Here’s the Believe buzz from the small groups week 6:
In our reading this week from Acts 1:9-11, the risen Christ has just ascended into heaven. The disciples were still gazing up to heaven when two dressed in white stood beside them and asked “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus…will come back the same way you have seen him go.” In other words, don’t keep lollygagging into the sky! Get busy fulfilling Christ’s commission to go into all the world, sharing the Good News! In all likelihood, the messengers in white probably didn’t use the word “lollygagging”. But if there was an Aramaic or Greek equivalent in their day, they would have!
As Randy Frazee points out, as followers of Christ, we need to remember the perpendicular of our faith. We need both the strong vertical connection with God, and also the horizontal connection with other believers and outreach to those not-yet believers. “Love God with all your heart, soul and mind. AND love your neighbor as you love yourself!”
In discussing Chapter 6, we focused on the fact that “the church” is the medium now utilized to spread Christianity, and that the church is a body of people, not a building, location, etc. We focused on the belief that it is our responsibility, as members of the church, to carry-on and share the love, acceptance and teachings of Jesus’ to those outside our church, as well as to those within. This chapter probably generated the most enthusiasm of the six discussed to date. We all have to let our individual lights shine, to use our gifts from God to favor Him, and to continue in our development as integral parts of the church – the body of Christ.
Our text this week makes mention of a disturbing trend wherein young people are leaving the church early on in their lives, and not returning after “settling down” and starting families. The Church today is losing its numbers and the Millennial Generation is said to “represent the least religious generation in American history.” Our Thursday group discussed some possible reasons for this phenomenon. In this fast paced culture, people are busy and distracted. Sometimes our teaching, especially at the early ages is ineffective, and once young people head off into the world, or college, secularism takes hold.
So what’s the fix? How do we as “the Church” deal with these trends? First, we need to recognize that God has a plan for the Church, and that plan must be central to all of our efforts. We must also accept that it is impossible to be all things to all people. However, it is much more realistic to focus on two or three things that we do really well and continue to expand and improve on those. While social media certainly has its flaws and evils, we should also embrace the opportunity to be heard. The opportunity to tell our story. The opportunity to offer up a better life in Christ!
We spent a lot of time talking about the tradition of baptism and how the church (the body of Christ) was started with the baptism of the holy spirit after Jesus ascended to heaven. Where does the tradition come from and do you have to be baptized to become a Christian? Our consensus was you don’t have to be baptized with water to be a Christian. It is a public display of a private decision made before one is baptized. We are the body and the church isn’t the building and as Christians we all believe in the same God.
Had a great evening. I hope that all participants realized as we do that the “Church” is the people and that we “the people” are to spread the good news and continue as a family working together as the body of Christ.
Enjoy Come Holy Spirit Come