The BIG IDEA:
The church is the people of God called to follow Jesus Christ together and represent him in our world.
We think of church primarily as a building or an event that happens on Sunday mornings, so we fail to realize how important it is to be a part of Jesus’ church.
Since Jesus gave his life so we could be a part of his church, we are to find a place in his church where we can live out his calling on our lives.
The church is people, not a building. The image is of people together and that is what the church is really all about.
The SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
We often think of church primarily as a building or a Sunday morning event. Yet the church is so much more than just these things. The church is the people of God whom Jesus has brought together at the cost of his own life. Not only has Jesus brought us together, he’s also given us a purpose for our lives as his people. When we see what he’s done and what he’s allowed us to be a part of, it helps us see the value of being a part of his church as a whole, and locally.
- What I want the group to know and understand:.What it looks like to be a part of Jesus’ church and how important it is.
- What I want the group to experience: Excitement in getting to be a part of the church globally and locally.
- How I want the group to respond: By becoming connected to a local church that bears the marks of the church recorded in Acts 2:41-47.
Talk about the best experience you’ve had on a sports team, class project, or job where you had to work together to accomplish something special. What did you enjoy most about it?
Allow the group to discuss. Receive any answers your group gives. Tell your group that God wants their experience with a local church to be like that. Get ready in this study to grow your group’s view on church. In addition to gathering on Sunday mornings to sing songs and hear a sermon, the church is Jesus’ people gathered locally and spread out around the world. The church is something God is working through to change us and change the world!
1. Read Acts 2:41-47, which gives a snapshot of the church in the days shortly after Jesus’ death and return from the grave. What stands out to you as you look at this snapshot?
Allow the group to discuss. Let your group say what stands out to them.
2. What was true of the church based on verse 41?
People were hearing about Jesus and trusting him.
3. What were Jesus’ followers devoted to, based on verse 42?
Jesus’ followers were devoted to the teaching of the apostles (the leaders in the church who taught from God’s Word), being in Christ-centered relationships (“fellowship”), and to prayer.
4. How would you describe the attitude in the church based on verses 43-46?
Allow the group to discuss. There was a sense of amazement because of the incredible things God was doing through his people (verse 43). There was a spirit of generosity that led Jesus’ followers to share what they had with others in need (verses 44-45). There was a mood of oneness and gladness as they spent time together (verse 46).
5. What do we learn about Jesus’ church from verse 47?
They were worshiping and praising God. The had favor from those who didn’t know Jesus. And they were growing as God regularly saved people and added to their number.
6. How has your understanding of Jesus’ church changed as a result of looking at these verses?
Allow the group to discuss.
7. If you moved to a new city today and had to look for a new church to attend, what would you look for based on what we learned today?
Allow the group to discuss. Help your group see the value of a church that gives people a chance to hear Jesus’ good news, has solid teaching from the Bible, values Christ-centered relationships and prayer, has evidence of God at work, and is full of generous, joyful people.
8. How does it make a difference to know that Jesus’ church isn’t just a local gathering of people but a global movement that spans all nations and cultures? What makes Jesus’ church different from groups like the Boy Scouts or the YMCA (see Matthew 16:13-19 for a clue)?
Allow the group to discuss. It’s encouraging to be a part of something that’s so amazing and far-reaching. The church is different from the Boy Scouts or the Parent-Teacher Association because Jesus started it as a gathering of those who believe he’s the Son of God and our Rescuer (“The Christ”). The church is also different because Jesus has promised that not even hell itself will win out against it.
9. How do you think God wants you to grow as the kind of person described in these verses?Allow the group to discuss. Encourage the members of your group to pick one part of the description in these verses that they can trust God to develop in them as they trust his Spirit to work in their lives. For instance, growing as a person who is devoted to God’s Word, to Christ-centered relationships, to prayer, or to generosity.
10. What changes do you think God may want you to make related to church as a result of this study?Allow the group to discuss. You may want to encourage people in your group to consider if they need to become more connected to a local church so they can experience more of what these verses talk about. Or some may need to consider attending a different church that lines up more with the description in these verse. If this case, it’s important to seek to make these decisions in conversation with parents or family to honor God most of all while also seeking to honor parents.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.