Diving into Galatians

Over the last year of being in Malawi, one of the ministry highlights has been working with the journey groups. We currently have three journey groups that meet, one was started before I arrived, in 2016, and two were started in the spring of this year. Each group meets approximately every six weeks for two days to fellowship together and work through discipleship lessons. Group members are diverse, from different regions and tribes of Malawi, with the hope of forming tight discipleship groups that transcend human boundaries and bring unity to the often-divided country of Malawi. It has been really fun to start the two new groups this last year and watch them coalesce into groups that trust and care for each other. It has also been really fun to come into Journey Group 1, now ending its second year together.

This group of guys from all over Malawi has been meeting together for two years now, and the members display a maturity and compassion for the churches of Christ in Malawi that is incredible. Over the last year we have been working through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-6, as well as have been reworking through Luke 15 and the sheep, coin, and prodigal son imagery found there. This group has been actively applying these themes, concepts, and theological ideas to their own lives in a way that will positively impact their local churches, families, and communities.

After receiving some feedback a month or so ago, the group felt it was time to tackle Paul’s letter to the Galatians. We have been excited to jump into this New Testament book, mainly because we wanted to work through an entire book of the Bible for a while. However, we wanted to wait for the right time, since the theme of the letter to the Galatians has very real implications for the churches here in Malawi who often experience the same issues as the churches in Galatia. We understood that the gospel message presented in Paul’s letter was, and is, explosive, and would be potentially difficult to wrestle with without maturity in Christ. Therefore, we have been putting off the book for months. However, finally, we decided that the group was ready for the study, and so last week we hosted a three day Journey Group where we dived into the first chapter of Galatians.

It was wonderful. The group members brought a compassion and humility to the letter that was mind-blowing. We spent much of the first day understanding Paul and his context, as well as understanding the Galatian context. Day two was spent understanding Paul’s definition of the gospel and what a no-gospel was according to the apostle. Then, in day two and three, we jumped into the book, with fruitful results. Common church issues were raised in response to Paul’s words, and the group engaged in gospel conversations about what is fundamental to the gospel and what is an opinion issue. I was blown away by the frankness of the conversations, the struggles that were revealed, and the gospel responses given. It was an incredible three days, and it was difficult to pause the conversation to allow the guys to return to their homes on Friday afternoon.

Thank you for your prayers the last few days concerning this group. God has answered those prayers for maturity, wisdom, and humility with abundance, and has blessed the guys and their conversations. Please continue to pray for them as they are now back home, that these issues of gospel importance will continue to rest in their hearts, and that they will wrestle with Paul’s words in their leadership with their churches.

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