Jesus Shaped People

Jesus Shaped People – An adult group view

We have now completed the first two stages of our Jesus Shaped People church project, and so a good time to step back and reflect on how it has gone so far. The sermon each Sunday morning has been a helpful introduction to the topic for the week and all ages have taken part, from Sunday School and youth to adult congregations and seven house groups, including one for men meeting in the Burley Tap!

On Sunday 17th March, congregations were asked to write down first of all in one word what Jesus means to them, and the most frequent answer was Love. Then we were invited to say what the project has meant for us personally. Responses included the opportunity of getting to know people across age groups and so being comfortable to explore our faith with others in a relaxed and supportive group, learning from other people’s faith journeys and time spent thinking about and understanding the bible.

On the same Sunday, Canon Gordon Dey met with a number of JSP hosts and leaders, for feedback on the course so far. Leaders reported that all three services were represented in the house groups, and members had enjoyed the opportunity to explore and exchange ideas and were enjoying the groups. There was an understanding that faith isn’t just about coming to church, but affects the whole of our lives. In the first stage on the subject of People, we looked at those to whom Jesus ministered – not the power-hungry but the powerless – people marginalized by society such as blind Bartimaeus, and we were encouraged today to speak to people we wouldn’t normally engage with. The second stage – Jesus’ Teaching – included the parable of the Sower, with time to consider what the four types of soil might mean for us; perhaps different soils coming into play at different times in our lives.

Gordon pointed out that ‘Jesus shaped people’ has layers of meaning – Jesus shaped the disciples as they listened to him and saw him at work; we are to be people shaped by him as we learn more from him; and we will ourselves become more Jesus-shaped as we do so – but the ‘shape’ will be different for each of us.

Paul and Irene Fowler

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Jesus Shaped People – A youth-group view

Ellie and I have the privilege of running the youth sessions and we couldn’t ask for a better group! There is always a healthy supply of biscuits and cake and conversation. The largest age gap is 8 years, between me and our youngest member; the discussions are (usually) mature and we all feel comfortable debating and clarifying amongst ourselves the questions that arise during the evening. Our debates can jump topics from the devil to Harry Potter, from demons to mental health, from climate change to parables. Safe to say there is never a dull moment.

This course is giving all a chance to be as children again no matter what house group you are a part of. And for those not in groups, the sermon on Sunday can lead into discussions outside of allocated times with those eager to learn. It is a blessing to be able to run our group especially with the support of Lizzie, Becky, and Sara, and Gordon who joined us on the 5th session. We hope the next few weeks will continue to be informative, exciting, and just a little bit of a challenge.

Sophie Gurung