Connections Summary

January–April 2018

Unit 1: The Word of the Lord

Aimee Yeager
Beginning with God’s words that bring earth into being, this four-lesson unit examines places where God speaks in the Old Testament. Learners will hear God’s call to Samuel, Jonah, and people of Ninevah, and will see how these servants respond. Finally, they will look to Deuteronomy to hear, not only God’s promise of prophets who will speak for God, but also a warning for those who falsely claim this role. By examining moments when God speaks in the Bible, learners can ask how God speaks to us today and can explore how they might respond.

Unit 2: Proclaim the Good News

John E. Manzo
Like Jesus’ disciples commissioned in Matthew 28 to share the gospel, we too are called to share a message of good news with all those we encounter. This unit encourages participants to ask four questions—why, who, what, and how—about what it means to proclaim Christ’s gospel. As learners explore these questions they will look to Paul’s letters to the Corinthians as well as the Gospel of Mark to understand how they might share Jesus’ messages of repentance and resurrection in both their words and their lives.

Unit 3: Growing in Faith

Alan Redditt
For the last four Sundays of Lent, participants will follow Jesus’ lead in John as he drives animals and moneychangers out of the temple, tells Nicodemus about gift of life that comes with the kingdom of God, teaches his disciples about the meaning of his identity as the Messiah, and humbly enters into Jerusalem to claim this role. All along the way, learners will see the different responses people had to Jesus’ faith. And they will also be invited, themselves, to ask how they might more faithfully respond to Christ’s example.

Unit 4: Easter’s Afterglow

Bruce Gentry
This unit begins on Easter Sunday and, over the next four lessons, examines ways the community of believers in Acts respond to Christ’s resurrection. Bookended by Peter’s meal with Cornelius and Philip’s message to the Ethiopian, participants are invited to see how Christ’s resurrection prompted the church to extend the message of Christ beyond their own particular community. Between these lessons, learners will see how the first churches shared generously with each other and extended healing in both work and speech. During this season of celebrating Christ’s resurrection, their example invites participants to ask how the resurrection shapes their own lives in community.

May–August 2018

Unit 1: Jesus’ Legacy

Sarah Reddish
Jesus’ disciples inherit a tradition stretching back to those first followers of Jesus. This four-lesson unit brings learners into two conversations Jesus has with his disciples in John’s gospel. Participants will gather at the Last Supper with the first disciples, and they will sit in darkness with Nicodemus, all while considering their inheritance as Christians. Along the way, these conversations can challenge them to claim this legacy of love, truth, spirit, and mystery for their own time.

Unit 2: The Way Through

Keith Herron
This four-lesson unit looks to Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians to explore how believers travel to glory. As learners examine the situation in Corinth, they may recognize, with those early believers, four planes on which Christ leads his followers. Death and life, temporariness and eternity, old and new, and appearance and reality—these themes frame each discussion of Paul’s letter, guiding participants to discover ways to make similar journeys.

Unit 3: Learning from David

Leigh Powers
David, the ideal king of Israel and the mold for its expected messiah, has shaped many understandings of what it means to be faithful. Participants will likely be familiar with many of David’s stories, and this unit examines five from 2 Samuel. With triumph and failure, each story invites learners to remember this biblical hero as a real person who encountered real struggles. As believers consider how to follow God in grief, experience, praise, patience, and temptation, they can find in these stories of David a source of encouragement and guidance.

Unit 4: The Bread of Life

Marilyn McKelvey Tucker
This unit leads learners to the Psalms and to the book of John. Each lesson begins with a psalm, inviting participants to explore their hungers for belief, life, belonging, and endurance. After each psalm, however, a passage from Jesus’ Bread of Life discourse invites them to imagine how Jesus’ teachings satisfy these needs. We hope that this practice of recognizing hunger and looking to be filled by Jesus might help learners to embrace and share the bread of life.