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Lazarus at the Gate: A Bible Study

Lazarus at the Gate: A Bible Study

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This 12-session study offers a group discipleship experience designed to impact global poverty. It invites participants into a community in which they are supported in their practice of economic discipleship.
This 12-session study offers a group discipleship experience designed to impact global poverty. It invites participants into a community in which they are supported in their practice of economic discipleship.

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Published by: World Vision Resources on Oct 07, 2010
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Lazarus at the Gate
AN ECONOMIC DISCIPLESHIP GUIDE
 
The Boston Faith & Justice Network
is a grassroots,ecumenical community of Christians seeking social justiceas an expression of faith. Founded in 2006 by Christiansin their 20s and 30s, the Boston Faith & Justice Networkunites and mobilizes Christians to alleviate poverty andpromote stewardship through personal, community, andpolicy change.www.bostonfaithjustice.org
Micah Challenge USA
is part of a global, evangelicalChristian movement to be a prophetic voice for and withthe poor, and to bring an end to extreme poverty. Thecampaign is active in over 40 countries where MicahChallenge is deepening Christian engagement withimpoverished and marginalized communities and ispassionately holding world leaders accountable to theirpromise to halve extreme global poverty by 2015.www.micahchallenge.us
Sojourners
is a progressive Christian commentary onfaith, politics and culture. It seeks to build a movementof spirituality and social change. Sojourners mission isto articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiringhope and building a movement to transform individuals,communities, the church, and the world.www.sojo.net
World Vision
is a Christian humanitarian organizationdedicated to working with children, families and theircommunities worldwide to reach their full potential bytackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Acting onAIDS is movement started by Christian college studentsto create awareness and promote activism of the globalAIDS pandemic at colleges and universities across thenation. Motivated by their faith in Jesus Christ and withthe support of World Vision, college students have formedthe Acting on AIDS student network, seeking to changehearts on campus, create awareness in communities,and advocate for those affected by the global AIDSpandemic.www.worldvision.orgwww.site.actingonaids.org
SOJOURNERS
Thank you to sponsors of this edition of 
 Lazarus at the Gate
October 2008
 
© Gary VanderPol, Mako Nagasawa, Rachel Anderson, 2008. Some rights reserved. 3
Introduction
Lazarus at the Gate 
is a small group discipleship ex-perience designed to impact global poverty.One of the premises of
Lazarus at the Gate 
is thatChristians are called not just to belief in Christ, but alsoto follow Christ by deciding to live and act as Jesus did.Some Christian traditions call this discipleship; others callit spiritual formation. For all, this process of modeling ourlife decisions after Jesus’ provides an invitation both tobe transformed by God’s grace and to know Christ andhis love more fully. As the Christian philosopher DallasWillard writes, “practicing Jesus’ word as his apprenticesenables us to understand our lives and to see how wecan interact with God’s redemptive resources, ever athand.”
1
 A second premise of this group is that money is acritical object of modern Christian discipleship. Those ofus who live in the United States reside in the wealthiestnation in human history. We spend most of our time eithermaking money or spending it. As Christians in the U.S.,we can forget that Jesus had more to say about money
than almost anything else. He identied his own ministry
and person with those who were poor. In the parable afterwhich this study is named, Jesus speaks a challenging
word about the rich man who “dressed in purple in ne
linen” and feasted sumptuously while a poor man lay,starving, at his gate.Today, globalization has placed many such Lazarusat our gate. Half of the world’s population lives on lessthan $2 a day. Six million children experience and diefrom hunger each year.At the same time, the experience of those who liveon less than $2 a day is rarely discussed in the U.S. me-
1 Dallas Willard, “Why Bother with Discipleship?”RENOVARE Perspective, V no. 4.
dia and barely factors into our budgets, private or pub-lic. A recent study found that less than 15% of Americancharitable giving goes to international needs. Less than0.5% of the U.S. national budget is dedicated to poverty-focused development assistance.
2
The modern reality ofextreme poverty and inequality is so enormous that, werewe to face it as individuals, we would quickly become par-alyzed. Christ, however, did not call us into discipleshipalone. Instead, he gathered his followers into community
and sent them out in pairs (Luke 10:1). Some of the rst
recorded Christian communities dealt with the matter ofmoney in community—choosing to provide for those inneed through community-wide collection (Acts 4:32).
Lazarus at the Gate 
invites participants into a com-munity in which they are supported in their practice ofeconomic discipleship. Over the course of the 12-sessionstudy, Lazarus discipleship groups support each other inmaking four individual commitments:
Spend joyfully: Regularly give thanks for the
blessing of wealth
Spend justly: Make one lifestyle change to con
-sume more justly
Spend less: Make one lifestyle change in order to
buy less for personal consumption
Give more: Make a substantial gift to ght global
povertyNear the end of the course, the discipleship groupselects one to four international charities. Then they pooltheir individual gifts in order to give collectively to thosewho are poor. In this way, the discipleship group functionslike a giving circle.
2 “Poverty-Focused Development Assistance,” <http:// www.bread.org/learn/global-hunger-issues/poverty-focused-development.html> 1 Sept. 2008.
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