Formations Summary

January–April 2020

Unit 1: Faithful Witness

Hillary B. Kimsey

In this unit, we will explore the witness of the early church. First, we will consider the story of Peter and John, who, when released from jail, gathered with the church to pray for boldness. Next, we will explore Paul’s approach to evangelism as he addresses the Athenian altar dedicated “to an unknown God.” Third, we will consider God’s inherent wisdom, given to us by the Spirit. Finally, we will consider how our struggles in difficult circumstances never prevent us from exalting Christ, whose power is made perfect in weakness.

Unit 2: Moses and the Exodus

Starlette Thomas

Moses’ birth narrative is legendary, but it isn’t about superhuman strength or dogged determination. Initially, Moses initially refuses the call to deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh’s hands. In this five-lesson unit, we will explore some of the pivotal moments in Moses’ story, including drifting on the Nile with his sister Miriam watching nearby, God’s call to him from the burning bush, the first plague, God passing over the Israelites to strike down the firstborn of Egypt, and the parting of the Red Sea as Israel escaped to freedom. We will also compare Moses’ story with that of the nation of Israel, exploring how their stories come full circle, not through fancy footwork, but by faith.

Unit 3: God’s Scandalous Kingdom

Wayne Proctor

In the kingdom of God, “scandalous” proclaims a message that we may not at first welcome. Jesus shows us a God who turns temple tables over, calls out hypocrites, shows love for people who are broken and unlovable, looks at the heart as the true measure of human beings, grapples with vital principles like wealth and stewardship, and gives women dignity and a voice. This unit will explore four such instances in the Gospels, passages which have often been misunderstood but which point to God’s scandalously empowering Kingdom.

Unit 4: Places of Resurrection

Joseph LaGuardia

Places of resurrection emerge throughout the Bible and throughout our lives, expressing all the ways Jesus breathes new life into us. In this unit, we will explore resurrection through specific places: the temple (John 2), the tomb (John 20), the locked room (John 20), and the church (Hebrews 10). These locations, as well as the points along the journey of faith they represent, will direct us toward holy encounters with God.

May–August 2020

Unit 1: The Spirit and Power

LaMon Brown

This unit, leading up to the day of Pentecost, explores the role of the Holy Spirit as depicted in Luke and Acts. In Luke, we will see the Spirit descend upon Jesus after his baptism and will hear Jesus encourage us to be bold in praying for the Spirit to be active in our own lives. Turning to Acts, we will sit with the apostles as Jesus teaches them about the Holy Spirit who will empower them to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Then, we’ll walk with Philip in Samaria, a great evangelistic work that culminates with the coming of the Holy Spirit to these new believers. Finally, we will hear Paul’s conversation with twelve disciples who has not yet received the Holy Spirit. The presence and power of the Holy Spirit changed the lives of Jesus and the early Christians. That presence and power is still available to us today.

Unit 2: The Beloved Disciple

Hillary B. Kimsey

The Gospel of John differs from the other three New Testament Gospels in many ways. One of those is the inclusion of a character known only as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” As we study the texts in this unit, we will examine the Beloved Disciple more as a symbol than a literal person. Whoever this figure may have been in history, in the Fourth Gospel he is depicted as an idealized example of a disciple. By studying him, we may learn more about what it truly means to follow Christ’s invitation to “come and see.” Then, in turn, we may follow his example by bearing witness to others about everything we have seen and heard.

Unit 3: The Book of Hosea

Wayne Ballard

The book of Hosea comes from the northern kingdom of Israel. Hosea is the only voice we have of a northern kingdom prophet, and was likely written around 750 BC, shortly after the book of Amos and before Israel’s destruction in 722 BC. Even so, Hosea’s message is timeless: God demands faithfulness. Over the course of five weeks, we will explore how Hosea used lessons from his own marriage to unfaithful Gomer, described in chapters 1–3, to shed light on his theme of faithfulness in chapters 4–14. Like us today, the people of Israel struggled to uphold the covenant they had made with God. Hosea calls us back to purity in worship, thought, and deed.

Unit 4: Humor in the Bible

Leigh Powers

The four lessons in this unit will help us see how lightheartedness and humor can be part of the life of faith. Our first lesson will study several verses from Proverbs that speak about the benefits of cheerfulness, gladness, and joy. Lesson two will help us explore the relationship between sorrow and joy, discovering that joy embraces sorrow’s power to point us to Christ. Our third lesson will guide us to consider how we can express joy as we celebrate God’s unchanging goodness. Lesson four will explore how Isaac’s miraculous birth lifted Abraham and Sarah’s spirits, turning their doubt into delight. Joy at God’s blessings can encourage us and invite us into a life of deeper faith.