Sermon Snapshot (Luke 9:10-17)
Here is a wonderful story of a huge multitude of people (probably at least 15,000 people) being fed by one little boy's lunch in the hands of Jesus. Despite the huge need, there was “more than enough” for everyone because of God's provision. What seems impossible to us (it would have cost eight months wages for this one meal - see Mk.6:30-44) is possible to God when we surrender our little (one boy's lunch - Jn.6:1-14) to his miraculous touch.
Today, there are still crowds of people who are hungry and looking for spiritual meaning and reality. Jesus loves them and wants to minister to their needs. Do we want to send the crowd away like the disciples did because of the inadequacy of our resources? We believe that Jesus is saying, “You give them something to eat.” He will take our little, if we will surrender it to him, and do miracles with it. There will be “more than enough” if we obey Jesus!
Mark shared another wonderful story, the story of CityLife Church, outlining the three chapters so far under the leadership of three Senior Ministers: Richard Holland (1967-1986), Kevin Conner (1987-1994) and Mark Conner (1995-present). Each chapter has been built on the previous and we have all been blessed by the work and sacrifice of those who have gone before us. The challenge is for us to being willing work and sacrifice to those who are yet to come - many who are yet to find Jesus Christ
or a church home.Possible Discussion Questions
- What reflections did you have after hearing the history of CityLife? The aim here is simply to get people talking about what they felt. No comment is “right” or “wrong”.
- What do you think have been some of the keys to the growth of CityLife? Get the group to think about what are some of the strengths of our church that we should continue to maintain.
- How do you feel about the prospect of another building project? Again, the aim here is simply to get people to be honest and for you to pulse who is “excited”, “not sure” or “concerned”. Once you've done this, try to understand the reasons why they feel this way. There is no need to disagree or respond any more than you think you need to. Cultivating openness and honesty is the goal, so we know how people really
- What was your response to the fact that only 45% of CityLife people tithe? [For your information, currently we have 1795 households as part of our database. If we allow for only 80% of these households having an income, that makes it 1436 households. On an average total income per household of $40,000, a tithe would be $4000 per year, which multiplied by 1436 would be 5.74 million dollars. In actual fact, we receive just less than 3 million dollars in tithes and undesignated offerings each year. This indicates that approximately 45% of people tithe. If the other 55% simply tithed regularly, we would have another 3 million dollars per year to invest in the ministries of the church.] Just get them sharing whether this surprised them or not.
- Why do you think this is? Here is a good chance to talk about some of the reasons why people do or don't give, and especially their attitude to “tithing” - giving God a 10th of our “firstfruits”, rather giving nothing or just what is left over after all the bills are paid.
- Obviously, every church has a larger “crowd” than it does a “committed core”, but what are some things that would encourage people to be more committed to their local church and it's ministries? Be open to some of their ideas for increasing commitment.
- What do you think about the idea of CityLife planting more churches in Melbourne and beyond? See what the group thinks about this kind of venture and maybe some keys to getting people excited about going and being a part of a church plant. Would they go?
The whole aim of this discussion is simply to “debrief” on this important message to the church and to get a pulse on how people are feeling about our future - it's possibilities and it's challenges. Awareness of people's feelings will help us as we seek to lead the church forward together in unity. Please forward a summary of your Life Group's responses to these questions to your Network Pastor. Thank you very much.