Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed that branches out and grows into a huge plant, or to yeast that mixes through dough (Luke 13:18-21). The Apostle Paul said that God “uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Churches are meant to grow. Our vision for MCC is that we would branch out, expand, permeate our whole region with the good news of God’s love in Jesus. In the next 5-10 years, we want to establish “outposts” throughout Muskoka and Almaguin that will be localized expressions of our unique culture, vision, values, and mission. To see this happen, our most immediate need (and our focus for 2018) is developing and implementing an intentional strategy to help people grow as disciples.
How do you feel about the beyond-the-horizon vision of expanding our influence throughout Muskoka and Almaguin?
How do you feel about the immediate vision of working on our approach to helping people grow spiritually (discipleship)?
Listening to Scripture
Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, asking God to speak to you as you read.
Is there anything that stood out to you as you read the passage?
Was there anything you didn’t understand? Does the group offer any insight/clarity?
In v. 14, Paul says “Christ’s love compels us.” To do what? Because of his experience of the love of God found in Jesus, what did Paul feel compelled to do? Look for clues in vv. 11, 19-21.
In v. 17 Paul mentions the “new creation” that happens in those who are “in Christ.” What does he mean by this? How has Christ made a difference in your life? Make a list together of all the benefits of having Jesus (church, God, faith) in your life.
In vv. 18-21 Paul talks about the message and ministry of “reconciliation.” What does it mean to be reconciled to God?
How do we engage in the “ministry of reconciliation” (ministry = service in Greek)?
In 2-4 sentences summarize the “message of reconciliation” (the gospel) as you understand it. Try to avoid using “churchy” words—use language an unchurched friend could understand. Share your summaries with each other.
The Apostle Paul was one of the most prolific church planters in the early church. God used him to spread the gospel across the known world. The passage we just read gives us a glimpse into how he saw his own ministry. How can his approach to ministry give us insight into what God is calling us to do as we seek to expand our influence into every nook and cranny of Muskoka?
If we are on a mission together to help people be reconciled (reconnected) to their Creator, what kind of things would be helpful/beneficial to us and enable us to accomplish this mission? How does our own discipleship/growth affect our ability to influence others?
Our vision to expand our influence across Muskoka/Almaguin is not about us. It’s about people who need to be reconnected with God, who need the hope and love that we have found in Christ. Think back to the “new creation” benefits you listed out as a group. Sometimes we feel that we don’t have much to offer as Christians, that no one wants to hear our message. And yet we believe Jesus has made a huge positive difference in our own lives. Take a moment to reflect on all the good things God does for us, allowing him to bring to mind people in your life that would also benefit from having those things. Make a list of ten people that you know who could use a church like ours.
Finish your group time by praying for them as a group (first names may be most appropriate). Continue to pray for them in the coming weeks.