There are many blessings of being in ministry serving as a pastor at a local church. One of these is the chance to teach classes about knowing, loving and serving God. This week I finished the second of a six week class in which we are looking at how we respond to God’s love and how our lives might be different as a result. I really enjoying sharing about our faith and the church, answering questions and helping people take the next step on their journey of faith.
I believe remembering who we are as United Methodists is a key to revival within the denomination.
I enjoy teaching and I particularly enjoy teaching Methodism 101 – What does it mean to be a United Methodist and what difference does that make in my life? Last month, I had the great opportunity to teach two different times. On July 18, I taught the first of a three week teaching series at Resurrection about What is a United Methodist? During the week of July 18, I taught 14 students about Methodism at Institute 2010: God’s All Stars.
I want to share with you the outline that I used for these classes and similar opportunities. Please feel free to use it, update it and share with me what you put together. You can find my outline for teaching Methodism 101 online at http://j.mp/11CM9i6
Yesterday morning, I had the opportunity to preach at the Heritage Service at Resurrection Leawood. This is the first service on Sunday at Resurrection beginning at 7:45 AM. It was the first time that I had lead worship in several months and it felt really good.
We considered the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples in John 13 and looked at ways that serving others builds relationships both with those being served and with those with whom we serve. We serve others out of gratitude to God and a clear hope for the future.
This is Resurrection’s 11th annual Leadership Institute 11th annual leadership training event in which we hope to give away our best ideas. This year the focus will be on the future of the church. There are young adult and new church start discounts. You can find more information and register at http://www.cor.org/li2010. Here are a few things you can do right now:
The debate in the United Methodist Church about homosexuality and whether it is “incompatible with Christian teaching” or if “a self-avowed practicing homosexual” should be ordained has continued for many years. No matter where you stand on these issues, I wholeheartedly recommend listening to the following story from This American Life.
Last night, I had a great time leading over 100 people in discussions on the book, The Shack by William Paul Young. Thanks to all of you who were there.
You can find the handout, notes and schedule that I had prepared before the class at this link. Feel free to use it to lead a class of your own or for your own information.
One of the best parts of the class was the opportunity to respond to questions from those who were there. Below you will find all the questions that were asked by the group. Look for my response to questions beginning today and continuing on Monday.
So the collective wisdom of the crowd led to these questions in no particular order:
When did the vision take place? (when did it begin – at mailbox or at car accident)
What was the significance of red spots on rock when they found her – any Christian signifiance?
How does the church react to the portrayal of the Trinithy and their characteristics? i.e. God as a black woman, the group as a fun loving, joking entity as a whole.
Is there a part of the book that may be theologically incorrect?
Explain the character of the Holy Spirit Sarayu.
Comment on the books view of the trinity and perspective on lack of hierarchy.
The book’s viewpoint on eternal consequences is challenging and hard to accept.
Where would this book misguide (mislead) me in knowing God?
Would the church recommend this book to nominally religious people?
Why was God a woman? Why did He reveal Himself that way?
A lot of people suffer in grief… What about Mack’s opportunity to view his daughter after her passing?
What is the background of the author?
Why do you think Mack didn’t take his wife to the shack?
From your perspective, what aspects of the book are not compatible with Methodist theology and tradition?
Does the church have any problem with Poppa being portrayed as a woman? And is She really a good cook?
Does the church have a problem with all of the members of the trinity being on equal standing?
Was the accident before he went to the Shack? (Friday vs. Sunday)
Is it sacreligious to put God in another form? (for instance, Papa as an African American woman)
What is your perspective as clergy regarding the comment that this book is dangerous for “babes in Christ?”
Where does it not fit into theology?
What mentioned theological things did you disagree with?
Responsibility named in the BIble?
P. 205 – Does religion use law to empower itself and control people?
Was this a dream? a vision? or reality?
How do you like how the trinity was presented?
Do we expect too much of people we love? Agree or disagree
Why was Papa (God) against organized religion?
What was the significance of the description of the characters?
How was shack transformed from place of evil and Missy’s suffering and death into a place of God’s sanctuary and salvation?
Was it a dream or did it really happen?
What was the author’s purpose of giving to the character’s their role, name, etc. so out of the unusual than what we would normally think of?
Why did she call him Papa?
What was the author’s denomination?
What gave him the idea for the story had he experienced something in his background – autobiographical?
What theology do you feel does not align in the group?
P 99-100 What was Jesus true nature while on earth with regard to healing?
Papa being a female. Why?
Why was food so important?
Elaborate on noun verse verb? pg 205-206
Elaborate on being a Christina? pg 183-184
Explain who Sophia is?
Thoughts on God being depicted as a woman.
Was Mack’s experience a dream or did God suspend time?
Where the book conflicts with the UM beliefs?
What does “The Shack” represent?
Why doesn’t God make Himself more real and visible to us like He does in the book?
How do we cultivate and accept that kind of intimacy with God? (cooking, eating, etc.)
When we die will we see and will God present in accordance with our personalview of how we envision him / her?
Does God punish evil on earth or does he / she wait until the evil doer is judged or dies (Chapter 11)
How do you think the author came up with the characters to represent God, Jesus and Spirit?
What is your response / opinion of when Mack asked Missy if she was in Heaven and she said she “was in the waiting room.”
On Sunday night, Nicole and I had the great opportunity to be a part of a small group teaching from the newly released – Prayer: A Small Group Curriculum. It is a four week small group study about prayer. This was developed, written and produced here at Resurrection and I think that it is a great resource for any group hoping to grow in the knowledge, thought, and practice of prayer.
Prayer: A Small Group Curriculum is thoroughly Methodist, has thoughtful questions, great teaching on prayer and includes a video component for each week. If you are living in the Kansas City area you can pick it up at The Well bookstore here at the Resurrection central campus. If not, please feel free to order online – here.
Great question. I had the great opportunity to talk about the trinity with a group of young adults at a Sunday morning small group taster this morning hosted by the Couples in Christ class which meets at 9:00 AM at Resurrection.
I tried to touch on what what it means to be a theologian, the practice theology and the concept of the Trinity in less than 20 minutes allowing time for small group discussion. It was a bit of a challenge for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
At the end of the class time, I invited each person to write a question on a post-it note and turn it in and I would respond here at Thoughts of Resurrection. So look forward to a week of theology and thinking about the Trinity. I am looking forward to reading the comments and conversation that you will add. If you are interested in receiving each of these posts – please subscribe using the links on the left side of this page. You can choose to receive the posts via RSS or email.
Couples in Christ and all people at the taster – Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your group this morning. It was a blessing!