Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter Worship Series - Counter Cultural Community

Coming off the heels of Easter, FUMC of Arlington is launching into a series on the Acts of the Apostles and the building of the first Christian Community:

Here's an outline of the fun with a few (rough) ideas as to where we're going with things!

Easter Season Worship Series:  Counter Cultural Community
April 12 to May 10

The first church of Jesus, the Acts Church, was a revolutionary community.  Not only was it founded on the teachings of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit, but it was a community set apart entirely for the glory of God.  Yet, it was still in the world – in the world, but sharing in values that were not of the world around it.  It was a counter-cultural community, anointed by God to spread the good news of God’s love to the nations.  What would that first church say to our church today?

April 12 – “Counter-Cultural Community”

  • Lesson – Acts 4:32-35
    • Ideas
    • The first church lived in community, everything was shared and everybody had enough.  What could be more opposite to culture than that?
    • They lived in an attitude of worship, their very lives testifying to the Resurrection.

April 19 – “Turning to God”

  • Lesson – Acts 3:12-19
  • Ideas
    • How have we turned from our old lives and back to God?
      • Metanoia, Repentance
    • Dispelling fear and ignorance – we can’t live in ignorance any more.
      • Do we ignore the problems of the world, hiding in our sanctuaries?  Worse, do we ignore the problems that we cause?
      • Taking responsibility and moving forward.
    • What does conversion look like?

April 26 – “Fearing Rejection”

  • Lesson – Acts 4:5-12
  • Ideas
    • How do we work counter to a culture of bureaucracy that seems to lack care?
      • Or, how do we work within it to make a change?
    • Remembering that Jesus was rejected, so sometimes we, as bearers of good news, will be rejected as well.
      • We can’t fear going against the grain of things.
    • The power of community to overcome obstacles.

May 3 – “Wherever You Go”

  • Lesson – Acts 8:26-40
    • Ideas
    • Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
      • We’re out in the mission field.
      • Sharing our faith by building relationships with people.
      • Slow evangelism, the practice of hospitality.
    • The Holy Spirit goes where we go.  We are the church wherever we are.
    • Knowing your Bible – being equipped to witness

May 10 – “For the World”

  • Lesson – Acts 10:44-48
  • Ideas
    • Again, we’re out in the mission field, with God sending Peter to the Household of Cornelius
    • Baptism of the gentiles – the Kingdom is open to the world.
      • Christ came for the salvation of all, Christ is for the world.
    • Being United Methodist – how is [YOUR CHURCH] making disciples for the transformation of the world?
      • Might be good to work in something on mission ministries that your church facilitates
      • Looking at UMCOR …


These are all really just ideas from my notes that I hope you might find helpful!

As a side project for this series, we're gathering faith stories from within our community, asking people the questions -
"What difference has being a Christian made in your life?"
"What difference has being part of the church made in your life?"

We're gathering stories from across demographic lines and will include these short testimonies in our worship and post them online as we go.  The first clip is below.  I'm telling you - you have somebody in your church that can do this for you.  The most vital thing that the church can do to bring more people in is to tell its story and the difference that is made in being part of the community.

April 5, 2015: Counter-Cultural Community from FUMC of Arlington on Vimeo.