One small group option… Christianity explored

unnamedThis trimester one of the small groups on offer is Christianity Explored.  We’re going through the Gospel of Mark to answer three big questions:

1. Who was Jesus?

2. What did he say and do?

3. Why does it matter?

We’ll first establish whether Mark is worth reading from a historical standpoint at all (spoiler alert:  we think it is, but it’s an important question to work through).  Then, week by week, we’ll go through Mark and answer the bigger questions by asking lots of smaller questions.  If Mark’s gospel is an accurate portrayal of events 2000 years ago then we should be able to squeeze real answers out of his book.

The course is relational, conversational, and (hopefully) unintimidating.  We’ll share a meal, someone will give a short talk, and then we’ll enter into conversation.  There is no expectation of theological knowledge coming in and no expectation of commitment going out.  We won’t pray or sing or ask anyone to read scripture out loud.  We’re aiming for interesting and intelligent discussion, while also providing an environment where doubt, ignorance, or curiosity can be safely expressed.

So why should you either come yourself or be praying for people to come?

“…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17)

If Jesus did not rise from the dead, Christianity is a terrible deception.  Paul did not pretend that religion for its own sake was worthwhile.  This course is a safe place for people to engage directly with and account of Jesus’ life for the first time to test and see for themselves whether the claims of Christianity are true.  God doesn’t expect us to be second-handers.  He gives us his Word and Spirit so we can know first hand that Jesus rose from the dead and then understand what that means for how we are to live.

Philip heard “[the Ethiopian court official] reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ ”  (Acts 8:30-31)

People need to hear and understand the gospel before believing it, but it can be awkward to get the conversation started.  This course gives you an opportunity to simply invite someone to come along with you and participate at your (and their) comfort level.  You get to be just another person at the dinner table, eating and having conversation.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Mat. 28:19)

If you have never sat down yourself and worked your way through a book of the Bible, much less sat alongside someone else and worked through a book of the Bible with them, then you should come.  One of the natural things to fall out from this course is the recognition that Mark (indeed, the whole Bible) is a cohesive story, meant to elucidate true events.  It’s meant to be read, evaluated, wrestled with, questioned, and digested.  The only qualification is a willingness to take the book seriously and to ask serious questions.  We are going to do that, and once you’ve seen it done you can do it yourself.

That’s it.  We won’t pray or sing or make any altar calls.  You can ask any question you want.

Come.  Bring friends.

Contact:  Michael and Jennifer Dodson. mike.jen.dodson@gmail.com.

Meeting:  Thursdays. 7pm. Northern Alexandria.

Ready to Sign up? here’s the link!