February 6, 2003
To the Pastors of Florida Conference Churches,
We are pleased to announce the offering of a Lenten Bible Study "Go! Be The Church!," designed to help Congregations in their ministry of making disciples.
It is written by the Revs. Larry Rankin, Roger Swanson, and Linda Mobley, all members of the original task force which drafted the proposal to create the Office of Congregational Transformation.
The study is structured with commentary on various scripture texts from the Gospel of Mark and reflection questions to answer in preparation for a weekly small group gathering. The study examines the Gospel of Mark in a series of six weekly lessons that focus on helping a church develop ministry to people not yet a part of their congregational life. The sense of urgency with which Mark writes can stir in us the same sense of urgency to share Jesus with folks who are not yet blessed with the relationship that has made such a positive difference in our lives. An additional dimension is the series of sermon starters which will assist pastors in preaching each week during Lent on a text from the section of Mark studied that week. The starters are written by the Rev. Drs. Richard Neal and John Myers.
There is a genuine tide of interest across the Conference in recovering the outward focused ministry of making disciples. We believe this study can be an important part of the spiritual underpinnings of this movement.
Our vision for this study is that all the churches of the Conference will offer it during this Lenten season at times and in a format that opens the study to all in the congregation. Organize a special time; do it in Sunday School classes; organize short term small groups. Use your imagination as to how the challenge of the Gospel of Mark can be lifted up! There will be some reinforcing value in all of us doing it at the same time. We recognize that such programming decisions are the province of the local church, but please consider the benefits of doing it together. The study can of course be done any time. It isnít limited to the Lenten season.
We anticipate developing other resources to augment this one. The ministry of making disciples must be built on a sound spiritual and biblical base.
We believe you and your church will be blessed by the study and that you might make constructive suggestions on how to improve it. We would also like your suggestions on what would be a good next step in building our spiritual foundations.
In Great Anticipation,
The Gospel of Mark and Congregational Transformation Bible Study