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Section Two

Projects and Missions

by Bill Baumgardner

One of the signs of a healthy community or Adult Bible Fellowship is its desire to reach out beyond itself. People who are growing in their faith understand that faith without works is dead. They look for ways to put their faith into action by reaching out in Jesus name to help those in need. Using the following ideas can help your group come together as coworkers in the cause of Christ. Social events and entertaining outings have their place in binding a group together, but nothing takes the place of serving together. It is in service that a persons heart is best revealed. A group can implement these ideas at almost any time. However, they are arranged to be consistent with the units of study found in the Standard Lesson Commentary, or any other study of the International Sunday School Lessons (Uniform Series), for September 2010 through August 2011. Thus your group members will put what they learn in Bible study into practice in their lives. Dont try to do all of these projects at once! We have deliberately included far more than can be accomplished in order to offer variety. Information is given about what kind of time and money need to be invested in each activity. Choose those that best meet your resources. If you are able to do one project per quarter, your group will be having a significant impact on the place where you live.

Why Is Service Important?

In addition to getting into Gods Word, it is important to get into Gods world. In addition to bonding together as a group or community, it is important to serve together in the larger community. Your midsize group can have a great impact serving the world that you live in. This section is all about taking what you learn in the teaching part of your hub meeting and applying it. Its about building on the unity and team spirit developed in the group life segment of your meeting and leveraging that into a force for good in the community. So why is that important? Head knowledge and heart knowledge are great, but how about some hand knowledge? A lot of people learn by doing, but that is just the start of it. The activities suggested here are more than mere teaching strategies for kinetic learners. They provide tangible ways for all your learners to become doers of the Word and not just hearers (James 1:22). They provide some concrete ways to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ.


Projects and Missions

Jesus served in order to show Gods love. God so loved the world that he gave. . . . Jesus showed Gods love by healing the sick. The blind, the lame, and the dying saw Gods love and mercy through the service of Christ. Your church can show Gods love through serving. Although your church may not be able to heal people physically, you can serve them in their times of need. When you do, you show God love. Sitting with neighbors in the hospital, providing a meal for a co-worker who has lost a loved one, or even sending a card to someone who is going through some hard times shows the mercy and love of God. We know that the most important way Jesus showed us Gods love was in dying on the cross. We cannot do that for others, but what we can do is to die to ourselves. By putting others first in our attitude of service, will show a selfish world that people matter to God and to us. Jesus served in order to meet needs. One powerful example of Jesus serving to meet needs is seen in Luke 9:12-17. These 5,000 men, plus women and children, had a physical need. Jesus served them by providing a simple meal. Your midsize group can serve your community by meeting needs of food, needs of shelter, and needs of love. At the end of Acts 2 we read, All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:44-47). Will your church be known as the church that meets peoples needs? There are many stories of Christians that have seen the importance of leaving the church building and going out into their community to serve. In Cincinnati a church I know of saw that a school in their community needed help, so they cleaned and painted lockers. They are known as a church that cared enough to serve in their local community. Another church took a bold step from just serving their children at church during a holiday season to moving the event to a local recreation center to serve the children in the poor neighborhood where they are located. Still another group learned that the same God that created them created the homeless and poor; so now they drive into the city every week to tutor and feed these brothers and sisters. When we put hands and feet to our faith, then it becomes something real. The following pages contain ideas on what your Adult Bible Fellowship can do with what they learn in each unit of the Uniform Lessons, such as those found in the Standard Lesson Commentary. Please do not be limited by the words on the pages. Take the ideas and shape them into something that will work with your midsize group, your church, and in your community. You and your midsize group may have better ideas after you have had time in each lesson. You know your midsize group, your church, and your community. The hope is that your midsize group puts flesh to the ideas shared in the Bible and in the lessons. Remember that actions speak loader than words. Ask yourself these questions: what are we saying with our words, and what do we want our community to say about our church or about the members of our Adult Bible Fellowship? Go and be the hands and feet of Christ!


The Inescapable God

Fall 2010
Unit One: God Reveals
One of the underlying themes of this unit is that God was trying to get the Israelites to understand that he wanted them to be his people. He would not let them go; he indeed was going to be their Father. Here are some ways you can reveal God in both your community and your church.

Church Neighborhood Block Party

Many times we are not very familiar with our neighbors, even our neighbors that surround our church building. This event will help fix that. INVOLVEMENT: Group and the whole church INVESTMENT: Small to moderate Set a date to throw a party for your neighbors. Set the date far enough in advance that you can promote and prepare for the event adequately. If you have a large enough lawn area, you will want to use that. Alternatively you could use at least part of your parking lot. It is best that you only use the inside of the church building in case of rain. Divide responsibilities among your group members. Better yet, get the whole church involved and give each ABF an assignment. To keep costs down, have individuals from the church bring desserts, side dishes, and drinks while the church provides the meat (hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken). Use signups for all the items to make sure you have enough food. Prepare a flyer with all the information about the event, and make it as welcoming as possible. Include a phone number or e-mail address so people can contact someone to ask questions or even register their names and the number of people coming. Your ABF and even the youth group can canvass the neighborhood one evening to distribute the flyers. Please remember that this is an event for your neighbors to get to know you and for you to know them. Do not make this a door-to-door evangelism event. Pass out the flyers or hang them on the doorknobs of all the homes in the area. Have church members take flyers home to give to their friends and neighbors. After all the preparation is made, throw the event. Again, this is an opportunity for you to meet your neighbors, so do just that. Encourage your group members to find out about the guests, where they work, how many children they have, and other information. This street runs both ways, so be sure your group members are telling the guests about their own lives. Dont be embarrassed to talk


Projects and Missions

about your relationship with God. Invite people to visit your church in the future, and remind them that you are neighbors. After the event allow your midsize groups to share any stories, needs, or prayer requests they may have received that night from your neighbors. NOTE: If you are out in the country, this event can happen as a community-wide event instead of a local neighborhood event. You may want to choose a park or other public location.

Meet Your Neighbors

INVOLVEMENT: Individual members COST: Small to nothing at all This is the same idea as above, but on a personal scale. How well do you know your neighbors? Invite your neighbors to a backyard cookout or to a board game night at your home. If you dont serve a meal, then at least have some snacks and soft drinks on handand perhaps a dessert. And set the time late enough that dinner wont be expected. It will be very awkward if your guests arrive expecting dinner, and all you have are some chips and pretzels! Recently, we invited our neighbors over for bowling on our Wii, and it turned out to be a great night. The goal is to build relationships in order for God to shine through your life to be revealed to your neighbors.

Unit Two: God Sustains

It is easy to see from the Psalms that God sustains us. From his perfect law to his constant presence, God is a physical help. The ideas for this unit allow your ABF to help sustain those in your world.

Buy a Goat
INVOLVEMENT: Individuals to the entire ABF INVESTMENT: Small to moderate (special offering or weekly designated giving) This idea is another way to take care of your neighboryour neighbor in another country. There are many organizations through which you can sponsor a child and help provide for their needs. One organization that helps people is Heifer International. On their Web site (www.heifer. org) you will see the various animals that you can purchase for those who need help. You can even buy a goat for $120. One of the good things about this organization is that even a small group can get involved. If your ABF cannot come up with $120 for a goat, you can buy shares of animals. You can even encourage group members to do this individually. A flock of chicks is only $30. If you sponsor missions through direct supportor otherwise have firsthand information about missionariesthen you can accomplish the intent of this activity on a more personal level. Communicate with the missionaries to find out how you can work with people with whom they


Section Three

Learning Activities to Support Group Life

In many midsize groups or Adult Bible Fellowships, the teacher is not the same person who leads the group-building activities that have been described in the previous parts of this book. In fact, we think its better if the leadership is ahred, with one person responsible for the teaching and one or more others responsible for the other parts of the meeting. If you are the leader of the groupbuilding part of your time together, give this next section to the teacher. These ideas tie directly to the lesson plans for the Standard Lesson Commentary (or other Uniform Series-based curriculum) for 2010-11. They will help the lesson part of your meeting continue building the same group-affirming spirit as the previous activities. Next to each activity suggestion you will find an icon: , , or . The launching rocket icon indicates the activity is a good lead-in activity, a good way to introduce the lesson. Its the part in the lesson commentary called Into the Lesson. Often it sounds at first like something not related to the lesson at all. This is a good way to get people talking even if they are not comfortable talking about Bible things. The open Bible icon indicates a Bible study activity. In the lesson commentary, this kind of activity appears under the heading Into the Word. It will get the group into the Word, but not on an individual study basis. These activities are group-affirming, so there will always be a group component to them. Finally the suitcase icon indicates an application activity. These activities help the group members carry the truth of the lesson home with them. This is the section called Into Life in the lesson commentary. There are not suggestions here for all three parts of any one lesson. These are offered only as supplemental to whats in the Standard Lesson Commentary or other ISSL curriculum. But everyone likes to have options, and this section will give the teacher at least two alternative ideas for each lesson.


The Inescapable God

by Jesus in his death and resurrection. Group members should choose additional Scriptures and determine how those Scriptures will be presented (read from a pulpit or lectern, responsive reading, Readers theater, etc.). They should also choose appropriate music, perhaps for both congregational singing and special music (choir, soloists, etc.). Choose as many people as possible from your group to participate, but if some parts need to be led by persons not in the group (such as a message by the preacher), plan for that as well.

Lesson 5: Gods Majesty and Human Dignity (Psalm 8)

Display pictures of beautiful scenes from nature. These might include the Grand Canyon, a magnificent sunset, constellations photographed on a very clear night (or secure some photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope from the Internet), mountain peaks and ranges, and others. Begin the lesson by saying something such as, Isnt nature beautiful? No wonder Paul says people are without excuse for not knowing God is real when we see what he has created all around us. What are some of your favorite parts of Gods creation? And tell us why you especially like these. Your group members will discover insights about each other as they hear others tell of things in nature that they like. The photographs you have displayed may suggest to the group members that you want them to talk only about places and scenery. If so, be sure to mention living things at some point so that the animals are included. Many people derive great joy from their pets, and that is a gift from God. Others have raised (or do raise) animals on farms and have a special appreciation for cattle, horses, and other farm animals. And of course, at some point your discussion needs to come to focus on human beings. Todays lesson deals with all these, the marvel of Gods creation and the place he has given to humans in the midst of it. Have your group form smaller groups to review the lesson text (Psalm 8) together. Ask one group to look at the text through the lens of worship. What does this psalm have to say about the worship of God? Why or how or where do we worship? Ask another group to look at the psalm through the lens of human responsibility. What does the psalm say about mankinds position in creation and the responsibility that goes with that? Still another group can look at the psalm through the lens of gratitude. What do we have for which to be grateful? Still another group can look at the psalm through the lens of human dignity. What is special about human beings compared to the rest of creation? What makes us special? Allow plenty of time after the small groups work for reporting their results to the whole group. Members of small groups who discussed other topics may add to each report. Note the overlapping of ideas from the different studies.