Disclaimer: New Growth Press (www.newgrowthpress.com) has sponsored this post by providing me a free copy of the book for review. I was not required to write a positive post. All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.
Most Christians see a part of their life as living for Christ, reaching out to others. Some people are called to go abroad for this purpose but all of us can look around our own neighborhood and see a need for this. Bethany Ferguson has been abroad to serve others but has also seen the need to share her gained wisdom with those at “home” to do the same in their own lives.
The Mission Centered Life: Following Jesus Into The Broken Places by Bethany Ferguson shares many of the hard things Bethany has experienced in her mission work abroad. This Bible study has a gospel focus which means the study keeps the focus on Jesus and the good news of his love and power to save. The study will prompt you to go out to serve others, whether near or far.
This Bible study is set up with an introduction and then ten (10) lessons. The study can be done independently, though more will be gained from a small or large group study. Each participant will benefit from having their own book as some exercises have lists or charts and having the written discussion questions in front of you allows you to better consider answers and participate.
This is considered a topical study with each lesson approaching a different aspect of missions. Much of the scripture used comes from the book of John. I found that reading all the way through John before I began the study really helped me focus on the mission life being addressed. You can expect each lesson to take approximately an hour of group time, though I found I could easily spent close to an hour working through a single lesson on my own. I would expect, if I were working through this in a group, that it could be easy to spread each lesson out over two meetings or closer to an hour and a half.
Each lesson contains seven sections:
- Big Idea – summary of the main idea of the lesson
- Bible Conversation – reading and discussing a passage from the Bible, discussing what was read; this is intended to have several good answers for each question and to generate discussion
- Article – the main teaching section of the lesson, written by the author and including observations and stories from her life on the mission field abroad
- Discussion – questions following the article to apply the Big Idea to your own life
- Prayer – suggestions ideas and guidelines for a specific prayer time related to the mission aspect of the lesson
- Essay – a second article with additional scripture readings written by the author with additional teachings and reflections; can be used for personal study time
- Reflection – questions following the essay to consider more deeply the mission ideas addressed
The author’s purpose is to help the Bible student hear the call of Jesus for your own life. Hope is that you will see his love for you and the world, taking his salvation to others, joining his “life-giving mission.”
The mission aspects addressed include:
- Going – article “Beauty and Brokenness”, essay “Beginning in Bundibugyo”
- Identifiying – article “Who Are You Really?”, essay “Jesus Becomes Like Us”
- Changing – article “A New Home”, essay “Believing in Jesus”
- Praying – article “Daily Bread”, essay “The Bread of Life”
- Seeing – article “Our Need to See”, essay “Seeing God’s Work In You”
- Believing – article “Grief and Glory”, essay “Transformed Expectations”
- Serving – article “Heroes or Servants?”, essay “A Life of Humility”
- Suffering – article “A Mugging”, essay “Hope and Cynicism”
- Repenting – article “Preparing the Way”, essay “Life in the Garden”
- Celebrating – article “Grace and Celebration”, essay “Light and the Mission-Centered Life”
The ideas behind each of these articles honed in on challenging aspects of how a person who claims to be Christian lives their life. Reaching out to those around us is not necessarily second nature to us and this study will push us to push our own personal boundaries. It is a good study and the personal touch of the author’s experiences helps bring the ideas to life.
There is a good big of scripture in the study, though I do feel it would benefit from even more. That will be easy enough for the study leader to add while working through the ideas.
If you are looking for a challenging study about reaching those around you and around the world, consider taking a look at this study.
Lori, At Home.