It Starts with One Participant's Guide: Igniting the Passion for the Mission of the Church

It Starts with One Participant's Guide: Igniting the Passion for the Mission of the Church

by Seacoast Church

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What does it mean to be the church? What part do we play in living out the mission Jesus left for his followers?  

To understand and be inspired in our role as the church, this study from Seacoast Church takes you back to where it all began. Jesus is very clear about the mission for His followers. In It Starts with One, you will explore Acts 1–6, the early formation of the church and the disciples’ dependency upon the Holy Spirit as they discover what this means for the church today.

Experience the urgency, the mission, and the passion of the early church for spreading the Kingdom of God as you:

  • Worship God enthusiastically
  • Grow in maturity and consistency
  • Connect with the church regularly
  • Serve others unselfishly
  • Share your faith effectively

This unique study can be used on your own for personal devotions and study or for study with your small group, family, youth group, or even your entire church. 

Participant's Guide features:

  • Daily readings
  • Questions for personal reflection
  • Action steps for personal growth
  • Guide for small group discussion
  • Guide for family discussion
  • Tips for implementing this study in a youth group

For use with It Starts with One DVD-Based Study (ISBN 9781418546120).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781418549770
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 07/18/2011
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 80
File size: 772 KB

About the Author

Seacoast Church is one of the fastest growing and most influential churches in the Southeast, withweekend attendance of nearly 11,000 spread over thirteen campuses in three states: North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, and on the internet.

Read an Excerpt

It Starts With One

Igniting The Passion For The Mission of the Church

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Seacoast Church
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4185-4977-0

Chapter One



"But you will received power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." —Acts 1:8


Have you ever wondered if your life is really making a difference? It's something we all think of from time to time, and the question is rooted in a desire that was hardwired in us by our Creator. We are the church, and the Holy Spirit has empowered us with the job of spreading God's kingdom here on earth. So what are we going to do about it?

Jesus was the original difference maker. Two thousand years ago he came to live, teach, die, and rise again. The world was broken, but Christ came to make it whole. And part of his plan is to spread the news of his kingdom through each one of us. And we can learn how to be effective by watching his life and ministry.

In Acts 1:4 Jesus told his disciples, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about." You can practically see the disciples frantically running around and making plans the minute they heard the command to share the good news with all the world. But Christ told them to hang on. Slow down. Take a breather here, and be open to the voice of the Lord. They knew what he was talking about because they'd seen him do it previously. Before launching into a mission, Jesus always took time to hear from God. When the time came to start his earthly ministry, Jesus went into the wilderness for a forty-day time-out. And when he was approaching the cross, he took a time-out in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knows we need a time-out when the world's coming at us too fast and we don't understand things. When you take the time to focus and to listen for God's voice, you'll gain perspective.

Another reason Jesus asked the disciples to wait was because they needed to receive all God had to offer them. The same goes for you. God does not intend for you to go it alone in the battle for his kingdom. He has powerful tools for you to use, and the most important one is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus commanded his disciples to wait, to take a time-out, for the gift his Father promised. Then he said, "For John [the Baptist] baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:5). The Holy Spirit is God's presence within you as a believer. You'll find that there are times when a message will pop in your head, and that will be the voice of the Holy Spirit. There will be times when the world is standing against you, and the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say and the courage to stand. And there will be times when you are sad, your heart will mourn, and the Holy Spirit will be there to comfort you. The Holy Spirit's work on earth is what changes lives and extends God's kingdom.

But you cannot tap into this power without focus. You must train your attention on your mission. We see in Acts 1 that the disciples were immediately distracted from their mission to make more disciples of Christ. Instead they turned to him and said, "Is now the time you're going to conquer the Romans?" At this point their vision was too small, for God had plans much greater than just freedom from the rule of the Roman Empire. We, too, need to know that the time of the Lord's favor has come, but instead of spreading this good news, some of us are arguing about the color of the carpet or the style of music we use in worship. There are more important issues in the world—poverty, hunger, abuse, death, and loneliness. We could be addressing all of these things if we'd just focus on Christ's mission for us.

If we don't expect to be used by God, we won't be. William Carey, the great missionary, said, "Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God." God has a mission for you somewhere; do you know what it is? It could be in your very own home, in your neighborhood, in your city, or at the ends of the earth. But if you don't expect to be used, you'll never see the greatness God wants to accomplish through you for his kingdom.


Begin by reading through the entirety of Acts 1. Commit to reading it through every day this week.

Memory Verse

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

Acts 1:1-11

1. According to Acts 1:1–3, what was the purpose of the gospel of Luke? Compare these verses to Luke 1:1–4.

2. Jesus told the disciples to wait for the promised Holy Spirit. Do you think the disciples knew what this meant? Do you know?

3. In Acts 1:6, the disciples showed that they still didn't totally understand Jesus' mission. They were still expecting Jesus to reign in an earthly kingdom. In response, Jesus gave them a mission. According to verse 8, what is this mission?

4. Sum up the events that take place in Acts 1:1–11. Try to put yourself in the disciples' place. What do you think they felt and experienced?

Acts 1:12–26

1. According to verses 13-14, what did the disciples do while waiting for the fulfillment of Jesus' promise?

2. List the eleven apostles. Who had been the twelfth? What happened to him?

3. How do verses 21–22 define "an apostle"?


• How would you define your mission as a follower of Christ?

• Reread Acts 1:8. Would someone observing your life say that this describes you? Why or why not?

• What, if anything, keeps you from being fully passionate about being Jesus' witness?

• Is there anybody in your life to whom you feel God is specifically calling you to be a witness?


-> This week, share with at least one person about what Jesus Christ means to you or something he has done in your life. Commit to doing this each week, at least through the remainder of the Acts study. For help, as you read through Acts, make a note of the various ways the disciples witness to others about Jesus.

-> As we saw in Acts 1:13–14, the disciples relied heavily upon prayer. Whatever your prayer life looks like, take it to the next level this week. If you don't pray, commit to praying five minutes each day. If you already pray regularly, try a new method, such as writing out your prayers in a journal.

-> Not only did the disciples devote themselves to prayer, but they did this with a group of other believers. Find a group of Christians with whom you can gather regularly for prayer.

-> What is keeping you from living out the mission Jesus gave in Acts 1:8? Make a list of your priorities—the things that are important to you as well as what takes up most of your time. Where does your focus on Jesus and his mission fall? How can you realign your priorities?


The following questions are meant to help your group enter into meaningful discussion that we pray will help you become more fully devoted followers of Christ. They are simply a guide, so you don't have to use or get through all of them. You may want to look through them ahead of time and identify the ones that would work well with your group. Any questions you don't get to might be used by your group members for study and reflection in their personal devotional times. And if your group is already comfortable together, feel free to skip the icebreaker question. Remember, it's all about community, so let the Spirit guide your discussion where he wants it to go.


If you were to go live on a deserted island and could carry only one thing with you, what would it be?

Reflections from the Week

Depending on your group size, break into groups of two or three and do or ask the following:

• Have everyone review their notes from their personal study time. Share with one another what you learned from the readings. Are there any questions you'd like to discuss with the group?

• What are your expectations for yourself during this study? How would you like to see yourself grow?

• As a group, discuss what steps you can take to challenge one another to use this study as you seek to grow.

[WATCH DVD] Session 1

-> Discussion Questions

Read Acts 1:1–11.

• Summarize the events that occur in this passage.

• How do you imagine the disciples were thinking and feeling after these events?

• Do you ever relate to this in your own relationship with God?

Read Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19–20.

• What mission did Jesus leave with his disciples?

• What is your reaction when you hear Jesus' mission for his church? Are you excited? Fearful? Why?

• Would someone observing your life know that this is your mission? Why or why not?

• What is one thing you can do this week to obey Jesus' final command to his disciples?


As a life group, practice being Jesus' witnesses with each other and within your spheres of influence. Discuss practical ways you can share the love of Christ in your relationships this week. If you feel comfortable, and if time allows, share your testimony with one another.

Close in? [PRAYER]

Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing this group of brothers and sisters in you together to study your call on our lives. Clear our schedules and open our hearts to take a time-out this week to focus on you alone, for without focus we are lost in our mission. We receive the gift of your Holy Spirit with thanksgiving, and we ask that you'd use us to further your kingdom even today. Amen.


God wants you to be a part of the team that will spread the kingdom of God to the ends of the earth. It's a huge adventure, and he has a job for you. Are you willing to take the plunge and share his good news throughout the world?

This Session's [BIG] Idea

Expect to be used by God!

Memory Verse

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

[WATCH DVD] Session 1

-> Discussion Questions

1. Did the poem at the beginning of the video inspire you? How?

2. Why was the guy counting throughout the video?

3. It's our job as believers to spread the gospel throughout the world. What are you doing to join this mission?

4. At the end of the video, the speaker says, "There's no plan B." We're the only ones who can spread the Word of God throughout the earth. How does that make you feel?

5. What are you going to do about it?


Share God's love with one person this week. Write down his or her name here if you know who you plan to talk to.


This week's message: God will use us to share his love with the world.

[LIFE BOOK] Idea of the Week

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)


God wants to use us to spread his kingdom to the ends of the earth, and he tells us how we can be a part of this exciting adventure. First, we must be patient and take time to listen to him. Second, we can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who will give us the power to minister for God. Third, we must focus on the mission and not get distracted by things that aren't important. And finally, we must expect God to use us!

[LIFE LINE] The Main Point

God gives us the Holy Spirit so we can spread his good news to the world.

[LIFE VERSE] Memorize This!

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

[LIFE CHALLENGE] Talk together as a family.

1. Is our family too busy to hear what God wants us to do for him in our neighborhood and beyond? If so, what are some things we can cut out of our schedules?

2. What difference does God want us to make in our neighborhood?

3. How will the Holy Spirit help us do that?

4. Do you expect God to use you to further his kingdom? How?


-> Agree on a service project you can do together this week to share God's love with those who live near you.

Chapter Two



When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. —Acts 2:1-4


The Jewish people had come from dozens of surrounding countries to gather in Jerusalem to celebrate the Pentecost. It had been seven weeks since Christ's resurrection, and there was an energy running through them. You could hear the hum of hundreds of languages being spoken across the courtyards, when suddenly they were silenced by a loud noise that could only be the power of God.

Before this moment, God's followers had occasionally been empowered by his Spirit-Samson had superhuman strength, and David's mighty men won impossible battles. But at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon Christ's followers in a new, even more powerful way. His disciples were filled with the Spirit permanently rather than temporarily, which enabled them to proclaim the gospel boldly, perform more miracles, and even to speak in tongues.

In Acts 2:4, we read that "all of them ... began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." This idea of speaking in tongues has divided Christians for ages, so we should take a look at what was going on that day in Jerusalem.

There are a few interpretations for what we now call "speaking in tongues." One interpretation and practice has been utilized by Christians throughout history. The early church primarily used it in their private prayer or in corporate worship, and it refers to a mystical ability to speak in another language that is not a known language. This was not the form of "speaking in tongues" used in this passage of Acts.

Instead, this verse uses the Greek word glossa, and refers to a supernatural ability to speak in another language that is a known language. In other words, those people who had come from their own countries and spoke their own languages-they could all understand what was happening because it was spoken in their tongue. It set the people up to be able to understand the gospel, which is always God's desire for us. (Continues...)

Excerpted from It Starts With One Copyright © 2011 by Seacoast Church. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


How to Use This Guide....................11
Session One: Changing Your World....................15
Session Two: Receiving the Gift....................37
Session Three: Becoming Weightless....................57
Session Four: One Extraordinary Prayer....................75
Session Five: The Ripple Effect....................91
Session Six: Outlast the Growing Pains....................109
About the Authors....................127

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