Study Guide: The Pygmy Way

Sunday October 7, 2012 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

It is the 20th anniversary of Woodland Hills Church! In this sermon, Greg goes back to the foundations and history of this church, and shows how dependence upon God has been a mainstay of the culture at Woodland Hills Church.

Extended Summary:

Sixteen years ago, Greg was at the Pentagon preparing a sermon for the generals and other staff there. If you know anything about our church, Greg probably won’t be invited back anytime soon. Anyway, Greg was having trouble with this sermon, so he went to the chapel and two diminutive African people came into the chapel. Greg thought they might be pygmies.

They were a male and a female, and they were really animated as they walked into the chapel. The female seemed to have stomach pain. The man said, “The Devil doesn’t like that she got the Holy Ghost, we gotta pray him out!” Greg really just wanted to be alone, but it obviously wasn’t going to happen, so he started praying. The man started yelling at the woman’s belly, “Get out of there!” And he wanted Greg to yell too, so Greg yelled at her belly. After five minutes, the woman popped up and was feeling tremendously better.

This struck Greg, because here in the center of power in America were two small, overlooked, and misunderstood people and the Holy Spirit was doing powerful things through them. And Greg got a word from God that we were supposed to follow the pygmy.

Throughout the story of Woodland Hills Church, we’ve seen this pygmy like nature of the Kingdom. Whether it is our odd church structure, or our lack of plans, our dependence on the Spirit or the way Greg preaches, we seek to follow God day by day. We cut against the culture of American Christianity. We try to love our enemies and instead of standing on others, we seek to lift others up. The power we exhibit isn’t of this world. And we seek to do even more in the future as follow the pillar of fire that is God.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What additional questions and comments did you have about the sermon and supporting texts?
  2. In your life, do you depend more on the power of this world or the power of the Spirit?
  3. Walking the way of the pygmy is to follow God even when it looks silly. What areas of your life could use more of the way of the pygmy?
  4. How might you go about changing your life in these areas? Who in your life can help you navigate that?