Pray: To open your time together.
Read: Matthew 16:18 & 13:44
Consider: Some thoughts for your group
When we choose to follow Jesus with all parts of our lives, we say “yes” to a number of things. We say “yes” to Jesus as king and set ourselves at His feet. We say “yes” to Jesus’ vision of the kingdom of heaven and not of this world, where virtues like humility, grace, and meekness are celebrated. And we say “yes” to living our lives as new kind of family, one called the Church.
For many, joining a church family is one of the harder parts of following Jesus. Over history, the Church has given many reasons for us to question its place and purpose in our lives. There has been scandal, abuse, and lots of weird ideas perpetuated in the Church for generations. And yet, scripture also calls the Church the “bride of Christ”. God’s beloved. And in truth, there is much in the Church that has been healing, redeeming, and hope-generating since the very beginning.
Just as the wedding vows say, “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health”, God continually renews his promise that He will build His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
- What does “the church” mean to you? How do you define what a church is?
- What is your experience with the Church? Not just Westside, but any churches you have been a part of that made an impact.
- What role does the church play in your life today? In what ways have you been hurt or disappointed with the church? In what ways has the church been healing or hopeful to you?
- On Sunday, Pastor Evan used the metaphor of a moving river for the history of the church. At times the church has seemed still and stagnant, at other times it has been roaring and strong. How would you characterize the church today?
What might God be doing in the global church in this time of tremendous change and challenge? What are you hopeful for in the church in this time of history?
Spend some time praying for one another, and for your pastors. Pray for unity and vision within our church family. The work ahead is tough, but God gives us a glorious hope that His church will never be overcome.