Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sunday's Sermon and Discipleship Groups at Grace Church

The following was put together to give a description and rationale for our sermon-based studies in the discipleship groups this fall:

Discipleship Groups and the Sermon-Based Study
Daniel Patz
September 2011

Beginning this fall all the Discipleship Groups will include a sermon-based study as part of its meeting time. Sermon-discussion guides will be posted online along with the sermon audio and sermon notes on the Sunday the sermon is preached.  Below are some definitions and purposes listed for this move to sermon-base study. I hope you will join me in prayer as we seek to better know and obey God’s Word together.

The Sermon-Based Study:
The sermon-based study is one of the major elements of the discipleship group meeting which uses the sermon, its subject or its Scripture text as the main focus of study and discussion. 

Sermon-Discussion Guide:
The sermon-discussion guide is a handout provided by the preacher on the Sunday the sermon is preached that is used to aid the sermon-based study and its preparation. The guide will include five sections: 1) Personal/experience, 2) Observation, 3) Interpretation, 4) Application, 5) Next week. 

Sermon-Based Study Goal:
The sermon-based study’s goal is to glorify God by taking His preached Word (sermon) and written Word (Scriptures) into our minds, hearts and actions together by the power of the Spirit.

Motivators for the Sermon-Based Studies:
It is our prayer that God would use sermon-based studies to:
  1. Sharpen our focus in the Word by taking less subjects but going deeper
  2. Pursue a greater unity in the body by studying the same passage together in all the DGs (every group will be studying the same subject and we will be hearing what God has to say together)
  3. Train the members of the church to be what Thabiti Anyabwile calls "expositional listeners" - teaching people to take the Sunday preaching seriously and teaching them how to listen for the main point of the sermon and text (“Listening for the meaning of the passage of Scripture and accepting that meaning as the main idea to be grasped for our personal corporate lives as Christians.”)
  4. Learn better how to study the bible - thinking in terms of observation/interpretation/application which will be reflected in the discussion guide
  5. Focus on the much neglected responsibility of applying/obeying what we hear and study - being doers of the Word and not hearers only
  6. Grow in the above things (expositional listening, Bible study, and application/obedience) in the context of community - God wants us to benefit from each others’ gifts as we look at and obey God's Word together
  7. Encourage the preacher and to challenge Him to preach with precision and clarity

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