Formations Summary

September–December 2022

Unit 1: Unwrapping Spiritual Gifts

Carol Davis Younger

Paul suggests that when God gives us a spiritual gift, God brings other gifts for us to unwrap as well. Over the course of these four sessions, we will consider all of the gifts that God offers us, those used to serve the body of Christ and those that make us more Christlike. By focusing on how spiritual gifts deepen our relationship with God and God’s people, we will focus on ways gifts are to work together with other people’s gifts rather than be used alone. As we will see by the end of the unit, being part of Christ’s body gives us the opportunity to mature in faith, grow into the fullness of Christ, and become who God intends us to be.

Unit 2: Giving in the New Testament

Leigh Powers

Giving is part of life. We give gifts to mark special occasions like holidays, birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries. At church we give tithes, offerings, and gifts for special projects such as mission trips or youth events. We give to support causes that are important to us and to show people that we care about them. What does the Bible say about giving, and how do we honor God with our gifts? Through four New Testament texts, in this unit will help us explore how we can give of our time, talents, and resources for the glory of God.

Unit 3: After the Exile

LaMon Brown

This unit will look at postexilic Israel through the lens of four questions: How can I mark the milestones of my spiritual journey? What am I called to rebuild? What would renewal look like in my life? How can I find joy in the word of God? We will study how the Jewish people approached and sought to answer each question as they remembered what had happened to them and among them. We will also explore how to draw on what came before to build or rebuild our lives of faith. Like the returning exiles, we are also a people of a book, and over these four weeks we will seek to recapture joy in our relationship with God’s word.

Unit 4: Foremothers of Jesus

Lance Wallace

A genealogy is a study in representation. In this Advent and Christmas unit of five lessons, we will see the five women represented in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. Some of these women have admittedly scandalous stories, which is perhaps more reason to explore why Matthew included these women in his list. How might these women’s stories open our eyes to otherwise forgotten truths about the incarnation? What can their stories teach us about anticipating Christmas this year? Through this study, we will lean upon the generations of God’s people who anticipated Christ’s coming, helping us to recapture the meaning and joy of the season.

January–April 2023

Unit 1: The Messiah Appears

Charles Qualls, with contributions from Michael McCullar, Gary Parker, and Kathleen Gore Stewart

The Season of Epiphany is a season of new beginnings. We have celebrated Christ incarnate, coming to us in the form of a helpless baby. In the next four weeks, we will explore several remarkable episodes from the beginning of Jesus’ life and ministry. In each of these stories, we learn more and more about who Jesus is and what he came to accomplish. We begin with the visit of the wise men, then turn to the stories of Jesus’ baptism and temptations. Finally, we explore the story of Jesus healing a centurion’s servant. Through them, we will ponder the question of who belongs in the kingdom that Jesus has come to proclaim.

Unit 2: The Reign of King David

LaMon Brown

One of the more challenging yet rewarding pursuits in the historical books of the Hebrew Scripture is biographical studies. In this unit, we will look at four vignettes from the life of David. In lesson one, we will see the elevation of David as king of Israel, followed by his conquest of Jerusalem as his new capital city. In lesson two, David’s plan to build a temple to honor God is not God’s plan for David. In lesson three, David will do something that God has demanded, but God punishes Israel because David does it. In lesson four, we see the aged David appoint his son Solomon as king and provide him with the materials and craftspeople needed to built the temple that had long been David’s dream for God and Israel. Together we’ll ask the questions “Where can I find hope for the future?” and “What will be my legacy?”

Unit 3: Following Jesus

Joseph LaGuardia

This unit will explore difficult sayings of Jesus that relate to discipleship. As we make our way to the cross, we will spend the next five weeks reflecting on our willingness to follow Jesus no matter where our relationship with him might take us. In the first lesson, Jesus turns his attention toward Jerusalem and expects his disciples to do the same. The second lesson considers discipleship from the point of view of God’s inclusive call to God’s great banquet feast. The third lesson challenges us to question any allegiance that might hinder our discipleship, while the fourth lesson highlights the kind of celebration that happens when the “lost” are found. The last lesson puts us in the middle of a teaching moment with a rich ruler who is called to give up everything to follow Jesus. The question is, will we have the courage to give up everything for Christ too?

Unit 4: Easter and Onward

Drew Herring

Followers of Jesus today walk in the footsteps of the first disciples and apostles. The disciples who walked with Jesus into Jerusalem stepped out in faith, greeting him as king when he rode into the city. To do this, they had to succeed in their struggle to understand Jesus’ predictions that he would die, and they had to face the resistance of Pharisees who wanted to silence their praise. Over five weeks, this unit will explore the resurrection and what comes from it, including the Spirit of the Lord, God’s calling us to share the good news of Christ with the world, and our hope for a world full of Christ’s presence and ruled by our perfect savior. May these stories of disciples welcoming Jesus, affirming the resurrection, receiving the spirit, and proclaiming Christ boldly become our stories even as we wait for God’s victorious ending.