Our Dream for the Church Study Guide (Session 1)

By the end of this session participants should be able to . . .

  • Reflect on the various perceptions people have of their parish community.
  • Discuss the basic aspects of the Christian community that St. Paul describes.
  • List what they think are the three most important aspects of the Christian Community.
  • Begin discussing how they can make their community more like the one in Ephesians 4: 1–5:21.

Scripture References:

  • Ephesians 4:1–5:21


  • Pens and Paper (at least two to three sheets per person)
  • Bibles


Introduction: 20 min. Intro: “Write down words or phrases that the following people might use to describe your parish. Keep in mind what they would say about how the people treat each other, if they would feel comfortable there, why they think people go there, etc." Feel free to add people that you think pertain to the area in which you live.

Your parents

A person in school or at work

Your priest

Your favorite movie star (Name:)

Your best friend

The President of the United States

Someone of a different racial and or cultural background than your own.

A really popular musician (Name)

A person from Russia, Greece, Romania, or other “Orthodox” country

A homeless person


Ask people to share their results. Point out common strengths and problems.

20 min. Small Groups: “Now that we have discussed some of the perceptions of our community, let’s take a look at how St. Paul describes a Christian community.”

Break people up into groups of three or four. Each group should have a bible. Have each group read Ephesians 4:1–5:21 out loud and discuss the questions below. (You can type these up and hand them to each group or have them written on an overhead projector, conference pad, or other place where they can be seen by all.) Have each group come back with what they think are the three most important features that St. Paul talks about in his description of a Christian community.

Questions for reflection

1. What kind of community does St Paul describe? What is it’s goal? How do people relate to one another.

2. According to St. Paul, how does the "individual" fit into community?

3. St. Paul infers that even the things we do in secret affect others, since we are all one body. Why do you think this is? Can you think of any examples?

4. Have you ever experienced being in a community like the one St. Paul describes?

5. How does your parish compare with this community?

6. St. Paul repeatedly mentions the Holy Spirit. What do you think is the difference between a Spirit-filled community and one without the Spirit.

7. What do you think you can do to help your parish be more like the community described by St. Paul?