St. Paul United Methodist Church
Friday, February 24, 2017
Matthew 28:18-20 Project
THE MATTHEW 28:18-20 PROJECT
Diane Alley, Spiritual Formation Team Leader
The Matthew 28:18-20 Project is a new program at St. Paul that attempts to take the church out into our communities through neighborhood study groups. In the Gospel of Matthew, as Christ was about to leave the earth, one of his last instructions to his disciples was to take his teachings out into the world:
"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.' (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
St. Paul is a powerhouse of people who have been in Sunday school and short-term classes for years. Some in our congregation may feel God nudging them to take their knowledge and ability outside the church walls. Often there are people in our communities who may not be comfortable inside a church, but who would be open to a study led by one of their friends or neighbors.
An advantage of using one of the 129 books in the LifeGuide Bible series for these neighborhood study groups is both the reasonable cost of the series and its use of a discussion format. This discussion format alleviates a great deal of work for the study leader. The leader needs only to introduce the topic to the group and present the discussion questions. Preparation time is about 45 minutes to an hour for each session. Further, studies can be held on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis depending on the time constraints of the leader and participants.
If participants should later decide that they would like to consider making St. Paul their church home, information will be available for them to privately investigate this option. The inside of the LifeGuide book cover will include both our facebook page and website addresses.
The LifeGuide Bible Studies are a free resource to anyone who feels called to take the church out into the community through a study group. But for those wishing to use other study materials under the umbrella of this Project, please run the materials by our senior pastor to make sure they are in line with Methodist doctrine since this is a Methodist project.
Of course anyone can start a study group individually which is not under the umbrella of the Matthew 28:18-20 Project or St. Paul and use whatever study materials they wish. This Project is not meant to intrude on other equally worthy options.
A table will be set up each week in the front of the social hall so that interested persons can inspect or order any of the LifeGuide Bible Study series. All are welcome to take the books home to inspect. Please note the book(s) on the check-out sheet and return them to the table in the following weeks so that others have a chance to check that particular study out also. If there is a study you're interested in, but which is not available on the table, please fill out a book order form so that a copy can be obtained for you to examine. There is also a form available to sign up for prayer support from St. Paul if you decide to take the church beyond our walls and into the community as a study leader.