed case, but that, living openly in the world, the Christian is sealed ‘with that Holy Spirit of promise’ (Ephesians 1:13) and so is often a mystery to friends who are not themselves learning from Jesus.
The basic idea of a disciple is one who learns along with others. It was unusual in the ancient world to find single disciples of one leader. What is more, the disciple is not the slave of his leader. He is only a learner, following an example or following some counsel. John 15:8 indicates that discipleship with Jesus is manifested by bearing fruit, by a life modelled on the disciple’s teacher, or at least on his teaching. We bear fruit by staying in the vine.
Now if a teacher has a number of disciples, it is more likely that needs will be met. One of the benefits of preaching is that in a mixed multitude, the listener cannot usually say the speaker is directing the message at him/herself alone. For this reason, a listener, and in the same way a disciple, is more likely to take to heart what is said and imitate what is done.
You might sum up discipleship as loyalty, first to Christ and then to Christian leaders that we learn from. But, as with everything else in life, loyalty must not become inflexible, or it becomes merely a new slavery. To guard against this we should look at Galatians 4:2, where Paul is telling us about tutelage.
We shouldn’t always be learning and never coming to the truth (2 Timothy 3:7). Some people lean on others beyond the stage where they should become distinctive and free in themselves. We can get into bondage to people as well as to rules. So yes, be loyal to those who are over you in the faith, but let your first loyalty be to the unseen Jesus, manifested in the word of God.
As Paul even challenged Peter, who was before him in the faith, let’s all pull together and stand firm in the freedom in which Christ has made us free.
And of course, like-Paul, let’s do everything in love.
(c) 2011, 2nd edition. Reproduction allowed with copyright included in text.
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20).
We know the Great Commission well. The closing verses of Matthew give Jesus’ commission to his followers during a resurrection appearance on a mountain in Galilee. Usually we hear it used, and have used it ourselves, as an evangelistic mission mandate. It is that, and much more.
The focus is not merely on the task, but on the reason for the task – the reason for the “therefore”. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” Jesus announced. “Go, therefore, and make disciples.” This commission concerning discipleship stems directly from who Jesus is as Lord of all. We are commanded to make people his disciples.
Not make converts – though conversion is integral to the task.
Not make decisions – though life-changing decisions are involved in the task.
Not make church members – though incorporation in the church is essential to the task.
But make disciples.
Jesus’ disciples are to make disciples from all people groups – taethna – from all the ethnic groups – from all the nations. They are his disciples, baptized into him, and obedient to him.
Jesus’ discipleship commission does not focus on information but on formation; not on teaching knowledge but on teaching obedience: “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Naturally that involves knowing what he taught them but the great commission, the final command, is to obey. That’s breathtaking!
What did he command them to do? Love God totally. Love others. Repent. Forgive. Serve. Pray. Believe. Heal the sick. Cast out demons. Proclaim the astounding good news of the kingdom of God. The reign of God has broken into this world, shaking everything, transforming everything.
The great commission is the strongest evidence against a cessationist theory – that what Jesus did and what his disciples did was only for the establishment of the church or only for the first century. Jesus’ final instruction to his disciples is that what he did and what they did must not cease, but must be passed on to all generations – to the end of the age.
Impossible? Certainly it is impossible through our own resources: “Without me you can do nothing.” Hence, the incredible final promise “I am with you always – to the end of the age.”
Disciples of Jesus
Discipleship, then, is the total process of making disciples of Jesus who are obedient to their living Lord.
That involves evangelism, mission, and equipping those new disciples for obedient mission. This issue of the Renewal Journal looks at a few of those tasks: evangelism, mission, making disciples of Jesus who make disciples of Jesus.
I reproduce reports on transformation in the South Pacific in the 21st century.
Brian Medway applies lessons learned from revival in Argentina to the Australian scene.
Rodney Howard-Browne talks about God doing what he said he would do. Lindell Cooley describes the impact of revival on his own discipleship and that of others.
Robert McQuillan surveys fresh moves of God’s Spirit across England.
Peter Earle examines mentoring as it relates to discipleship.
Charles Taylor reflects on the meaning of discipleship.
Paula Sandford reports on a gathering from among the nations – the ethnic groups – seeking to obey the Spirit in one body. Stephen Milstead provides an overview of John Dawson=s approach to discipling cities, an approach well illustrated in Argentina today as indicated in the first article in this issue.
Nothing is so radical as making disciples of Jesus. Jesus and his early disciples proclaimed and demonstrated the reign of God in all of life. The kingdom of God has broken into this fallen world through Jesus, God’s Son, the Anointed One. His life, death, and resurrection change everything. The first are last and the last are first. The least are the greatest and the greatest are the servants of all.
This issue of the Renewal Journal only begins to explore such radical changes. The great commission still confronts us all with the implications of Jesus’ authority in heaven and on earth – his total Lordship.
As you read, pray with us the prayer Jesus taught us, including, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
What can be more radical than that?
(c) 2011, 2n edition. Reproduction allowed with copyright included in text.
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