Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, invite participants to share the wonderful things happening in the church. (List the impactful ministries of your faith community.)
- What was Sarah’s reaction when she heard that she would have a son? (Gen. 18:12) [She laughed.] Have you had an experience of unimaginable good things happening to others or you?
- After Jesus notes the size of the harvest and the lack of laborers, what does he do next? (Matthew 9:37-38) [Jesus authorizes and sends out the twelve in ministry.] Do you think they were ready? How similar might we feel to being sent in ministry today?
- Why might it be important that Matthew lists the names of these twelve disciples? (Matthew 10:2-4) [It gives specificity. Twelve is a deliberate echo of the twelve tribes of Israel.] Among other things, Matthew’s listing of these names shows that they are a diverse group (fishermen, a tax collector, and even a Cananean. Matthew, a tax collector, and Judas, who betrayed Jesus and elsewhere identified as Iscariot, would likely have been on the opposite end of the political spectrum of the time.) What might this say about the making of disciples today? [They come from all walks of life, nationalities, and across the political spectrum.]
- “A community exists for one another and is open to those who haven’t yet found their way in. It isn’t about meeting needs or satisfying hungers; the community is about building relationships. It is about belonging and serving.” (From Preaching Notes). Do you think your church is a crowd or a community? Do you consider your church friendly? If so, are congregants friendly to those within the church and/or to new people? Does your church help new people belong?
- "See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Jesus described persecutions the disciples would likely face. Following God’s call as an individual and as a community may not be easy and will require sacrifices of some sort Are there special needs your church sees in your community? Are there special circumstances your church is called to act upon? (homelessness, needs in local schools, gun violence, women in shelters). What next steps do you and your church need to take to follow God’s calling?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End with the following prayer, a similar prayer, or the Lord’s Prayer:
God of compassion, you have given yourself to us in Jesus Christ, and you continue to be present to us through the Holy Spirit. We pray for more laborers to be sent into the harvest. Stir our hearts to answer your call as individuals and as a community. Equip us with your authority to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. May we freely receive your blessings and freely give them to others. In your precious name, Jesus Christ, our lord, we pray. Amen.
Note: Does your church have an international discipleship path?
We at Discipleship Ministries invite each congregation and worshiping community to develop an intentional discipleship plan in their local context. There are resources and mentors that you can access on our website to help you develop and implement your plan. Please call upon us to help you if you have not already begun such a journey.