Welcome to the first week of Session 2 of Mission Groups! Hope you had a good short break and are ready to jump back in!
:: Sunday, November 15 @ 12:45 PM
If anyone in your group is interested in hearing more about baptism, make sure they join us at the baptism class! We will talk about what baptism is, how it happens at Mission, and any questions you have. Lunch will be served. They can RSVP right from missionventura.com/groups/questions.
BAPTISMS AT THE BEACH
:: November 22 @ 1:00 PM (Marina Park, Ventura)
Come celebrate the people that are going public with their faith through baptisms! Try announcing it in group and planning on spending time together at the event. Have everyone bring lunch and spend time celebrating these people! And if anyone is interested in actually getting baptized, point them to missionventura.com/baptism to fill out the online baptism form!
After every break, short or long, we get the chance to re-establish what's most important.
Maybe your group has been meeting for years. Maybe your group has been together for 5 weeks and off to a stellar start. Maybe your group is adding new people and you're hoping they integrate well. No matter what the situation, we can all come to the first week with the same goal: re-establish what's most important by what we do and what we say.
The goal for all of us, new groups and old groups alike, is to create a safe place for people to connect relationally and grow spiritually.
Try re-articulating that this week, even though the break was short, and even though you may have been together for a while! Set the groundwork for another session of connecting deeply and growing together!
Simple Ways to Integrate New People
:: "FUN FACTS"
If you have been together for a long time, and just integrating one or two new people, it can be fun to go around and have the whole group tell some "fun facts" about each other! Instead of introducing themselves, the group introduces each person for them... There are usually some good laughs and shows the value of living life together and being known.
:: INTRODUCE EVERYONE, NOT JUST NEWBIES
It's hard being the newbie. Even so, we often default to having the new person introduce himself without giving them the courtesy of learning who everyone else is! Although slightly counterintuitive, take the time to go around and have everyone introduce themselves - it will be well worth the few extra minutes, because it will integrate the new person in an honoring and thorough way!
:: PREP RETURNING MEMBERS BEFOREHAND
This is a leadership moment for us as group leaders! It can be hard to change things up by adding new people, but the reality is that we always want to be providing more seats in circles for more people. Giving your returning members a heads up (and new people's names) beforehand helps them know what to expect, creating more safety for them, and also helps the new people walk into a room that expects them, and is glad that they're there!
Throughout this series we are taking a look at some of the people Jesus met with over a meal and some of the conversations that took place while they ate together.
This week Jodi Hickerson walked through the story of Jesus restoring Peter over breakfast on the beach. This conversation happened after Peter had failed Jesus publicly, not once, but three times! In Peter’s story we see some steps that are critical if we want to have our failures lead to restoration instead of isolation.
We are a group of imperfect people pursuing a perfect God. We exist to help each other find and follow Christ. We passionately love Jesus, ruthlessly eliminate ego, courageously live in grace and truth, confidently know who we are in Christ, unconditionally trust God, intentionally live better stories, and selflessly extend compassion.
These are some things we want to be true of our group:
- We create a safe and honest environment, staying transparent and authentic.
- We keep it inside the circle. Confidentiality is necessary for a healthy group.
- We look together to the Bible for help and guidance, and keep out our own politics, sales, or agendas.
- We do not try to fix each other, preach sermons, or give unsolicited advice. We instead encourage, listen to, and celebrate each other.
- We handle conflict between us quickly and honestly by going to the person, owning our part, and practicing forgiveness.
- We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
- We trust that it is God’s role to change people, not ours.
- We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
Remember, the questions are a guide for a well-facilitated conversation! Don't feel the need to get through every one, go in perfect order, or mark off any checkboxes. Know the questions well enough beforehand so you can track with your group and the conversation you are having, and follow the path that best suits your people!
- Jodi talked about some epic fails, have you ever experience a “fail” that other’s witnessed? Did you try and play it off or just embrace it? What are some of the funniest “fail videos” you have seen?
- Even though failure is a universal thing we all experience on some level, why do you think it has such a negative impact on all of us?
The book of John is a personal account of Jesus by one his disciples named John. Nearly half of the book (chapters 13-21) is about the 24 hours leading up to the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus and the appearances he made to his disciples afterward. In chapter 13 we read that Peter vows to lay down his life for Jesus, but Jesus warns him that he will betray him 3 times before the rooster crows (verse 38). Later in chapter 18 we see this actually happen (verses 15-27). Peter is distraught. He has failed the person that means the most to him even after vowing that it wouldn’t happen.
Read John 21:1-17 together.
(1) Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: (2) Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. (3) “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
(4) Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
(5) He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
(6) He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
(7) Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. (8) The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. (9) When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
(10) Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” (11) So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. (12) Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. (13) Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. (14) This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
(15) When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
(16) Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
(17) The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Why do you think Peter reacted the way that he did when he was told it was Jesus on the shore?
What stands out to you about Jesus’ response to Peter over breakfast?
- Any other observations from this text?
Jodi shared 3 important things from Peter’s story that we must do to overcome failure (Own our failure, stay in the group and dive in and swim toward Jesus).
When you think about failures in your life, which of those three do you find difficult to do? What makes it difficult?
Why are each of these three things important?
When others fail around us, how we can help them with these 3 things?
- Why do you think owning our failure is the first step? What impact has humility had in your ability to overcome failures?
Peter would go on to lead thousands to know Christ (Acts 2), and would be one of the key disciples in starting what we know as the Church today. The amazing thing with Jesus, that is true for all of us, is that failure is not final.
- How have you experienced God use your failures or struggles to bring help and hope to others?
- At the end of the message there was a video about the encounter Peter had on the beach with Jesus. What failures, hurts, habits or struggles might Jesus want to restore you from or speak into? Take some time this week to pray and reflect on the story of Peter and some of the struggles or failures in your own life. Invite Jesus to speak the same life giving words into your life that he spoke to Peter.
THE STORY OF PETER'S EPIC FAIL
- Luke 5
- Matthew 26
- John 21
1 Corinthians 10:12
New Living Translation:
"If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.”
The Message Paraphrase:
"Don’t be so naïve and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else..."
Proverbs 28:13 (The Living Bible Paraphrase)
A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.
On our path to freedom...
...nothing unlocks more opportunity than the basic act of taking personal responsibility. No matter what has happened, either positive or negative, you get to decide what life looks like from here on out. Our liberator asks us to bravely live the un-lived life within and to stop believing the lie that we are damaged, done, or dead. Three simple words give us chain-busting freedom over our pasts: “I. OWN. IT.” - Mike Foster
James 4:10 (New International Version)
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Ecclesiastes 4:10 (New Living Translation)
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.
- Own our failure
- Stay in the group
- Dive in and swim toward Jesus