Consumed is a partnership between Seed, Baptist Financial Services, Baptist Care NSW & ACT, Baptist World Aid, Christian Super, City Infield, and the Baptist Association NSW & ACT.
Consumed recently launched a report on the consumer habits of Australians. This research project, completed by McCrindle, shows that Australians realise there is an issue with their consumption – 54% of Australians want to change their consumption habits. But there is a gap between knowledge and action – only 31% believe they are likely to make any changes to their consumption habits in the next 12 months. Not only does this research look at consumerism in Australia generally, but it also looks at consumerism amongst Christians who attend church regularly.
TEAR Australia has given us access and permission to use their Renewed Way of Living group studies for the Consumed campaign.
These four studies are designed for use in small groups, but can also be used personally. They touch on many of the key streams we’re addressing through Consumed, including money, care for creation, vocation and God’s view of the good life. They lead people into fresh insights and reflections as to how we can practice living Jesus’ way in our everyday lives.
Download the study guide for the four studies here: https://menaibaptist.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/TEAR_Renewed-Way-Of-Living.pdf
The additional Resources you need for the studies can be found here: https://menaibaptist.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/TEAR_Renewed-Way-Of-Living_Group-Resources.pdf
We believe wholeheartedly that practicing the way of Jesus is core to finding solutions to the personal and cultural challenge that consumerism presents. So, for each of the four studies, we have highlighted a reflective or creative practice that goes with the study. We encourage group leaders to engage their groups in these collective actions throughout the period that you use the studies.
Study 1 – Seeking Shalom
Each day, spend some quiet time allowing the words of Romans 12:1-2 to sink in. You may want to re-read the additional study notes on page 7. Reflect on the “pattern of this world” that you observe this week.
“Discipleship and discernment are not solitary practices. They depend on covenant communities that open the Scriptures together, pray and repent, and share Sabbath observance and everyday worship disciplines – the liturgy of life”
Commit to a group discipline for this series that will help discern God’s will. Ideas include:
Schedule a daily time for group prayer (you could use a written prayer like the Prayer we have provided in the Church Resource Centre).
Commit to a group Sabbath – daily or weekly pauses for rest.
Study 2 – Let’s Talk About Money
This week make a list of everything you spend. You could use pen and paper or an app (e.g. Track My Spend App). What do you notice about how you have used your money, in light of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:19-24?
Choose ONE of the three areas covered in the study and commit to action:
• Renunciation & Giving
Explore pooling your giving within your group to fund some innovative work in your local area or faith community.
• Savings & Investment
Find out about the ethical behaviour of your financial institutions and/or superannuation funds. If needed, make the switch!
Consider direct person-to-person loans. Are there any in your church or community who could benefit from a no-interest or low-interest loan?
Study 3 – When I grow up…
This week look for where the work/activities you do each day align with the 6 aspects of God’s work [See Group Resource 03]. Consider doing a daily journal to reflect and share with the group next week.
“Creative Work is anything that reflects God’s creativity by taking the things that God has created and moulding them into something new.”
As a group, take some time (30-60 minutes) to consider one aspect of consumerism that you believe is causing problems in your own context. What creative solution can you come up with to solve this problem? Workshop it together.
Study 4 – Renewing Creation
Re-read the quote from Wendell Berry on page 21 of the study guide. Commit to finding time each day this week to see God’s creation with a sense of its majesty, humility and reverence.
Look at the list of sustainable practices on page 22 of the study guide (waste habits, energy use, consumption habits, transport habits/needs, sharing practices, other). As a group, choose the one that most interests you.
Share what each person/household is already doing in this area
Commit to action in improving personal practices in this area
Consider how as a group you could raise awareness of this practice within your faith community or local community Is there an issue that the group could raise awareness of or advocate for?
Additional Study Resources
For those wanting more, we also recommend The End of Greed – Five studies outlining a compelling different vision for our own consumption. Available for download at https://baptistworldaid.org.au/resources/the-end-of-greed/