GOD’S STORY THROUGH YOU
God is changing the world, life by life, as He builds His Church and works through all of us together. He makes epicenters of impact that ripple out from every life—your life and our lives connected to other lives around the world. But when you hear the word “church,” is that what you picture?
Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
1. Describe your favorite story of a variety of flawed individuals that came together as a cohesive group to do something amazing. Why do you think this is possible?
2. What comes to your mind when you hear the word “church”? In what way has your perspective changed over the years?
3. Read Matthew 16:18. What kind of assurance do we have when we are disappointed with “church” or observe the Church under attack?
4. Read Galatians 3:28-29. Is the description God desires for the composition of His Church surprising to you? Why or why not?
5. Read Romans 12:4. Describe different ways people use their gifts, passions, time, and resources to work together as the Church.
6. If you created a self-portrait, what might it look like? How much of your self-portrait would overlap with the creation God wants to portray of Himself in the form of the Church?
7. Read John 17:20-23. Consider Jesus’ prayer for the Church. Are there any steps you feel prompted to take that would contribute to the self-portrait God wants the world to see? How can you work towards that this week?
Matthew 16:18 – I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.
Galatians 3:28-29 – There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
Romans 12:4 – Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body [the Church]. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
John 17:20-23 – My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
To dig deeper into the topics of this week’s message, check out the “Ministry” outcome on Gateway’s Spiritual Growth Path. Here’s an excerpt:
Knowing one’s spiritual gifts is a starting place. We must know the gifts God has given us, the way his Spirit has empowered us, so we can maximize our efforts by leaning into God’s strength and power. A spiritual gift is a tool, though, that can be used in a great many ways and a great many circumstances… Knowing our ministry is critical….To be sure, a person’s ministry may change over the years. God may best utilize a person in one season by directing them to one ministry and then later direct them to another. It’s also true that the way we often find our best ministry is by getting involved and trying things. At some point, though, the follower of Christ will have increased clarity and commitment to what he or she is called to do in that particular season. Scripture tells us “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10). These good works may or may not be formal roles and responsibilities, but they will be known and embraced by those who do them. The authentic follower of Christ will take joy in focus and will make the most of the opportunity God has given to make a lasting and critical difference in the lives of others.
To complete the outcome in its entirety, visit gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/ministry
Social Media Challenge
During this Best.Story.Ever. series, we’ve learned about the importance of our stories and how they intersect with God’s. Keeping in mind that the story of your intersection with Jesus is often the beginning of someone else’s invitation into God’s Story, challenge yourself to share your story with three different groups this week: 1) Someone you know but who doesn’t know your story. 2) Someone you meet. 3) Share it via social media. Use the hashtag: #OwnYourStory
SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES— gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/ministry