The Ministry of Reconciliation: Guide
Group Discussion Guide
8.29.21 ONE Message Series
Galatians 3:26-28; John 4:1-42
The Ministry of Reconciliation
“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:39).
At the request of the Harpeth Hills shepherds, August has been focused on the Pauline idea of a Ministry of Reconciliation that God is seeking to accomplish through his people. This is, of course, the continued development of the themes announced in January. Focus has been on Paul’s three Spirit-chosen priorities of Jew-Gentile, slave-master, and male-female. In our context, this translates to the “prickly” topics of race, wealth, and gender. In this week’s study, our elders have addressed the “So What?” of these studies. How will Harpeth Hills declare its identity around these themes and pursue God’s will for a Ministry of Reconciliation in our time and place?
What do you know of the Samaritans and the “bad blood” between them and the Jews? (If you have a Bible dictionary, you might want to look up some background information.)
Why do you think John says Jesus “had to go through Samaria” (John 4:4) – when this was not the normal way a Jewish traveler would go from Judea to Galilee? In other words, was this a necessity of geography or divine appointment?
How does the exchange between Jesus and the Samaritan woman focus the three topics we have looked at during August – race, wealth, and gender? What insight(s) have come to you from reflecting on it?
The shepherds presented a statement to our church family today that pledges us to continue pursuing the gospel’s Ministry of Reconciliation (cf. 2 Cor 5:16-21). Have you taken time to read the statement emailed to the church on “Females in Christian Service / Leadership”? What is your reaction to it?
Do you understand why our leadership body believes it necessary to address the topics of race, wealth, and gender? Did you catch our elders’ statement that their study has been ongoing for two years?
· The point is NOT to indict, bash, or make people feel guilty for things they have not done.
· The point is NOT to discount the many things this church and its members have done over the years to address these issues – personally, with great generosity, and in Christian love.
· The point IS to remind all of us how important these topics are and that there is still more to be done by the people of God to make our world a better place.
· The point IS to call us to explore even more opportunities – as we are this very week in sending relief funds to Haiti and both funds and workers to Waverly – to practice the Golden Rule.
As you end your time of study and reflection, please pray for our shepherds as they lead this church. Thank our Heavenly Father for their responsible leadership, commitment to Scripture, and love for the members of our church family. Pray for the Spirit to guide them in their work