There has been a steep decline in church attendance beginning with the baby boomers (those born between1946-1964) and continuing to the present generation. The most recent statistics indicate that we are not far from the place where the majority in the United States will identify themselves as something other than Protestant.
Each chapter has activities that could be used by groups studying the book. The suggestions are well thought out andwill serve wellas a text for a Sunday school class. The book explores some of the implications of living with the values of God’s kingdom in view. It’s done against the backdrop of defining our purpose for living.
A synergism becomes possible when the church as the extended family builds up its households. And those households in turn build up the churches, which then impacts the community, enfolding others in the family of God. What’s happening to your young people? Are your households maturing in the faith?
We must always be real. To cover ourselves with superficial expressions of piety or in other ways pretend that we are something that we are not is never appropriate.
Both Sunday school and small groups are programs. Consequently, they should be viewed as means to an end – nothing more. If they serve a given purpose, presumably one better than a possible alternative, they are worthwhile. If not, do something else.
Those God has called to teach in the church have been given the responsibility to pass the faith on to the next generation.
A teacher hasn’t taught until the student has learned. With the gospel, learning is used by the Spirit to produce change – in our thinking, our desires, and our activities. So it makes sense to see what the product looks like. It also makes sense to assess the perceived impact our efforts have made.
If groups are to maximize their effectiveness, getting assimilated into the life of the church is just one component. Groups need to be part of the disciple making process. It is helpful to keep in mind that we want group members to be involved in the full orbit of life in the congregation.
Relationships in the neighborhood, at the office, or at school are important. But if they don’t extend beyond the confines of that environment they have limited value. And the same is true of relationships at church. Hopefully, the believer will have friendships with some that extend beyond the confines of a church program.
Are we willing to pay the price? That is a question that must be answered within the context of specific relationships. Can I love the son who has broken my heart? Can I love the student who I can’t seem to reach? Can I love the church member who seems to have so little to give to me? Or the neighbor who irritates me?