WEEK 6 – September 20, 2016

PART 2: The Fruits of Hospitality

CHAPTER 6: Reconciliation

STUDY NOTES

Best Practices: Building Bridges

Consider holding an event at your church that will bring two very different groups together for reconciliation.

Join with members of another faith (not just a different congregation of your own faith) to do a service project together.

Avoid openly partisan sermons or messages that demonize or mock a particlar group of people or point of view.

Cosider partnering with local interaith religions.

Promoting reconciliation is at the top of Rick’s agenda – in fact, it is the first point in his P.E.A.A.C. Plan, an initiative designer to involve christiand in serving people in area of the greatest global needs. P.E.A.C.E. (shorthand for Promote reconciliatioin, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sic, Educate the next generation) has both local and global focal points.

In California, members of Saddleback participate in  a Christian-Muslim picnic every year, building bridges of relationship, and both Rick missions pastor Mike Constantz have gathered Muslims at the end of Ramadan to break the fast together.

Saddleback partners with African American churches in the city of Compton, California, to fix up houses and do work projects in communities.

Bridges are being built with Hispanic pastors in Southern California, and work is being done to keep young people out of gangs and in school – in Santa Ana, the drop-out rate is 80 percent among Hispanic youths.

In Rwanda, teams from Saddleback have partnered with church leaders, equipped pastors, and worked on the issue of reconciliation. “Saddleback has helped to bring unity to the Body of Christ in Rwanda” says Mike, “the greates unity in the past hundred years, according to a Rwandan leader”. Mike reports that the howing of the Jesus film – a 1979 docudrama about the life of Christ – in Rwandan prisons and communities has helped produce the fruit of forgiveness and reconciliation.

 

 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Where are the opportunities in your church and community to connect with people different than yourself?

  2. What approaches to conflict resolution exist in your congregation? How could you create gatherings for people to speak honestly and admit that they have behaved badly?

  3. Where do bridges need to be built between estranged groups in your church and community? What would a “bridge event” look like, and how could it lead to reconciliation?

  4. What happens when small groups gather for dialogue and participants focus on listening to one another instead of reacting to each other?

  5. How is it true that the best path to reconciliation is through the stomach? What are the limits to this approach?

 Action Plan:

In your community, identify a group from a different faith or culture with which you feel the need for reconciliation. This could be a group of Muslims from a local mosque or a congregation of Christian immigrants who speak a different language. Invite them to  dialogue at your church on the topic of marriage or parenting (avoid theological or political issues), at least at first.) Provide refreshments and translators if necessary. Focust on listening to each other and look for ways to build bridges.

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