After his resurrection, Jesus commissioned his followers to “go and make disciples…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded” (Matthew 28:19). A great way to immediately act on Jesus’ command is to gather and lead a missional community around the Word.
The goal of Living God’s Story is to create communities of growing disciples who learn from Matthew’s stories and then live them out in their context. Disciples grow by hearing the Word of God, responding actively, and then debriefing and interpreting the experience.
Here’s how it works:
Gather a Group
- Pray and ask Jesus who to invite.
- Brainstorm friends who didn’t attend Urbana and might want grow in knowing and following Jesus. (To gather a group of 3-5 you might need to invite 10 people.)
- Decide how many times and how often the group will meet.
- Tell your Urbana story and invite them to join you in studying Matthew for an hour and then living it out together.
Hear the Word—Learn God’s Story
- Pick one of the nine Urbana Matthew passages and read the suggested Active Responses.
- When you gather, hand out the manuscripts and read the selected passage out loud.
- Give a few minutes of quiet for each person to read the story again on their own and mark things that are interesting or confusing.
- Ask open ended questions that keep the conversation focused on this biblical story:
- What do you notice about Jesus and how he interacts with people? What impresses you about him?
- Which of the characters do you find most interesting? Why?
- What do you find surprising or troubling?
- What does the story communicate about God?
Respond Actively—Live God’s Story
- Share the Active Response options with the group.
- Decide on one together. Ask Jesus how he is inviting you to live this story. (As you continue to meet, choose a variety of responses so that you do some individually and some together, some toward God and some toward others, and some that proclaim the gospel and some that demonstrate the gospel through service.)
- Make a specific plan. When will you do it? How?
- Follow up with your group outside of the time to encourage and remind them.
Debrief and Interpret—Share Your Story
- At the beginning of the next Bible study, take the first ten minutes to ask questions about the group’s experience of living God’s story:
- What happened?
- What did you learn about God, yourself, your community, and the world?
- What do you sense God inviting you to keep doing and to change?