I'm so excited to begin this session and watch people get connected for the first time, deepen relationships established groups, and follow Christ more closely because of the circles they live life in!
Your group may be totally new or a few years old, but if we could all accomplish these two things this week, I think our first discussions of the session would be a massive success!
:: Everyone feels welcomed, noticed, and safe.
:: Everyone gets an opportunity to share.
That probably means, for most of us, that we will spend a decent chunk of time getting to know each other, hearing about life updates from the break, and even just chat around the food for a few extra minutes. Feeling relationally secure and comfortable is the foundation for deep relationships and great discussions!
QUICK TIPS OF THE WEEK
Don’t forget to have everyone sign up on a snack rotation! It will help give everyone common investment from the start. And, it’s already off syour plate as a leader!
EXPLAIN AS YOU GO
Some people may have never been in a Mission Group, and clarity and understanding help create comfort. As soon as people walk in the door, explain the format of the night quickly so they know what to expect. Then, as you do things (like the small group statement, the discussion, or prayer requests), quickly explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it!
COMING UP AT MISSION
BAPTISMS - Sunday May 3 @ 1:00p (Marina Park, Ventura)
Come celebrate the people that are going public with their faith through baptisms! This is an easy and great way to spend time with your group outside of your meeting time - have everyone bring lunch and spend time celebrating together!
*** You may want to announce this in group! If anyone is interested, point them to missionventura.com/baptism to fill out the online baptism form!
QUICK MESSAGE RECAP
Mike Breaux finished Two Words this week, a series about the standout moments of Romans 8. The two words he focused in on were "More Than", the idea that we are "more than conquerers though Him who loved us!" The original Greek text says we are SUPER conquerors; the power of death, the sting of death, the finality of death has been removed from our future and it has been replaced with life—abundant life, meaningful life, eternal life!
But even life as super conquerors does not come without hardship. We live in a world full of injustice, disappointment, tragedy, and pain, but it is our ‘temporary home’. God "puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less", and that glimpse and hope of a world full of joy, fulfillment, purpose, passion, and accomplishment is what gives us the hope we need to live with a deep sense of security and humble confidence.
SMALL GROUP STATEMENT
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.
THE GROUP QUESTIONS
*optional fun icebreaker*
:: What two words have changed everything for you? (your answer can be fun, serious, or anything in between!)
1. Throughout Two Words, we learned that Romans 8 talks about our past (no condemnation), present (all things), and future (more than). What stood out to you in this series? What hadn’t you heard before, was new to you, or helped you learn something new about God?
- This is the first question, but it doesn't have to be the beginning of your conversation! Spend some time getting to know each other - get creative with some icebreakers and start learning about each other. If you want great icebreaker ideas, check out page 7 of the Mission Groups Essentials Training packet!
Read Romans 8:31-32 together.
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
2. Mike said that God is “our biggest fan” and always “for us”, but it’s not always easy to remember or believe that. What times in your life have you had the easiest or hardest time remembering or believing that?
- Many times, the quickest way to get to know each other is to hear more about people's stories - childhood memories, hardest trials, greatest joys, etc. Our story is what informs who we are and what we experience in the present. Dig for story here, especially this early in the session!
Read 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 together.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
3. What troubles in your life do you have trouble seeing as light and momentary? How can you begin to fix your eyes on the unseen, eternal glory that is in store?
- Every group will experience different levels of transparency on a question like this. Don't worry if your group doesn't go 'all the way' yet and share deep and real challenges yet. Any amount of sharing and transparency is a big and intentional step, so make sure to reaffirm those that choose to share at any level!
Read Revelation 21:1-4 together.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."
4. What pictures or ideas of heaven did you have growing up? What gave you those pictures? How does John’s depiction of heaven help you see what’s ahead and give you hope in life now?
- This is another great chance to hear more about how people grew up and how their views of God have developed over time. If what we think about God really is the most important thing about us (AW Tozer), then this question will tell us a lot about each other!
5. What can you do this week to remember and live in the truth that we are “more than conquerors” and that we have eternal hope? What would help that sink in and change how you live life?
- Our discussions always drive toward the practical application of truth in our normal lives. "Finishing the questions" each week is not our goal, but if you see that you won't finish all of them, it might be a good idea to skip another question and land with this! Or, you could make sure to encourage everyone at the end to think about it as they leave and be ready to talk about it the following week!
Romans 8:37 (NIV)
…in all these things we are MORE THAN conquerors through him who loved us.
Romans 8:18 (NLT)
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
“I have interviewed numbers of people who take comfort in knowing that this life is the closest they will ever come to Hell.”
Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About Christianity?
“The only way for us to really triumph over evil and suffering is to live forever in a place where those things do not exist. It is the claim of Christianity that there is such a place and that it is available to all who seek it. No one can deny that, if this claim is true, then evil and suffering are exposed as temporary hardships and injustices. They are as transient as our brief mortal lives. In that case God has shown us a way to prevail over evil and suffering, which are finally overcome in the life to come.”
2 Corinthians 5:2-5 (MSG)
We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.
Romans 8:37-39 (NLT)
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.