Equipping Churches Release and Support Their People for Work Outside the Church
This small group at Opawa Baptist Church meets monthly and follows a set three-part format, the three ‘dwellings’. Each part is delegated for a different person to lead each meeting.
1. Dwelling in the Word
Choose a Bible passage relevant to work. The group listens to the passage read and stops to think in silence about what it says to them. Then members of the group each share in turn their responses before reflecting together on what they are hearing.
2. Dwelling in the Work
Choose a case study from your work experience. The group listens to the experience described. Each person is invited to think about their response to this in silence and then share with the group their response. They concentrate particularly on answering two questions:
Everyone offers their feedback before there is any discussion.
3. Dwelling in the Practice
Choose a particular practice that you have found helpful and/or that might be of help to the group. Group members discuss how they see the implications of this for them. The group time concludes with members sharing needs and offering support and prayer for each other.
Equipping churches encourage their people to build relationships with both Christians and non-Christians in the marketplace. They recognise that this may mean some people have less time available for church roles. They resist the fear that emphasising the importance of ministry in daily life might undermine the recruitment of people for other important church leadership functions. They believe that people will be more committed to supporting a church that sets in front of them a large and exciting vision of God at work in their world and that helps them to discern their part in this and resources them for it. As Miroslav Volf says, ‘We need to build and strengthen mature communities of vision and character who celebrate faith as a way of life as they gather before God for worship and who, sent by God, live it out as they scatter to pursue various tasks in the world.’
Volf, M. “The Church’s Great Malfunctions” (Christianity Today, October 2006) quoted in Neil Hudson, Imagine Church, p140.