What’s Next?

During my time in youth ministry in Arkansas, two young men were particularly adept at pushing my buttons. Every time we would be at a youth event they were constantly asking me what was going to happen next. For a while, I gave them an answer. But, that just led to them trying to persuade me to do something different. Eventually I opted to keep them guessing. If they asked, “What’s next?” I would reply, “You’ll have to wait and see.”

Well, the wait is over. If you’ve been wondering what was going to happen after we finished our travels through The Story, now is the time for you to find out. Over the summer months I am going to take some time to walk through some of the scriptures which were important to my doctoral research. In essence I’m going to share with you what I’ve been studying and learning over the past 15 months.

Don’t worry, though. It won’t be as dry and boring as it may sound. I promise that I won’t preach in the third person, past tense. The pastor thought that was too stuffy for a sermon. Basically, this summer will be me sharing my heart about relationships, leadership, and the future of the church. As you all know, I’ve been eating, sleeping, and breathing these topics for quite a while now. Finally, I get to share them with you.

We will begin by looking at Luke’s account of the sending of the seventy. You may remember that Jesus sends 70 disciples out to minister in the Judean countryside. This small story has big implications for us as a community of faith, and as individuals. Although we will begin with a one-week overview of the story, we may come back and spend more time on it later.

We will also spend some time in John’s gospel. There we will think deeply about what it meant for Jesus to wash the feet of his disciples, and listen again to some of Jesus’ last words. These two passages of scripture provide us with a framework for how we are to interact not only within the community of the church, but in the wider world as well.

And, we would be remiss if we didn’t spend some time with the Apostle Paul. We will investigate what he had to say to the church in Corinth about being the body of Christ. Most of us will be familiar with the 1 Corinthians 13, also known as the love chapter. And we may have heard the idea of the church being the body of Christ, but did you know that these two important images are tied together? And what does it mean to be the body of Christ, anyway? That’s what we’re going to talk about!

We won’t neglect the Hebrew Bible (aka the Old Testament) either. We’ll take a close look at a small portion of the creation story to develop an understanding of how we are to relate to one another. It will be an interesting journey through scripture which will help us understand more clearly how we are to relate to one another as part of the church, and how we relate to the world around us.

Yes, we will touch on issues of leadership, culture, structure, and many other topics. But, our main focus will be on how we, as individuals, and as a church, are called to live as followers of Jesus Christ. I’m excited to share this journey with you. And I promise that it won’t be like sitting through endless hours of someone’s vacation photos! We are on this journey together. You’ve been by my side as I have scouted the way. Now, I’m ready to guide us through this next part of our journey together as a community of faith.

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