Small-Group Study Guides

These study guides offer the group several options in both the number of sessions to be studied and the learning methods that will be used in the study sessions. The study guides are written for five sessions, but they can be adapted easily for as many as ten sessions. The study guide for each session suggests more learning activities than can be used in one session. The leader thus has the opportunity to select from a variety of suggested learning methods for each session.

If possible, the church should provide a copy of The Biblical Basis of Missions for each group member. Otherwise, have books available for members to purchase at least one week before the study. Members should be encouraged to prepare for each session by studying the chapters to be discussed in that session and by completing all personal learning activities in those chapters.

To prepare to lead the study, you should take the following steps.

1. Study the entire text carefully. Complete all personal learning activities as you study.

2. Well in advance of the study, gather and prepare any materials needed. Any material recommended in these guides for distribution to members may be duplicated without the permission of the publisher.

3. Get copies of Form 725, Church Study Course Enrollment/Credit Request, to request study course credit for persons who complete the study. Directions for requesting credit are at the end of the book.

4. Make arrangements well ahead of time for the equipment you will need for your meeting room. If possible, arrange to have a large room with tables and movable c hairs. Try to arrange to have a freestanding chalkboard. If no chalkboard is available, arrange to have a room with ample wall space for newsprint. Make sure that the group members are seated comfortably and informally. Avoid having group members seated in rows. Position tables in a semicircle or in some other arrangement so that group members can see you and one another. After the first session, when you learn how many persons will be in the study, remove all extra chairs except two or three.

5. Plan each session carefully. It will be necessary for you to select for each session the learning methods that you think best suit your group. Probably, the number of sessions in the study has been determined already. If not, you may want to lead the group to consider extending the study for more than five sessions.

Session 1

The Mission of God in the Old Testament
Introduction and Chapters 1 and 2

Training goal: By correctly answering questions on a quiz at the end of this session, members will demonstrate their understanding that the biblical basis of missions is God’s concern and initiative in establishing his kingdom.

Before the Session

1. Use pieces of newsprint stapled together to prepare a flipchart that you will use in each session of the study.






God intends to restore
man’s relationship to
him and to involve man
as a partner in
establishing the
kingdom of God.

Page 1

Page 2


God elected a people
to do his will and to become obedient, servant-priests to the nations of the world.


God sent Jesus as his obedient Servant-Priest to redeem man and to form a holy kingdom of priests who would demonstrate and proclaim the good news of the kingdom.

Page 3

Page 4


God sent the Holy Spirit to take Christ's place and to empower, inspire, and guide his chosen people to proclaim the gospel to every person on earth.


Christ indwells his church so it will live by the Calvary principle of priesthood, the incarnation principle of servanthood, and the resurrection principle of sonship.

Page 5

Page 6


Christ accomplishes his mission through multiplying disciples in all nations.


Christ appoints equippers to enable the people of God to do the work of ministry.

Page 7

Page 8


Christ calls his disciples to ministry and gives them spiritual gifts to enable them to serve the church and the world.


God intervenes in the affairs of men and nations to establish his kingdom in proportion to the intercessory prayers of his people.

Page 9

Page 10


God’s mission will be accomplished when Christ delivers the kingdom to the father. Meanwhile, he gives his people every opportunity to conquer and reign with him.

Page 11

2. Prepare two posters as shown.


1. God’s election of his people

2. God’s covenant with his people

3. Man’s response to God’s promises


1. A disciplined people

2. A nation of priests

3. A servant people


1. What is the basis for missions?

2. What did God do in the Old Testament to involve people in his mission?

3. What roles did God intend for his people to fulfill?

4. Who seemed to be winning the conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan at the conclusion of the Old Testament?

5. Compare and contrast our response to God today with the response of Israel.

3. Enlist three members to summarize the information in chapter 2 under the headings "A Disciplined People," page 36; "A Nation of Priests," page 38; and "A Servant People," page 39. Prepare assignment slips for these assignments.4. Prepare enough copies of the quiz for all members (p. 165). Or members may use the quiz in their books.5. Have available extra copies of The Biblical Basis of Missions in case some members do not have copies.6. Have available pencils and paper.7. If a chalkboard is not available, have sheets of newsprint available.8. Get the necessary materials to register members and to prepare name tags.

9 Get a world globe for use during the session.

During the Session

1. Ask members to register and to prepare name tags as they arrive.

2. Distribute copies of The Biblical Basis of Missions to those who do not have copies.

3. Explain the requirements for receiving Church Study Course credit for this study. (See the explanation at the back of the book. )

4. Use the flipchart to preview the study.

5. Distribute copies of the quiz or direct members to page 165. Ask members to scan the questions to see if they can answer them before the study. Tell them they will not write answers until the end of the session.

6. Distribute pencils and paper. Ask members to write why they think they should be involved in missions. While they are working, write on the chalkboard or on newsprint: What is the basis of missions? After members finish writing, ask some to share their answers. Write their responses on the chalkboard or on the newsprint. After several have responded, compare their answers to the reasons listed in chapter 1.

7. Ask members to discuss why missions must be based on God’s mission. You need not resolve all the questions, for the group will be studying the biblical basis of missions throughout the study.

8. Display the globe and ask members how they might perceive the world if they could see it from God’s perspective. Ask them to imagine that the world and man have just been created. Then ask members to discuss what they think God’s purpose was in creating man and the world.

9. Optional: Instead of the preceding activity, you may want to demonstrate God’s greatness by using the globe as the starting point for a journey through space. Use the material in chapter 1 (p. 16) for this activity.

10. Ask members to turn to the pyramid diagram on page 15 in chapter 1. Ask, If God is powerful, loving, and purposeful, how can the world be in such a mess? Form four study groups to seek answers to the dilemma. Assign the following sections of chapter 1 for study and discussion. Ask the groups to be prepared to report their findings.

  Group 1: "The Nature of God," page 15
  Group 2: "The Nature of Man," page 18
  Group 3: "The Nature of Evil," page 21
  Group 4: "The Nature of the Mission," page 23

After a brief period of study and discussion, ask each group to report its findings.

11. Ask members to turn to personal learning activity 4 in their books and to discuss their responses to it.

12. Display page 2 of the flipchart and read the theme of chapter 1.

13. Display the poster "God’s Mission for His People." Point to the first topic and ask one member to tell how God showed his election-love in choosing Abraham. Ask another member to describe how God demonstrated his election-love in choosing Israel. Discuss the purpose of election (favoritism or service). Discuss how Israel interpreted its sense of divine destiny and the parallel feelings of modern Christians.

14. Point to the second topic on the poster and ask members to discuss the relationship of election to the covenant.

15. Point to the third topic on the poster and lead members to discuss how marriage illustrates the relationship between election and the covenant.

16. Ask, What does God do when man fails to respond correctly to his election-love and his covenant-love? Discuss how God worked in spite of the failures of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Israel. (See personal learning activity 8.)

17. Display the poster "God’s Roles for His People." Call on the three persons enlisted to summarize this information from chapter 1. Explain to the group that they will continue to discuss these roles throughout the study. (Keep this poster for use in seq. 3.)

18. Ask members to use personal learning activity 13 to compare and contrast the experience of Baptists today with the roles God had for his people Israel.

19. Ask members to write and discuss their answers to the questions on the quiz. (In planning the session, do not omit this activity. )

20. Urge members to study carefully chapters 3 and 4 before the next session and to complete all personal learning activities in those chapters.

21. Close with a prayer that the study will help each person become involved in God’s mission.

Session 2

The Mission of God in the New Testament
Chapters 3 and 4

Training goal: At the end of this session, members will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the missions of Christ and the Holy Spirit by refuting the claims of universalism and by explaining three ways the Holy Spirit enables Christ’s body to fulfill its mission.

Before the Session

1. Ask five members to be prepared to make the following statements and debate them with you briefly during the session. They should do this at the time you are discussing universalism. Write the following statements on separate pieces of paper.

 --People of other nations have their own religions; we should not upset them with ours.

--Who are we to tell people of other faiths that they are wrong? A// religions are trying to do the same thing and to help people get to the same place.

--If heathens never hear of Christ, surely they will not go to hell.

--We should not go to other nations to tell them how to live until we do better ourselves.

2. Ask two members to prepare to read the interview between Satan and the reporter. (See "The Resurrection," p. 51 in chap. 3.)

3. Have the flipchart ready to use.

4. Write the following outline on newsprint or on the chalkboard.

The Holy Spirit Implements His Mission

  He inspires Christians to be on mission
  He empowers Christians for missions
  He guides Christians in mission service

During the Session

1. State the training goal for this session. Use pages 2-4 of the flipchart to review briefly the situation at the beginning of the New Testament.

2. Tell members that one of the biggest obstacles to our taking a missionary stance is the influence of universalism on our thinking. Universalism is the doctrine of or belief in universal salvation or the ultimate salvation of all humankind. Say, One basis for missions is that we must share the gospel with all people in the world or they will go to hell. At this point the five persons you have enlisted should take issue with what you are saying by arguing for the universalist statements assigned to them. Encourage other members to enter into the discussion of whether people are truly lost without Christ.

3. Briefly tell how Jesus fulfilled all of God’s purpose for Israel. (See chap. 3.)

4. Ask, How is the incarnation unique to Christianity, and why cannot other religions accept it? Allow time for responses and discussion.

5. Say, If there had been any other way for man to be saved, Jesus would not have come to earth, nor would he have been willing to be crucified. Ask members to describe what the crucifixion meant to Jesus. Then ask them to discuss the way they answered personal learning activity 15.

6. Call on the two members enlisted to read the interview between Satan and the reporter (p. 51). Then ask members to tell the meaning of the resurrection for the Father, for Jesus, for Satan, for believers, and for nonbelievers.

7. Ask one or two members to read their personal letters from Christ prepared for personal learning activity 17. Read your own letter if others do not respond.

8. Ask members to tell how they would refute the claim of un iversa l ism. (By telling the importance of Christ’s incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection) Say, Some of us who do not believe in universalism live as if we did. Call attention to page 4 of the flipchart and ask, What should we be doing if we really believe this statement? Allow time for several responses.

9. Ask someone to describe briefly the disciples’ situation following Christ’s ascension. Chapter 4 suggests three reasons for the ten-day delay between Christ’s ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Ask members to recall these reasons.

10. Show page 5 of the flipchart and ask members to read it in unison. Point to the outline (on newsprint or on chalkboard) "The Holy Spirit Implements His Mission" and lead members to discuss the three ways the Holy Spirit enables Christ’s body to fulfill its mission.

11. Ask a member to tell why the motivation for missions should be the inspiration of the Holy Spirit more than one’s obedience to a command.

12. Ask several volunteers to share their answers to personal learning activity 19. Ask why differences exist.

13. Ask members to share experiences of being filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit for service.

14. Point out the three prerequisites to being filled with the Holy Spirit listed in personal learning activity 20.

15. Ask members to recall New Testament instances in which the Holy Spirit guided Christians in missionary activity.

16. Close the session with a prayer for the Spirit to fill each person for service.

17. Urge members to read chapters 5 and 6 and to complete all the personal learning activities before the next session.

Session 3

The Mission of God’s People
Chapters 5 and 6

Training goal: At the end of this session, each person will be able to demonstrate his understanding of the role of the church in God’s mission by applying the roles Christ modeled to a life of discipleship.

Before the Session

1. Have the flipchart ready to use.

2. Make the following advance assignments to members. Prepare assignment slips.

 Assignment 1: Please be prepared to explain to the group how the role of a disciplined people relates to Israel, to Jesus, and to the church. See chapters 2 and 3.

 Assignment 2: Please be prepared to explain to the group how the role of priest relates to Israel, to Jesus, and to the church. Be sure to point out how Israel failed to accomplish God’s intent, how Jesus fulfilled God’s intent, and how God intends for his people to function as priests. See chapters 2, 3, and 5.

 Assignment 3: Please be prepared to explain to the group how the role of servant relates to Israel, to Jesus, and to the church. Be sure to point out how Israel refused to fulfill the role, how Jesus fulfilled it, and how God intends for his church to function as servants. See chapters 2, 4, and 5.

3. Have a pocket calculator on hand if you want to use it to explain personal learning activity 29. It is not necessary to use the calculator to follow the suggested activities in the training plan.

4. Prepare copies of the application worksheet illustrated. Or members may use the worksheet in their books.

5. Display the poster "God’s Roles for His People," which you prepared for session 1.

Application Worksheet

Write the attitudes you think you should have and the actions you think you should take to fill each of the three roles God intends for his people. You may use your text if you wish.

1. A nation of priests-the Calvary principle

2. A servant people-the incarnation principle

3. A disciplined people-the resurrection principle


During the Session

1. Begin by stating that training goal for this session.

2. Ask members to recall their work on personal learning activities 22 and 23. Use the Scripture passages in those activities to lead members to discuss what they think is God’s hope for his church. Ask, How we’ll do you think that hope is being fulfilled? Allow time for responses . Since you are asking for opinions, any answer giver is acceptable.

3. Review pages 3, 4, and 6 in the flipchart.

4. Direct attention to the poster "God’s Roles for His People" and call or1 the three persons enlisted in advance to discuss how Israel, Jesus, and the church relate to these three roles.

5. Distribute copies of the application worksheet or direct members to page 175. Ask members to write a personal application of each role for themselves, including what actions and attitudes they should demonstrate to fill each of the three roles.

6. Ask members to share with two others what they have written. Allow three minutes for this activity.

7. State: Christ sums up our roles in one identity when he calls us to he his disciples. His way to win the world is by multiplying disciples. Ask one member to tell how many disciples there would be if one person discipled another. Ask each succeeding member to double the total stated lay the last member. Continue to double the number until members are unable to calculate quickly (2; 4; 8; 16; 32; 64; 128; 256; 512; 1,024; 2,048; 4,096; 8,192; 16,384; 32,768). Tell them if the first two disciples were to continue to double their number, in only 33 times there would he 8,589,433,600 persons-more than the total population of the world in the year AD 2000. On the other hand, if the first disciples were half-hearted, the dedication of each generation would be cut in half until discipleship was meaningless.

8. Call attention to personal learning activity 30. Ask members to discuss with three others the four basic things a disciple does. These are explained in the text following personal learning activity 30. Allow five minutes.

9. Summarize the teachings of Matthew 28:19-20 described in the section "Global Discipleship," page 96, and apply these teachings to the task God has given his people.

10. React 2 Timothy 2:2 and ask members to describe the chain of reproducing disciples implied (from Barnabas to Paul, to Timothy, to a faithful man, to others also). It is possible that Barnabas was discipled by one of the original apostles who had been discipled by Jesus. That would make six spiritual generations.

11. Have a time of prayer during which members ask God to help them accomplish the mission he has committed to them.

12. Remind the members to read chapters 7 and 8 and to complete the personal learning activities before the next session.

Session 4

God’s People Equipped and Ministering
Chapters 7 and 8

Training goal: At the end of this session, members will be able to explain God’s plan for his church to function as a missionary body to extend his mission to the world. They will do this by naming and describing the goals of equippers and members in Christ’s body.

Before the Session

1. Study the material for this session to determine whether you should divide it into two sessions to allow time for adequate discussion and application. The material to be applied in this session may take more time than in the previous sessions.

2. Enlist members to read the parts of the characters in the scene of Satan and his cohorts (chap. 7) and in the scene of Aquila, Priscilla, and the reporter (chap. 8). If time is short, you may have to summarize these stories.

3. Have the flipchart ready to use.

4. Enlist five members to serve as a panel to discuss the roles of equippers. Assign each of them one of the roles explained under "God Appoints Leaders to Equip His People for Mission," page 106 in chapter 7.

5. Enlist one member to give a word study of kleros (clergy) and laos (laity) and to discuss how each applies to the ministry of each member of the body. Ask another member to do the same with the word call. These members should use chapter 8 as a resource.

During the Session

1. State the training goal and display page 8 of the flipchart.

2. Call on enlisted members to read the parts of Satan and his cohorts or summarize the story yourself.

3. Ask two or three volunteers to tell how they completed personal learning activity 35.

4. Summarize the development of the clergy-laity split in history.

5. State: The first part of this session will deal with the God-appointed equippers. The second part will deal with the ministry given to all God’s people.

6. Call on the persons enlisted for the panel. Ask each person to describe the role of one of the equippers. Then use the following questions to lead the panel in a discussion of those roles.

  What is an equipper’s task?
  How do equippers equip the saints?
  Compare and contrast the role of equippers with modern church leadership roles.
  What are practical ways to return to the biblical model?

7. Use the associational missionary as an example of an equipper. Discuss how he can fulfill one or more of the equipper roles. How can the churches best utilize his gift?

8. Show page 9 of the flipchart. Introduce the interview of Aquila and Priscilla. Call on enlisted members to read the parts.

9. Call on the member enlisted to give a word study of kleros (clergy) and loos (laity) and to tell how each applies to the ministry of each member of the body.

10. Call on the person enlisted to explain the meaning of call in the Bible and to explain the variations in its modern usage.

11. Ask several members to give their definitions of spiritual gifts (personal learning activity 40). Ask how one can know his spiritual gift(s). Be sure that responses include the following ideas.

  Serve God at every opportunity, and you and others will begin to see fruit in one area more than in another.
  Develop whatever abilities you have, and some of them will begin to blossom.
  Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as he reveals his gifts to you.

(For a more in-depth study, plan to use the Equipping Center module Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts (Revised), available from Customer Service Center, 127 Ninth Avenue, North, Nashville, TN 37234.)

12. Ask members to discuss the differences between spiritual gifts, fruit of the Spirit, and talents. (See personal learning activity 42.)

13. Ask, What are some modern variations of the housechurch principle? Be sure that members’ responses include the following subjects.

  Beginning new churches in homes
  Starting house churches as satellites to a larger congregation
  Multiplication of house churches into new churches
  Bible studies and ministries in homes as outreach points for churches

14. Ask members to tell how we can be missionaries while remaining in our vocations.

15. Compare the missionary model of the church in Antioch with your church. Ask members to suggest ways your church could improve its missionary involvement. List responses on the chalkboard or on sheets of newsprint.

16. Ask members to prepare for the next session a list of suggestions for improving their church’s missionary outreach.

17. Remind members to study chapters 9 and 10 and to do all the personal learning activities.

18. Close the session with prayer.

Session 5

Mission Accomplished Through God’s intervention
Chapters 9 and 10

Training goal: At the end of this session, members will be able to demonstrate their commitment to missions by making definite plans for an intercessory prayer ministry and for active involvement in missions.

Before the Session

1. On newsprint or on the chalkboard, prepare a chart as illustrated.


Kingdom of God








Kingdom of Satan




2. Have the flipchart ready to use.

3. Have on hand a pair of scissors or pliers.

4. Enlist a member to use wrapping paper or cardboard to prepare for himself a suit of armor containing the items listed in Ephesians 6:10-17. He should label each part of the armor according to this diagram.

5. Prepare copies of an application worksheet for members, using the following title and statements. Or members can refer to the one in their books.

Application Worksheet
You and the Biblical Basis of Missions

1. You are to have dominion over the world (God’s purpose).

2. You have been elected as God’s partner (election).

3. You have a contract with God to be obedient (covenant).

4. You have been redeemed to possess the world for Christ (Exodus).

5. You have been formed to be God’s representative (priesthood).

6. You are experiencing God’s incarnation (servanthood).

7. You are operating on resurrection power (sonship).

8 You are to make disciples (discipleship).

9.You are to minister in the area(s) of your spiritual gift(s) (Holy Spirit’s filling).

10. You have been equipped to minister (equippers).

11. You are to build up the body of Christ (ministers).

12. You are on mission (life-style).

13. You have been promised the victory (kingdom).

During the Session

1. Begin the session by saying: We have studied about intercessory prayer for missions this week. Now let us spend a few minutes praying exclusively for missions. Use conversational prayer for five minutes.

2. State the title fair this session. Show the scissors or pliers and say: One side represents God’s work, and the other side represents man’s work. Can you draw any implications from this about the way God’s work gets done? (God has decided that he will not save the world apart from his people. We must cooperate for his will to be accomplished.)

3. State the training goal for this session. Then show page to of the flipchart anti use the following questions to review chapter 9. Allow members to look up any answers they do not know.

  --What is the purpose of prayer in missions?
  --What is the pattern of successful praying for victory?
  --What are the roles of the Word and the Spirit in praying according to God’s Word’
  --What is an intercessor? What position does he take? Give some examples from the Bible or from history that impress you.
  --Name the elements in the plan for intercession. (Ask a member to put on the pieces of armor one at a time while others tell what each represents. Allow enough time to explore the meaning of each. Ask if any have tried to use this plan. )
  -- What priority should intercessory prayer have in the conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan? What priority does it have in your life?
  --What practical plans can you suggest for your church and for yourself to implement an intercessory prayer ministry?

4. Show page 11 of the flipchart and ask, What is God doing and what has he done to establish his kingdom?

5. Call attention to the chart "Kingdoms in Conflict" you have prepared. Ask members to list what God has done and is doing to establish his kingdom. List responses in the left column. Ask, What has Satan done and what is Satan doing to defeat the kingdom of God and to establish his own kingdom? List members’ responses in the right column. Then ask, What should we be doing as our part in the triumph of God’s kingdom? List members’ responses in the center column.

6. Ask: How do you feel about the people of God doing God’s will and adopting a mission life-style? How do you think God feels about it? How do you think Satan feels about it? List members’ responses at the bottom of the chart.

7. Distribute copies of the application worksheet you prepared or direct members to page 185. State that the worksheet summarizes the application of the truths of the book. Call attention to each step in God’s plan and to each Christian’s potential for being equipped for mission service. Ask members to check the ones that they need to study further.

8. Ask members to summarize the urgency we must have to adopt a mission life-style and to take the gospel to all the nations.

9. Close with a prayer for involvement in missions.

10. Remind members that Church Study Course credit can be earned for this course and make any follow-up assignments necessary for members to qualify for credit.

11. After the session, contact any who were absent at the final session to make follow-up assignments. Then complete the request for study course credit for group members and mail it according to the instructions at the back of the book.

The Church Study Course

The Church Study Course is a Southern Baptist educational system designed to support the training efforts of local churches. It provides courses, recognition, record keeping, and regular reports for approximately 20,000 participating churches.

The Church Study Course consists of short courses ranging from 2 1/2 to 10 hours in length. They may be studied individually or in groups. With more than 600 courses in 24 subject areas, the Church Study Course offers 130 diploma plans in all areas of church leadership and Christian growth. Diplomas represent hours of study, knowledge and skills acquired, and approval of the sponsoring agency.

Although the heart of the Church Study Course is leadership training, many courses are available for all church members. Each year adults and youth earn approximately 900,000 awards and 170,000 diplomas.

Originating in 1902 with two Sunday School courses, the Church Study Course now serves all church programs and is jointly sponsored by many agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention: the Sunday School Board, the Woman’s Missionary Union, the Home Mission Board, the International Mission Board, the Stewardship Commission, the Education Commission, and the respective departments of the state conventions and associations affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

A state-of-the-art computer system at the Sunday School Board maintains records for more than one million individual students and provides regular reports to participating churches. After participants enroll in diploma plans, diplomas are issued automatically as requirements are met. Credit earned in one church is recognized in all other Southern Baptist churches.

Complete details about the Church Study Course system, courses available, and diplomas offered may be found in a current copy of Church Study Course Catalog.

Requirements for Credit

This book is the text for course number 05-008 in the subject area: Baptist Doctrine. This course is designed for five hours of group study.

Credit for this course may be obtained in two ways:

1. Read the book and attend class sessions. (If you are absent from one or more sessions, complete the "Personal Learning Activities" for the material missed.)

2. Read the book and complete the "Personal Learning Activities." (Written work should be submitted to an appropriate church leader.)

To Request Credit

A request for credit may be made on Form 725, Church Study Course Enrollment/Credit Request, and sent to the Awards Office; the Sunday School Board; 127 Ninth Avenue, North; Nashville, TN 37234. The form on the following page may be used to request credit. Form 725 may also be used to enroll in a diploma plan.

Within three months of completion of a course, confirmation of credit will be sent to the church. Copies of complete transcripts will be sent to the church annually during the July quarter if courses have been completed during the previous 12 months.