More than 800 churches in Chicagoland are committed to help people in their communities answer pressing questions about life and God. In January and February, congregations across northern Illinois will “Explore God” through a series of sermons and small group meetings designed to start gospel-focused conversations.
Scott Nichols is part of the steering committee for the interdenominational, region-wide emphasis. His Carol Stream church, Crossroads, has offered Explore God (XG) small groups after Christmas and Easter the last two years. Each time, Nichols told the Illinois Baptist, people have come to know Christ and have been baptized, including Kevin Poch (pictured above).
“The power of XG is aligning churches in pursuit of the Great Commission, the fundamental mission our faith (and the Lord) calls us to pursue,” Nichols said. “Our people are excited by this campaign.” So far at Crossroads, 52 people have signed up and been trained to lead small groups focused on seven big questions:
• Does life have a purpose?
• Is there a God?
• Why does God allow pain and suffering?
• Is Christianity too narrow?
• Is Jesus really God?
• Is the Bible reliable?
• Can I know God personally?
Nichols will also preach a sermon series on the questions in January and February. Crossroads was the first in their region to adopt XG and has led the charge for more churches to join. Their goal is 1,000 congregations and 10,000 small groups participating in the emphasis this month and next.
“Our prayer is that hundreds are saved and baptized,” Nichols said. “We’re calling our people to risk inviting friends and co-workers into an open-handed gospel conversation for the purpose of sharing Christ in a safe, low-pressure environment.”
To encourage other churches as they participate in Explore God, Crossroads created a video of testimonies from past group participants and church staff, including small groups pastor Nate Nupanga. “What you will find is that many people that might not set foot in your church building otherwise are going to be open to coming to be a part of this group,” Nupanga said. “And that creates a great way to connect with people that you otherwise would not be reaching.”
Across Chicagoland, hundreds of churches will do the same, mobilizing their members to invite people around them into gospel conversations around those seven major questions. Phil Miglioratti, IBSA’s recently retired prayer ministries consultant, is co-chairman for the regional initiative.
“The DNA of Explore God Chicago is the heart of our Great Commission SBC churches,” Miglioratti said. “My hope is that by participating they will be reinvigorated with a passion for sharing Christ through gospel conversations.”
For more information about Explore God Chicago or to view evangelism and small group resources, go to ExploreGodChicago.com.