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‘Christian Participant’s Guide’ is the study booklet for an eight-session small group DVD study based on Andy Stanley’s fascinating and profound preaching series he delivered at North Point Community Church, in Atlanta, Georgia.
The series tackles one strikingly simple question – what is a Christian?
Andy Stanley, in his trademark preaching style that blends together absorbing biblical knowledge with a clear and hard-hitting tone, says that the word ‘Christian’ is indefinable. Over the century’s, many have attempted to define, re-define, mis-define and un-define ‘Christianity’. With so many denominations and countless definitions, how can we call ourselves ‘Christians’.
Andy’s message is simple: are we Christians, or are we disciples?
It’s extremely hard to define Christianity in our modern world, but it’s much easier (and profoundly simple) to define the disciples of Jesus. Andy’s teaching takes you through how the people in Jerusalem, Judah and the surrounding Greek world saw the ‘Followers of the Way’, and the one word that Jesus said should define his disciples.
Inside the ‘Christian Participant’s Guide’:
• Discussion questions for individuals and small groups, directly relating to the DVD, to encourage further reflection, learning, Bible study and transformation.
• In between session devotionals, to encourage your group take what they’ve learnt into their daily lives.
• DVD teaching overviews
• A leader’s guide
Andy Stanley is respected as both a pastor and a leader. Founder of North Point Ministries, Andy has released a book shelf of leadership books and DVD’s to help the twenty-first century church move forward into the next generation. He is also regularly seen at leadership conferences, such as ‘Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit’ and ‘Catalyst’, and is known and respected for his straight-talking and creative style of teaching.
Andy is also a founder and pastor at Nothpoint Community Church. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the church attracts over 33,000 people across seven different locations. Andy’s messages are seen by over 1 million through the churches website every month, making his ministry one of the largest reaching in America today. His dry sense of humour, direct, chatty and no-notes preaching style is both highly engaging and biblically sturdy.
Christian Participant's Guide by Andy Stanley was published by Zondervan in January 2013 and is our 10487th best seller. The ISBN for Christian Participant's Guide is 9780310693345.
“Watching Pastor Andy Stanley preach this simple yet profound message can revolutionize and accelerate one’s faith ... Andy firmly grounded his teachings on the solid word of God through a solid faith.” – Review of ‘Faith, Hope and Luck’, by Haydee Ilagan for ChristianBookReview.com
“Stanley is known for tackling tough issues in a biblical and creative way. This study is no exception.” – Review of ‘Taking Responsibility for Your Life’, by Mark Howell.
“The teaching overall was very thorough, very biblical and very helpful … This video series is one I would encourage any group to use with little hesitation.” – Review of ‘Twisting the Truth’ DVD study, by Aaron Armstrong (author of ‘Awaiting a Saviour’ & ‘Contend’).
If you’re looking for deeper insight into Andy Stanley’s new small group study, mysteriously named ‘Christian’, you’ve scrolled down to the right place. Read on to find more info on the message of this study, the purpose of the study, and how it will benefit your small group.
Pastor and founder of Northpoint Church, Andy Stanley, is renowned for his biblical creativity. I’m not calling him heretic, but referring to his ability to communicate fascinating biblical insight in creative ways. This particular DVD study, put simply, is about creating a community that are defined by one thing – LOVE.
So why is it called ‘Christian’. Why not ‘Love Your Neighbour’, or ‘8 Ways to Love One Another’, or ‘The Love Commandment’?
It’s because the word we use to define us isn’t good enough. It represents lots of different things, like political agendas, split denominations, justification for imposing one’s ideals, family values, rules, and so much more. Andy knows that the word ‘Christian’ has many different meanings to many different people. And he also knows ‘Christians’ are uncomfortable to call themselves it because of these multiple meanings.
So, Andy wants us to re-shape the meaning of that word – ‘Christian’. He transports us back into the 1st Century, to the original ‘Christians’, and uses historical research and biblical know-how to show us that much of what the world has associated with ‘Christianity’ is plain wrong.
Andy begins his study by trying to define the word ‘Christian’, but he simply can’t. He turns to the Bible, and even the Bible can’t do it. That’s because the word only appears three times:
“The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” – Acts 11:26, when Barnabus and Saul went to Antioch to teach a growing number of Greek believers.
“Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’” – Acts 26: 28, when Paul was on trial in Caesarea.
“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” – 1 Peter 4:16, the only place other than Acts that mentions the word ‘Christian’.
The word ‘Christian’ was the name the Greek community labelled the early believers, it was an outsiders name for an emerging sub-culture (much like scally’s, or goth’s). None of the verses explain what a Christian is. The early community never used the word ‘Christian’ to describe themselves.
With this shockingly blunt foundation – that much of what we understand about being a ‘Christian’ is wrong – Andy revels how the early believers describe themselves, and builds his teaching series around the one characteristic that defines them. The last, and in many ways simplest, commandment Jesus gives his 12 disciples:
“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples.” – John 13:34-35.
That’s what this DVD study is trying to achieve, it asks those who are willing: “I know you are a ‘Christian’, but are you a ‘disciple’? Do you love each other?”
Ultimately, Andy Stanley wants to ‘rebrand’ Christianity. For your small group (and then your churches) to represent Christianity as Jesus meant it – as a community who radically loves. This isn’t a means to an ends, a quick-fix or a 5 step formula. It’s a ‘relational breakthrough’ to define those who follow Jesus.
Imagine what that would look like ... imagine how your small group would change ... imagine how people looking into your life would be dumb-stuck by how you treat each other ...
‘Christian’ is a small group study that encourages and teaches genuine change, genuine community, and genuine relationship. It takes the complex and convoluted religion – ‘Christianity’ – and simplifies it into one relational instruction – to love each other.
FROM ANDY STANLEY.
Andy Stanley: “If someone was to walk up to you on the street and say to you ‘are you a Christian’, some of you would say ‘yes’. Some of you would say ‘what do you mean’, right. Some of you would say ‘yes but’. Some of you would say ‘no, but’. Some of you would say ‘I am, but I’m not like that group’.
AN 8-PART SERIES.
Andy Stanley: “The problem with the word Christian is that it can be anything you want it to be.”
“There are Christians on both sides of every political issue. There are Christians on both sides of every legal issue. There are Christians on both sides of every financial issue. You can hide behind Christianity all day long.”
WHAT IS “CHRISTIAN”?
Andy Stanley: “You can define it, redefine it, mis-define it, un-define it. You can do all do all kinds of stuff with Christian. The words ‘Christian’ can mean anything you want it to mean, because the word ‘Christian’ is not defined in the New Testament.”
“And that’s the problem.”
“Andy Stanley explores in his new small group DVD study, ‘Christian’, why we call ourselves ‘Christian’?
“Open your Bible and you’ll have a hard time finding the word: ‘Christian’. In fact the word only appears three times, as the derogatory name the Greek world labelled Jesus’ followers. But what’s more interesting is how the early believers described themselves in the New Testament and what Jesus’ simple yet daring commandment to them was.”
“The DVD was filmed at North Point Community in Atlanta, Georgia, where Andy pastors and preaches. This engaging and relevant small group study challenges us to change how we define Christianity, to become a group of followers like the early disciples and to be characterised by one thing – love.”
|Author / Artist||Andy Stanley|
|Publisher||Zondervan (January 2013)|
|Number of Pages||144|
|Page last updated||25th March 2018|