Friday, January 18, 2008

The Table: its purpose

My small group study for this week and the next 3 weeks will revolve around a sermon series called "The Table". This study begins by defining the table and examining some characteristics of its purpose.
Big Idea:
The church is a table of sorts. It’s a place where followers of Christ gather for spiritual nourishment. It’s also a place where we share life, love, and laughter. Unfortunately, many people don’t come to the church table. Whether because of misconceptions or simply because they are not invited, people stay away.

The church, like a table, has a primary purpose and was designed for a specific function. However, many churches have allowed “mission drift” to confuse their primary purpose with their secondary purposes and as a result they are majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors. To them, the table has become about a lot of things; good things, important things, but not the main thing. So what is the main purpose of the table; of the church? Here’s the answer. The table (church) exists to bring the family together in close proximity in order to receive spiritual nourishment while exchanging love, laughter, and life. The challenge that we have in building a church in this culture is to get people to the table and to get them connected to others at the table and to keep them growing at the table. This week, let’s take a look at three things that prevent people from coming to the table and how we can make the table an inviting place.

Discussion Questions: (read the scripture & discuss)

1. It is perceived as irrelevant and boring: However, if you are on fire with a passion for God, people will come running to watch you burn. The antidote to boredom and irrelevance is not entertainment; rather it is passion.
Acts 2:42-47 => What was the passion of the early church? Passion isn’t just what you do, but how and why you do it. What was the result of their passion? What would this look like today? How are you displaying your passion?

2. People are used to eating junk food: Eating the same thing at every meal is not healthy, especially if it is only dessert. We need a balanced and nourishing spiritual meal in order to grow and remain strong.
1 Peter 2:1-3 & Hebrews 5:11-14 => What kind of food does Peter suggest we crave and why? Should we only drink milk? Why not? What does the writer of Hebrews say we should eat in order to mature and how often should we be eating it? Give examples of spiritual junk food. What would a healthy spiritual meal look like?

3. We don’t invite them to the table: Every one of us is called by Christ to bring people into the family. We are to be fishers of men who are actively sharing the good news.
Matthew 9:9-13 & Mark 1:14-18 => Matthew’s initial response to meeting Jesus was to invite others to the table. Are you actively bringing people into the family, inviting them to the table, and feeding them? Give examples and tell stories.

Taking Action: What are you doing at your church to prepare for company; to make this table an inviting and nourishing place? Examine your small group as it relates to these three criteria. Is it inviting and nourishing? Pray together about who you will be inviting to the table.

1 comment:

Anita Hensley said...

and we need to serve the whole of the Word at the table not just the parts we like...