I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week is a collection of resources from The Gospel Project to help a small group leader lead a group study of God’s people entering the promised land.
The Gospel Project is a Christ-centered Bible study for all ages that shows how all Scripture points to redemption through Jesus Christ and drives participants to be on mission. Today, I want you to hear about how small group leaders participate in the ministry of the Word in our churches and how they, and all Christians, have been entrusted with the responsibility of helping others see Christ in all of Scripture.
Many of us understand the important role small groups and small group leaders play in the discipleship process at our churches. But what we may not realize is the important part small group leaders play in the “ministry of the Word”—the preaching ministry of our churches (Acts 6:4). True, these leaders may not prepare sermons and speak from a pulpit or stage, but they are engaged in what Timothy Keller describes as the second level of Word ministry. In his book Preaching, he describes this second level as one less formal than delivering a sermon yet requiring more preparation and presentation skills than one-on-one conversations.
Although their role is different from that of preaching and teaching pastors, small group leaders are responsible for helping their group members see the bigger story of Scripture—to recognize how all of Scripture points to Jesus in some way and how all of God’s plans culminate in the person and work of Jesus.
In Gospel-Centered Teaching, Trevin Wax gives three diagnostic questions we should ask of every lesson or discussion we facilitate to help us maintain this focus:
- How does this topic/passage fit into the big story of Scripture?
- What is distinctively Christian about the way I am addressing the topic/passage? (Would this be true if Jesus hadn’t died and been raised?)
- How does this truth equip God’s church to live on mission?
So, how would these questions lead us to teach about the Israelites’ wandering in the wilderness and their eventual entry and establishment in the promised land? Here are three examples of what we would discover:
First, they help us teach that while the Israelites were tested and found wanting in the desert, unfaithfulness to God is not something we can overcome on our own. Instead, we need someone who could be tested and be found faithful for us and who could plead on our behalf before God. That someone is Jesus.
Second, they help us see the trustworthiness of God and how He will achieve victory through faithful obedience—even to unusual commands like marching around a city’s walls and blowing a ram’s horn! And we can have confidence as we go into the world using even more unlikely weapons—prayer, His Word, and our testimony.
Finally, they help us see that there is one greater than Joshua, one who does not simply bring God’s people into a promised land but brings them into their promised eternal inheritance.
This, at its most basic level, is what gospel-centered teaching looks like. It is what we should expect to find as we responsibly engage in the ministry of the Word. And whether we’re preaching from the pulpit, leading a discussion in our living room, or having a conversation in a coffee shop, our task remains the same: We show them Jesus. Nothing else will do.
This week, you can register to win The Promised Land, the Spring 2016 edition of The Gospel Project Chronological for Adults, as well as two additional resources to help small group leaders help others see Christ in all of Scripture.
The winner will receive the following:
- The Spring 2016 Adult Leader Guide, and 10 Personal Study Guides
- Preaching by Timothy Keller
- Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax, managing editor of The Gospel Project
Click here or fill out the form below by the end of today (Wednesday, March 2nd) to register to win the items above.
You can also purchase a copy of The Promised Land Adult Leader Guide and Personal Study Guides, Gospel-Centered Teaching, and Preaching at LifeWay.com.