Tips for Teaching This Week’s Session of The Gospel Project for Adults
Every week, Aaron Armstrong and other adult ministry leaders offer guidance to help leaders prepare to lead and teach each session of The Gospel Project for Adults.
This week’s training notes:
This week we are in the second session of From Creation to Chaos, called Made in His Image. This session focuses on the creation of the first humans. Here are three things that you need to know, read, and do as you prepare for this session.
Something to know
This session deals with the concept of being made in God’s image. The term “image bearer” is one that we often gloss over in Christian circles, and we need to be careful to avoid that. Something you’re going to want to do is carefully read the commentary on page 23 of your leader guide. This commentary gives a working definition of what this means:
To be made in God’s image is to have been created to show the rest of creation something of what God is like.
Our capacity for moral reasoning, our relational nature, our creative abilities or something else altogether, all of these are rooted in our nature as beings made in God’s image. They all play a role in our mission to make Christ known to all.
A potentially contentious issue
A second, and probably more challenging, element of this session is that it deals with the nature of men and women as equal yet distinct image bearers of God. Again, this is a place where you’re going to want to read the commentary on page 25 verse closely because we’ve tried to make sure that this reality of equality with distinction is clear—both men and women are equally and fully made in the image of God. Both are called to live joyfully under the rule of Christ. What that looks like for each one is different, even as you appropriately emphasize the reality that they are partners in the work of having dominion over creation.
Why am I emphasizing this so much? Largely because it’s something we’re all prone to forget and in doing so fall into two equal but opposite errors: The first is to overemphasize the distinctions between male and female, and place women in a position of lesser value or subjugation, which is both unhealthy and sinful because ignores or minimizes the value Scripture places on women. The second is to minimize the distinctions Scripture does describe and demonstrate, suggesting that such things are merely cultural when they’re not. Instead, we need to insist on holding to the truth that Scripture presents: men and women are fully and equally image-bearers of God, and God has designed each of us to distinctly reflect something of His nature into the world. You can use the leader pack item to help further drive this point home as well.
Something to read
We have an article that you’ll find in the additional resources that you’ll find very helpful as you prepare for this session. The first is one about how we exercise dominion—and what that means for us today. This is a tricky topic since it’s one that can be taken to some really unhealthy places if not properly understood.
Dominion doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we want with the world. But it also doesn’t mean that we are subservient to it. These tend to be the more extreme views that typify discussions around how we should treat the environment. But properly understood, to exercise dominion means that we are responsible for cultivating God’s creation as stewards, and it actually goes far beyond how we responsibly use the world’s natural resources. It affects everything from the environment to creating culture to multiplying both biologically and spiritually. So take some time to read that. Again, you can find this on gospelproject.com in the additional resources for this session.
Something to do.
In the Extras section of this session, on page 29, you’re going to see a recommendation to watch a video called Torah Tuesday—Genesis 1:26. In this video, Old Testament scholar Carmen Joy Imes discusses what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God according to this verse. At a minimum, I would encourage you to watch this for your own benefit, but it may be an excellent addition to your group time as well as I’m sure it will add to what is going to be a wonderful discussion.
So, as always, this has been a fair bit to cover, but I trust that it will both add to your preparation and help you determine what to focus on in your time.