See All the People: Series Overview
In 2016, Discipleship Ministries began launching materials around the theme “See All the People.” This message of reaching people and expanding the church into the community then began to bear fruit as churches began launching campaigns to strengthen their own disciple-making systems. As we began preparation for this series, we noticed that one element seemed apparent throughout all the scriptural narratives: people who were always present around Jesus because of his preaching, teaching, and healing. Jesus truly saw all the people; and as a result, the people were always with him. As the church makes connections in the community to bring people to know Christ, we would do well to make note of the way Jesus responded to the crowds.
In the first week of the series, the pressing crowd is mentioned alongside Jesus’ encouragement for his first disciples to go fishing. The image of the fish breaking the nets becomes an image analogous with the people “pressing in” on Jesus. The second week recalls “a great crowd of Jesus’ disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon” (Lk. 6:17). They were expecting Jesus to heal them. This image is a powerful one as we imagine the crowd relentlessly reaching for Jesus, that they might touch him and receive his healing power. Week three involves a departure for our planning team, as we put ourselves in the shoes of the crowd listening to Jesus’ sermon. The message of loving enemies was (and is) so countercultural that it still causes us to question our very instincts as powers threaten to overtake and divide us. Week four, Transfiguration Sunday, presents a dramatic scene as Jesus is transfigured as he stands with Moses and Elijah. Jesus, Peter, John, and James then descended the mountain, and Jesus healed a boy with a demon—to the astonishment of “a great crowd” (Lk. 9:37).
Upon reflection of the entire season after Epiphany this year, we find a comprehensive way to make connections with our communities: discover our spiritual gifts, understand our need for one another and the love of God, and know that wherever Jesus goes, a crowd is sure to follow. The question is: “Are our churches ready to go and meet the crowds as we ‘see all the people’?”
Week 1: Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany February 10 The Pressing Crowd
Week 2: Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany February 17 The Expectant Crowd
Week 3: Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany February 24 The Questioning Crowd
Week 4: Transfiguration Sunday March 3 The Astounded Crowd
*All scripture quotations are NRSV.