by Kenny Rader
You’re enjoying your Saturday afternoon by either relaxing or getting a lot of work done, and then you see them coming. Yep. They’re usually nicely dressed and possibly wearing white shirts and ties. They’re young and usually in their twenties. They turn into your driveway or start up your sidewalk. You know they are promoting their faith (usually Mormon [Latter Day Saints] or Jehovah Witnesses), and you shudder.
Now, you’re wondering if you should hide (oops, they already saw you working in the yard), or should you fend them off by trying to get rid of them; you know, by telling them you already go to Church, and you’re not interested in their information. But in the back of your mind, you’re haunted, “If I only knew more about what I believe, I might be able to talk with them more intelligently.”
Well, we might have an answer for you to solve that problem.
Beginning in March, we are starting a What We Believe class. What is the What We Believe class? While I’m still working out the details, here is what it looks like at this time. The class is a six-week course on our basic beliefs. For the most part, the class is what all Evangelical Churches believe.
What is an Evangelical Church? Well, in a nutshell, it’s the modern protestant church of the 20th-21st Century that believes in salvation through faith and obedience to Jesus Christ, and it believes in the authority of the Holy Bible. This can be of a denominational nature or an independent church as ours. Of course, there is a denomination called the Evangelical Church, but they are part of this overall description of the evangelical church group.
Our study will be the nutshell of what most all evangelicals believe, but it goes deeper because we will also talk about our particular beliefs here at RCC and what we call the Restoration Movement. What is the Restoration Movement? We will explain that in the study, but it is what separates us from so many of the denominational evangelicals.
Well, if you know me, you know I insist on food. “OH KENNY! WHY FOOD?”
I don’t know. Ask Jesus. He seemed always to be eating and drinking. That’s why they called Him a drunkard. He was always eating and drinking with sinners. Right? Yes and no. Jesus was not a drunkard, so, let’s get that out of the way first. But Jesus did eat and drink with people because He did a lot of socializing and teaching around food. We, His 21st century Church, need to socialize and get to know one another more intimately so we will include food with this study by asking that everyone bring a snack to share (okay, it doesn’t need to be healthy food).
But really, what happens as far as the study? Right now, it’s broken into six lessons. Here they are as of now.
1. Nine Essentials of an Evangelical Church
2. Understanding Our Heritage (some Restoration History here)
3. What the Bible Teaches about Communion and Baptism
4. What the Church Ought to Be
5. What Is Christianity All About?
6. How Reliable is the Bible?
This might increase by a lesson, or it might shorten by a lesson.
This study is whatever you make it but let me tell you what it is not. It is NOT an in-depth study that will bore you to death, at least I hope not. Unlike the last class on the Overview of the Bible, when we used a lot of PowerPoint slides, I’m not certain we will use slides at all, and if we do, we will use them minimally. We will not put the Scripture on a screen, even if we have a screen to use.
So, you WILL NEED YOUR BIBLE OR ELECTRONIC DEVICE that has a Bible app on it. I think in this case, an actual physical print Bible might be best, but that is entirely up to you. If the digital Bible works best for you, go for it. After the first class, you might change your mind on how you look up the Scripture, so feel free to try either or both. You will need to look up Scripture to get the full potential out of the class. But then again, no one will force you or look at you weirdly if you don’t look it up.
Please don’t let that frighten you. If you have trouble finding Bible passages, I’m confident someone will help you, or you can look on with someone. This is a class of learning. For the most part, you will know ahead of time what passages we will read so you can look them up before we get to them.
No, but that’s entirely up to you. The main point is that you have an idea what we believe and where you can find Scripture to substantiate your faith in God and Jesus. While all of us dream of having the key passages of the Bible memorized, I don’t find where God is going to make us take an entrance exam to get through the pearly gates into heaven. On the other hand, God does expect us to make disciples, so knowing more about what we believe will help us fulfill the Great Commission.
Let me answer that by telling you who doesn’t need this class: Bible College professors, preachers that have it all together (this one doesn’t), teachers that know the Bible like the back of their hand, elders who have full knowledge of the Bible, and anyone with a marvelous memory and faithfully serves Christ to the utmost degree.
So, I guess the rest of us can use this class – including me, of which I hope to benefit the most by teaching it. I NEED THIS CLASS, and my guess is that every one of you needs it too.
Allow me to be upfront with you. This is NOT my material. Years ago, Bob Russell, the founding minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky made a VCR of this class, and now it is on DVD. I am using Bob Russell’s material and his booklet for this class. We could just view his DVD series, but I need to learn the material, and the best way to learn is to teach it. Sorry, but you’re stuck with me.
Another reason we are not using the DVD is so we can address questions or make clarification if needed, which we cannot do if we use the DVD.
We plan on meeting at the church. The size of the class will determine the room needed. Ideally, the library or gymnasium is best, but the gymnasium might be in use the first couple of weeks so we might need to meet upstairs in the Worship Center at first. I love the problem of having so many things going on in the building. THAT IS GREAT!!!
If we end up with only a few people signed up, we might seek to meet in a home and make it a small group – a Connection Group, but we need to see how many sign up.
Right now, let’s plan on meeting at 7 pm on Tuesday evenings. If we only have a few signed up, we can get the consent of the group for any changes, but right now, let’s figure on 7 pm. We might get done in one hour, but it might go as late as 8:30. That will depend upon the discussion in the class. I think (and I’m not through all the lessons yet) each lesson is less than one hour.
If it’s like the last class I taught, some of you might wonder about a daytime class. Let’s wait and see what the response is. On March 10, daylight hours in the evening will increase. We could possibly start at 6:30 and get out earlier in the evenings.
I’m writing this before we have the signup sheet posted, so let’s float this a bit. If you are interested in the class, please talk to me and we will see what happens. It’s only for 6 weeks or so. Can we squeeze an early start at 6:30 and just have one class? I don’t know. Pray about it, and let’s talk.
Anyone mature enough to understand may attend, so if an elementary school student wants to learn, bring them. If someone is 110-years-old, certainly.
How about someone from another church? A denominational church? Sure, why not? While we welcome them, and they might ask some tough questions I cannot answer immediately without some research, they are welcome. The only thing I ask is that they respect our teaching and beliefs. This is not a forum to debate and argue, but it is a class for possible discussion. The more we discuss, however, the longer the class will last each evening. On the other hand, many times we learn more by means of someone with an alternate understanding.
I am scheduled to go on a mission trip to Haiti the week of March 24 so the class will not meet that week. This will let us have three classes; take a one-week break, and then resume the first week in April. If all goes well and we have no weather complications, we will be done the week before Easter.
Also, I am praying I don’t get called for jury duty, which I am on-call this winter into spring. That might throw a wrench in my well-thought plans.
Sign up and join us for six-or-so weeks of enjoyment, learning, and growth. You just might have more confidence in what you believe when those guys in the white shirts and ties come to your door.
Love you & God Bless,