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The Essential Jesus Challenge For Churches

There's something exciting and motivating about participating in a challenge when you are part of a larger group. The Essential Jesus Challenge is designed to be a church-wide Bible reading experience helping your entire church explore the "Bible's Greatest Story" together.

Take advantage of the motivational energy of a church-wide program. Use all the options you have to publicise and promote it (there are posters, bulletin inserts and other promotional material available from Scripture Union). Get as many key people involved in planning and promoting the Challenge as possible, from the Pastor(s) and other church leaders right through to Sunday School teachers and small group leaders. Having them involved in planning and implementing the Challenge will help ensure the widest participation throughout the church.

Helping your congregation grasp a more complete picture of Jesus from the Scriptures will significantly deepen the spiritual life of your congregation. For the greatest effect, you'll want as many Challenge participants as possible to have either a copy of the book, Essential Jesus or the App. It offers insightful comments on each of the 100 passages and provides discussion questions that can be used in your small groups. Order copies for your church 2-3 weeks before the launch date so that everyone can have one when the Challenge begins. In addition, there are free resources to help you organise and promote the Challenge, including sermon outlines for each of 100 Essential Jesus Bible readings.

Any time of the year is a good time to take the Essential Jesus Challenge and focus your church on getting to know Jesus better, but whenever you decide to take the Challenge, pray, work and plan to see your congregation get excited as they discover, many for the first time, what the Bible really says about Jesus and who He really is.

When an entire church takes the Challenge together, participants can encourage each other throughout the journey. If a church uses the resources in its small groups and if people are encouraged during services, completing the Challenge becomes just that little bit easier.

Some Tips to Help Get You Started:

Develop Your Plan
When will the Challenge begin? Will it run for 100 days, 20 weeks, or longer? Who will lead it? Part of your plan will also include how you'll follow up after everyone has completed the Essential Jesus Challenge. Scripture Union's daily Bible reading guides, Daily Bread, Closer to God and Encounter with God are great follow up tools and more information about each of these is available by visiting www.rfmshop.com.au.

Gather Your Resources
Most of what you need, sign up sheets, posters, bulletin inserts, etc. are all included in the Church Registration Pack. Be sure to order sufficient copies of Essential Jesus from the website or by calling 1800 808 639. There are quantity discounts available but you must order by phone to obtain the special price.

Promote. Promote. Promote!
Start well ahead of the launch date to let people know the Essential Jesus Challenge is coming and encourage them to sign up. Build excitement and encourage everyone to participate.

Have a "Launch Sunday"
That day, the service and the sermon could be built around discovering more about the most influential person in history. It's a great way to "kick-off" the Challenge together as a church.

Encourage and Motivate
Plan to remind the participants periodically of the on-going Challenge through newsletters, or having participants share during worship what they've discovered about Jesus so far. Keep the motivational levels up any way that works for your congregation! Countdown the days to the end.

Celebrate Reaching the Finish Line
Plan a special celebration event! Be sure to publicly affirm all who took leadership roles in planning and implementing the Essential Jesus Challenge, but also recognise everyone who completed it. Announce the follow up plan on this occasion.

Join the Online Community
Affirm your commitment to the Essential Jesus Challenge by "Liking" our Facebook group. Join the discussion with other Challenge participants from right across the country.

Follow-on Bible Resources
Encourage all participants to continue on with their daily Bible reading. Suggest they visit our webshop and browse through our range at www.rfmshop.com.au to find a daily Bible Reading Guide that suits them.