The new daily Bible study written by the California-Nevada Annual Conference congregational development team, "The Great 50 Days – Becoming a Movement of God's Mission in the World," is available now – along with accompanying worship and preaching resources – for pastors, worship leaders, and small group leaders to download and review.
The study is subtitled, "A daily guide to setting the world on fire." It is envisioned as a preparation resource for use by individuals, churches, and circuits, to lead the Conference from Easter to Annual Conference Session this year.
"For the next 50 days you are invited to immerse yourself in the story of the church becoming a movement of grace transforming the world," the introduction states, and warns, "What you are about to read is very dangerous, even subversive. It is the story of the power of Christ's resurrection set loose in the world through the fire of the Holy Spirit."
Churches are invited to use it in one of three ways:
- As a daily devotional for church members;
- As a daily devotional combined with a small group experience;
- As a daily devotional and a small group and worship experience.
The study is located under "Resources" on the main navigation bar of the Conference website at cnumc.org. You may navigate to it from the Resources home page, where you'll find the link under Discipleship Resources and also in the menu on the right side of the page. Look for "The Great 50 Days – Becoming a Movement of God's Mission in the World."
Along with the complete study, Message Plans and Worship Slides for each of the Sundays between Easter and Pentecost, corresponding to the daily devotional study, are available for download for those who wish to incorporate small group and/or Sunday worship as part of their study experience.
Beginning on Easter Sunday, the study will be offered as a daily reflection as well, with personal commentary by the Rev. Blake Busick. You will be able to access the daily readings on the website, on a Facebook page, or you may subscribe and have them emailed to you every day.
Watch for details in the News section of the website and in the weekly Instant Connection e-newsletter.
(Watch for the story to pop up in the News section by checking the website skimmer – just type or paste http://cnumc.org/skimmer in your browser window to see the most recently added news stories, events, classified items, death notices, and appointments.)
Study is designed to be interactive
Throughout the study you will be invited to contribute your personal reflections, ideas, and worship suggestions and materials (such as slides and skits). Sharing what you are learning, discovering, and experiencing will be an important aspect of the journey.
The introduction to the study guide begins with a series of exciting possibilities. "What if, by 2020," it asks,
- All congregations in our Conference had a clear, simple vision and strategy for making disciples in their unique context who reach their mission fields;
- Our Conference culture naturally encouraged innovative ways of multiplying disciple-making movements to create new places for new people;
- One-third of the congregations in the Conference are starting something new that reaches new people through context-discerned models of new faith communities, and/or new expressions of current offerings;
- We had a new multicultural congregation that consistently engaged no fewer than 1,000 active participants each week;
- We had at least five existing congregations with no fewer than 1,000 active participants each week;
- We had at least 20 faith communities with no fewer than 500 active participants each week?
"How would we be different? How would people's lives be changed? How would our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world be enhanced?
"Would these be signs that we had become a movement again?"
And it challenges, "Let's catch fire as we open ourselves to God through these daily Scripture readings. Let's pray that God would make us a movement again. It can start with a single heart igniting through a fresh encounter with Christ.
"Could that heart be yours?"