Phase 5: Sent
“We see a church where people can find biblical community. We believe that the church should be the best place to build honest and encouraging relationships that speak, share, and seek to live out God’s truth.”
1 Corinthians 9:19-23
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
- The manner in which Austin New Church was named is where Jen begins in Phase 5. What are your thoughts? How is a church named, and what name would you choose for a church?
- As we finish up “Out of Kindergarten,” what are your thoughts about the birth of a new church? Have you ever experienced anything like that before (could be a church, a non-profit organization, a business…)? What was it like?
- On pages 198-199, Jen describes the difference between mission and missional. What is your understanding of these differences?
- Page 200: “Among, beside, within—this is the way of the Trinity. God has gone to people since the day He walked in the garden. People came to Him only after an encounter, after a revelation, after He is the initiator, meeting humans on their turf in the middle of their chaos. God understood that we were too broken and confused to find Him in His divine dwelling places. Once we belong to Him, we know where to look for sweet communion, but until then, He comes to us.” How have you experienced these words?
- Also on page 200, Jen writes, “On a practical level, why would we expect unbelievers to come to church with no provocation? What do they know of the beauty of the Spirit?…But why would cynics join a weekend celebration of a God they don’t know, especially One who has been so poorly represented by His people?” Here, she encourages us to bring the message to THEM. How does this make you feel?
- Page 202: “[Christian subculture causes us to] turn a blind eye to the customs, cultures, communities, and contexts where people live their lives with different preferences and worldviews right next door to us.” Are we blind to the cultures around us? How do we balance sharing the Gospel and compromising?
- “’Church must not be the goal of the gospel anymore. Church should not be the focus of our efforts or the banner we hold up to explain what we’re about. Church should be what ends up happening as a natural response to people wanting to follow us, be with us, and be like us as we are following the way of Christ.’” (page 203) What does this passage speak to you?
- When WE are transformed by Christ, the World sees it. Non-believers can SEE something and experience something tangible. How can we share this change, this way of life, with those around us?
- “’[Jesus] doesn’t need us to stick up for him; he needs us to represent him, to be like him, to look like him and to talk like him, to be with people that he would be with, and to take the side of the ‘ignorant’ instead of those in the ‘know.’’” (page 206) How are we representing Jesus?
- “Love has won infinitely more converts than theology.” (page 206) What is the difference and why does it matter?
- What is the “new set of rights” Jen shares with us on Page 210? Why do we have these rights? Why do these rights matter?
- What is the difference between leading in love or leading in doctrine? (Refer to page 211)
- Why is it so important to know the communities we are serving? What does it mean to truly serve?
- Page 222: “When love regulates our liberty, we create a context to share the gospel and have it actually received…But if they are offended by our representation of God, then we’ll answer for our arrogance. We can help that, and we had better do it.” How do our actions affect others’ response to God?
- How are we living in mission? How do we represent Christ in our communities and places of employment?
- “There will never be enough knowledge to fill the cracks of Christian maturity without the fruit of selfless service manifested in our lives. Our lives must reflect this heart of Christ, or we will always remain one click away.” (page 228) Where do we seek fullness and growth? Where do we go deeper?
- Let’s read Ephesians 3:17-19. What does this passage of scripture speak to you?
- Page 229: “Do we really need to be fed more of the Word, or are we simply undernourished from an absence of living the Word?” Thoughts?
- Page 231-232, Jen writes about small groups. What are your thoughts after reading this? What changes would you make to our own small group? Where do we go from here?
- “I believe the largest factor in feeling unfed is not feeding others.” (page 232) Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- How can we live missionally, here in Champaign-Urbana? Here in our places of employment? Here as parents, as coworkers, as fellow heirs of Christ?
- “Decode the love language of the tribe around you, and speak it. It’s not rocket science. Win them over to you, and you’ll have the best chance to win them over to Christ.” (page 237) How do we do this? What have you experienced or witnessed as to the love language of your community?
- In conclusion, how are you inspired to serve God, to share Christ, and to be NEW right where you are?