We’re pleased to announce the availability this month of Ephesians: Studying with the Global Church, a study guide and DVD curriculum ideal for home groups or adult Sunday school classes based on the study of Ephesians at Cape Town 2010.
The Holy Spirit seems to be highlighting the book of Ephesians for The Lausanne Movement at this point in history. On one level this isn’t surprising as the central theme of Ephesians is the role of the church in God’s redemptive plan to redeem the cosmos. “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:10-11) The church stands as evidence of the power of Jesus’ cross and resurrection and as a sign post pointing to the redemption of all things. Spiritual forces of evil seek to chip away at the church – undermining our unity and stunting our growth unto maturity. But God generously fills us with love and power to live worthy of our calling, empowering us with his Holy Spirit to fulfill his purposes.
But why might the Spirit be leading us to pay particular attention to Ephesians now? I believe it is because the themes of Ephesians are timely and prophetic for God’s people and the world at this point in history. Prior to the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (Cape Town 2010), Gideon Para-Mallam, former International Deputy Director of English and Portuguese Speaking Africa, challenged The Lausanne Movement saying,
“Ephesians celebrates the revelation of God’s wisdom through the new humanity to be manifested to the whole world by the witness of the Church….In this journey of seeking unity and reconciliation, is the global Church committed to promoting and modeling such relationships? …Social transformation will not be achieved unless we heed the message of Ephesians.”
Cape Town 2010 provided an arena for representatives of the church world-wide to gather in unity and humility, seeking God’s will for our common mission and listening to him speak through Ephesians. Studying Ephesians with the Global Church is intended to make some of that experience available to local churches. The guide provides training in inductive Bible study, a fold out manuscript of the book of Ephesians, all the background material and application questions used at Cape Town 2010, a DVD recording of the six Bible expositors, and a brief introduction to The Lausanne Movement. In the back of the guide, leaders are coached on how to make space for the Word, facilitate discussion, and help the group listen the Holy Spirit. It is an innovative resource that goes far beyond most small group Bible study guides.
Our hope is that God’s people throughout the world will gather in community around his Word and be led into the reconciliation and maturity the church desperately needs if we are to fulfill our calling as the “one new humanity” (Eph.2:15).