God's Plan In the Church:

Study Guide
by David Chadwell

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Lesson Eleven

Describe our "target group" for generating members. If we successfully reached and converted the type of people that the congregation most desires for members, generally speaking, what would be the identifying characteristics of these people?

1. Socially and economically? They would be neither significantly beneath "us" or above "us." Their social and economic situation would not make "us" uncomfortable.
2. Educationally? They would not be significantly less educated or more educated than "us."
3. Ethnically? Their culture would be similar to ours, and it would be preferable that they be Americanized.
4. Lifestyles? Their lives are involved in similar things and they enjoy similar things.
5. Identification of and approaches to social, moral, and world problems? They identify the same things as problems that "we" identify, and they are convicted that those problems should be approached in the same way "we" recommend.

Would this general identification be accurate? Couples or families in their first marriage. Adults employed with marketable skills. Adults with adequate money management skills. If a married couple, a loving, stable marriage. If a family, a sound husband and wife relationship; parents who have a sound, responsible relationship with their children. Adults who possess good "people skills" and quickly relate well in the church. "Self-starting" adults with a desire and strong personal motivation to serve.

Would one or more of these place a question mark on a person? Troubled marriage? Marital separation? Divorce? Troubled children? Long hair on the male? Long beard? Tattoos? Body piercing? Distinctive clothing? Obvious personal problems? Obvious dependency traits?

Remember that we already have loved, respected, appreciated members in this congregation who would not fit within the "target group." Remember that we have loved, respected, appreciated members who are maritally separated, or divorced, or have troubled children, or have long hair, or have beards, or have tattoos, or have body piercing, or dress differently, or struggle with personal problems, or have dependency traits. They are loved, respected, and appreciated because we know and value the individual, the person.

Do you "feel" it: When you are wanted? When you are appreciated? When you are accepted for yourself? When you are being tolerated? When others look at you as being inferior? When you are received with forced politeness? Contrast your reaction when (a) you feel accepted and wanted with (b) when you feel forced politeness?

One of the major conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees was produced in the Pharisees' reactions to the people Jesus associated with, taught, and forgave.

The Pharisees had a profile of the "acceptable righteous person." The people Jesus taught and forgave did not fit their profile.

A Roman army officer expressed more faith than Jesus witnessed among the Israelites. Immediately afterward, Jesus made the statement in Matthew 8:11,12 (read).

1. In general, who were those who came "from the east and the west?"

2. What will they be allowed to do?

3. What will happen to the "sons of the kingdom?" Who were they?

4. Who worshipped at the temple, offered sacrifices, kept the traditions, observed the law, recognized scripture's authority, and had known God for generations?

5. Why were those from "the east and the west" given a place with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the sons of the kingdom cast out?

Read Galatians 3:26-29.

1. What is the basic qualification for being a part of God's family (verse 26)?

2. What person is clothed in Christ (verse 27)?

3. State the three basic, common distinctions that were recognized in the first century world (verse 28)?

  1. Distinction one:
  2. Distinction two:
  3. Distinction three:

4. Does God recognize these distinctions in the church (verse 28)? Should Christians recognize those distinctions as the church?

5. If the church is a community, what does this mean?

6. What makes every person a part of God's Israel with the full right to inherit the promise made to Abraham?

Read 1 Corinthians 12:13.

Read Colossians 3:8-11 and identify these people.

1. Greek

3. Circumcision

5. Barbarian

7. Slave

2. Jew

4. Uncircumcision

6. Scythian

8. Freeman

What is the meaning of "but Christ is all and in all."

Describe God's "target group" that He wants to save and have as a part of His church.

David Chadwell

Christians Nurturing Christians Study Guide (lesson 11)
Wednesday evening Bible class, Summer Quarter 1999
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Copyright © 1999
Permission is granted to freely copy and distribute with text unchanged, including author's name.
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