Today’s lesson is “Experience Congregations in Mission.” Our congregations are the places where we gather, where we learn more about Jesus Christ, where we care for one another, where we reach out to those who need our help, and where we stand for justice in the world. Our congregations show us and others that we love and follow Jesus Christ.
Background: Jesus taught his disciples how to follow him and do the things he did—share the good news, heal, preach, teach, care for, and talk with others. He called twelve disciples and sent them out two by two to nearby towns (Mark 6:7–13).
New International Version (NIV)
7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.
8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt.10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages[a]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
This story tells of Jesus in a “community,” similar to a congregation. The disciples learned from him, and then they traveled to the areas around to teach, bless, and heal others. When the disciples returned, weary and hungry, Jesus Christ cared for their needs by having them go to a quiet place to rest.
Then Jesus Christ taught the crowds who wanted to learn more about God. He cared for them because they were like “sheep without a shepherd.” After many hours, Jesus and the disciples, like our congregation might do in mission, found a way to provide food for them. In this story, Jesus showed how a community and congregation could become a group of people who are blessed and cared for; who together learn God’s ways, and who share their resources with one another.
How did Jesus care for his disciples?
- What did Jesus and the disciples do for the people? (taught them, blessed them, fed them)
- Is this like your congregation? How?
- How or where do you learn the teachings of Jesus Christ in your congregation?
- How does your congregation teach its members? How does it teach and feed others?
- What are Jack and Jenn preparing to do?
- Jack learned from Jenn and the Big Voice that they were experiencing congregations in mission. (You may want to add this to the poster or ip chart). What does experience mean? (from video: see, feel, and understand something that happens to you)
- Do you think congregations need to learn how to follow Jesus Christ, just as the disciples did? Why?
In Community of Christ, we want to do what Jesus taught: to learn about the Living God:God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and to encourage others to know about Jesus Christ, too.
Worship in our congregations is an experience to help us feel and express the love of Jesus Christ. It is an important part of “Experience Congregations in Mission.”
Looking for a way to monitor your experience? Join us and hand this in at the end of today’s service.