Lazarus at the Gate is a small group discipleship experience designed to impact global poverty.
Find the pdf document sharing the curriculum at http://www.worldvision.org/resources.nsf/main/Lazarus_at_the_Gate-Economic_Discipleship.pdf/$FILE/Lazarus_at_the_Gate-Economic_Discipleship.pdf
This group experience invites participants into a community in which they are supported in their practice of economic discipleship. Over the course of the 12-session study, Lazarus discipleship groups support each other in making four individual commitments:
• Spend joyfully: Regularly give thanks for the blessing of wealth
• Spend justly: Make one lifestyle change to consume more justly
• Spend less: Make one lifestyle change in order to buy less for personal consumption
• Give more: Make a substantial gift to fight global poverty
Near the end of the course, the discipleship group selects one to four international charities. Then they pool their individual gifts in order to give collectively to those who are poor. In this way, the discipleship group functions like a giving circle.
One of the premises of Lazarus at the Gate is that Christians are called not just to belief in Christ, but also to follow Christ by deciding to live and act as Jesus did. Some Christian traditions call this discipleship; others call it spiritual formation. For all, this process of modeling our life decisions after Jesus’ provides an invitation both to be transformed by God’s grace and to know Christ and his love more fully. As the Christian philosopher Dallas Willard writes, “practicing Jesus’ word as his apprentices enables us to understand our lives and to see how we can interact with God’s redemptive resources, ever at hand.”1
A second premise of this group is that money is a critical object of modern Christian discipleship. Those of us who live in the United States reside in the wealthiest nation in human history. We spend most of our time either making 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 identified his own ministry and person with those who were poor. In the parable after which this study is named, Jesus speaks a challenging word about the rich man who “dressed in purple in fine linen” and feasted sumptuously while a poor man lay, starving, at his gate.