Posted by: Philip Rushton | August 22, 2011

Finding a Place Where Truth Meets Life

(This article will be printed in the up-coming newsletter, thought I would post it on the blog in advance)

As we gear up for fall, I have been working on organizing and putting into place a variety of small group and adult education opportunities. We will be having over 20 different groups available this fall ranging from Sunday morning study groups, Wednesday night study groups, Thursday morning women’s Bible study, numerous morning men’s groups, and a number of other small groups that meet in various locations throughout the week. As we start this new season of ministry at the church I’d encourage you to find a place to plug in to one of these smaller groups.

There is something about a small group setting that captures an important element of discipleship that can be missed in a larger worship setting. It is in the smaller group setting that we are invited to interact with material, discuss it with friends and find ways to apply truth to life.

One of the things I’ve shared with our small group leaders is the vision for leading groups where truth meets life. These two elements are important to hold together. If we just have ‘truth’ focused group, our spiritual journey is reduced to getting the right answer, and getting our facts straight. If we just have ‘life’ groups, then our Christian journey can be reduced to a social experience or a therapeutic support group. The ideal is when we discover a place where truth meets life – a context where we can wrestle with the truth of scripture and explore how it changes our lives.
When I look at Jesus’ model of discipleship it was very engaging and interactive. The disciples were not sitting down vigorously taking notes as he gave a well-polished speech. Jesus asked his disciples penetrating questions and he told them stories that forced them to wrestle with and apply his ideas.

U.S. President James Monroe said, “the question to be asked at the end of an educational step is not, ‘what has the student learned?” but ‘what has the student become.” This, I think, captures something that is true about the Christian journey as well. As Bill Donahue aptly puts it, “Jesus never said ‘all power in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore into all the world and complete the curriculum.’” Instead, Jesus commissions us to become disciples who learn to obey everything he commanded.

The trajectory in the Christian life, then, is towards life transformation. As it says in Ephesians 4, the purpose of teaching and preaching is to “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” The goal of discipleship is not to have all our facts straight but to become mature and experience the fullness of Christ.

I’m looking forward to the next season of ministry at the church. I’d encourage you to find a place where truth can intersect with your life in a transformative way. Stay tuned for a list of groups that will be starting this September. More details on the studies and groups being offered will be made available soon. If you are wondering what group to get involved in let me know and I’d be glad to help you get plugged in.

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Responses

  1. I totally like your accurate and well-said perspective. Life and truth intersecting. Yes!!

  2. Hi Phil, This reminds me that recently I heard a person refer to the people assembling for a worship service as the “audience”. My understanding of the term “audience” is that it is a group of people watching something, — spectators. I am looking forward to learing about more small group opportunities being offered in which people are encouraged to become participants. As you said “people will be invited to interact with material, discuss it with friends and find ways to apply truth to life”.

    • Thanks Louella,

      Yes, there is a real danger for church to become very consumer oriented. Hence the term ‘church shopping.’ Church is often understood as a place where we are passive recipients, when really it is meant to be an interactive process. Blessings as you continue with all the groups you are involved in at the church!


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