Monday, April 4, 2005

A ten week course for believers on the basics of the faith

Outline a ten-week (one night per week) course for new believers on the basics of faith.


The need for the sound instruction in the lives of new Christians is vital for long term spiritual growth. Newborn babies are naturally hungry, it is the same with baby Christians. The program outlined below is an attempt to meet the most basic nutritional needs of new believers.
We read in 1 Peter;

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in
your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1Pe 2:2-3

It is the hope that such an overview would provide a solid foundation upon which others can build.

Biblical Christianity has at its heart Jesus of Nazareth, God who through the kenosis became man. The emphasis in the outline that follows is therefore on the person of Jesus.
" ‘Who is Jesus?’ stands alone as the most important theological and objective
question in forming the view of the world, ourselves and our roles in the world.
In the Bible the question appears repeatedly."

It is vital to strike the correct balance between the Spirit and the Word. This is a task only possible to man through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. In the introduction to his book Pentecostal Theology, Kent Hodge puts it this way;

"The best mix … is Reformed/Pentecostal. Reformed theology bases ministry firmly
in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not in works. Pentescostal theology empowers
Christian life and witness."

In keeping with this aim we discuss justification by faith in week three. The discovery of this truth by Martin Luther formed the kernel from which Reformation Theology sprang. It was through reading the Bible with an understanding empowered by the Holy Spirit that that Luther came to understand the freedom he had in Christ

Young Christians need the milk of the Word of God in order to grow. One week of the program is devoted to Bible study methods and how to have a quiet time.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking,
correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be
thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2Ti 3:16-17

The final few weeks are devoted to how the believer can grow in the practical outworking of their faith in daily life, and how they grow. A part of this outworking is the mandate to tell others about the wonderful thing Jesus has done for them.

I am indebted to Rick Warren’s purpose driven Life program for much of the basic structure of the program and to Dr Stan DeKoven for the overview on Church. Following the course outline is a suggested reading list of books that can be read or studied in conjunction with the course.

All scripture unless otherwise stated is taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. 1995, The Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids MI

Ten-week program for new believers

Week one
The road ahead

Icebreaker & get to know each other
An overview of the course – what will it show you
Share a meal
Testimonies from other believers

Week two
Who do you say that I am?

Christianity is focussed on a person – Jesus
How can we know about Jesus
Historical Documents secular and Biblical
Why is the historicity of the resurrection so important (1 Cor 15)
The sacrificial Lamb and the scapegoat
Lord, Liar or Lunatic
For homework look at Luke 4:14-9:22 drawing out major points

Week three
Holy before God

Justification by faith – Right before God
The new creation message
Christianity is not about right and wrong, its about death and life – the two trees of Genesis

Week four
Honouring God for who he is

Worship – what is it really?
Old Testament worship
New Testament worship
Living sacrifices

Week five
Prayer – talking to and listening to God

Prayer at its most basic – crying out to God –Praying through the Psalms
Jesus Teaches his disciples to pray (Matthew 6)
Jesus prays for his Church (John 17)
Praying and Faith
Prayer begins with God – Listening Prayer – the God who speaks

Week six
Part of Gods Family

Church – Building or People
Four bible pictures of the church
Church- Gods Family
Each bit doing its part (1 Cor 12)
Improving your serve
Ecclesia –Communion
Sonship verses slavery (John 17 & Romans 8)

Week seven
Being about Kingdom business – The work of ministry

Being a leader, Being a servant
The forgotten basin
Looking after sheep
Life in community – EGR’s
Five Loves
Mashed potato Love

Week eight
Tools for the journey - Bible study and personal devotions

The Bible
The Holy Spirit
Intimacy with him
Your private prayer time
Tools to study the Bible

Week nine
Learning to follow the Master

The new wine
Growth toward maturity
The place of suffering in the life of a Christian
The story of the soils
What it means to be a son
Gods promise – a new heart – a new power
When Jesus really is Lord

Week ten
You’re a person made for a mission

Mandate for mission
Called to the witness stand
Telling your story
Making the most of every opportunity
All around the world

Suggested reading for the group to study:

A fresh start; John Chapman
The Fight; John White;
Mere Christianity; C.S. Lewis
Forty Days of Purpose; Rick Warren
The Normal Christian Birth; John Stott
Discipleship; Juan Carlos Ortis

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