If you didn’t see it yet, give this video a quick watch before getting ready for group!
When we gather as a group, these are some ways we ensure the best group discussion:
We make the circle safe by staying honest and transparent - leave the masks at the door.
We keep it inside the circle. Each person’s story is theirs alone to share.
We look to the Bible for wisdom and truth, and work together to let it shape how we see the world.
We don’t try to fix each other in front of each other or give unsolicited advice. We lovingly save hard conversations for private moments.
We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
Everyone has a different picture come to mind when they hear “Church People.” And honestly... most of those pictures aren’t very good. People see opinions, judgement, buildings, politics, and organizations... but Jesus had a completely different idea when He established the church. He envisioned called out, rescued people joining the mission of God to bring redemption of hope to everyone in His world. And it’s time we all got back to being the church instead of just going to one.
Remember, the questions are not a checklist to be completed, or in the perfect order! They’re simply guardrails to help you have a natural discussion about what we learned on Sunday.
Connect with each other
What comes to mind when you think of “Church People”?
Critical Eye without the critical heart
Encourage honesty and critical eyes in this conversation!
As Christ’s ambassadors and carriers of His message of reconciliation, we speak on behalf of God - for better or worse. And taking a realistic look at the perception of church people in the world, it’s pretty clear the good news not being sent very clearly.
And honestly, people can’t just drop or forget the wounds inflicted by followers of Jesus. And they shouldn’t have to. We have to air out those perceptions and wounds so that we can find healing and a new way.
BUT… push back against critical hearts.
Critical hearts believe the worst about people. Critical hearts are bitter, not empathetic. Those with critical hearts have usually (accidentally) become just like the ones they were critical of to begin with - judgmental and unforgiving.
So hold onto this tension and lean into it, because like Mike often says, “if you believe you’re perfect you’re way more messed up than the rest of us”.
Church wrongly understood
Dallas Willard said, “Spirituality wrongly understood or pursued is a major source of human misery and rebellion against God.” Mike added that you could easily replace spirituality with “church”, and that quote remains the same.
How do you see this playing out in our world right now?
What about in your own life and with your own family and friends?
Connect with the Message
In Matthew 16, Jesus gives the first vision of what the church is meant to be: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” And while we see a building, an address, or a service, Jesus saw rescued people.
When you hear “church”, do you picture a building or people?
Why is thinking the church is a building, an organization, or a service is so harmful to the mission of the church?
”Church” is the people of God partnering with him, in his redemptive mission, in the world. But we often forget about that mission and get comfortable inside the walls of our buildings. As an example, Mike said that an airport isn’t winning when all the people and planes are safely on the ground - it’s winning when people are sent out from it.
How does this idea about the purpose of the church challenge or stretch how you see the mission and purpose of the church?
What would need to adjust in your mind or life to live out this idea of what the church is called to be and do?
Christ’s ambassadors (Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 together)
God’s mission has always been to rescue his people - and to accomplish that mission, he decided to use us. Like Mike said, if we have experienced grace, we have a story to tell.
Would you feel comfortable sharing your story of grace with someone? How’d it go?
We aren’t on the hook for arguing anyone into God’s kingdom - we’re just on the hook for being the best example of what a transformed life looks like and not being shy about where the transformation comes from. Is it hard for you to not be shy about where the change in your life comes from?
Once we’re rescued, we’re all on the team. God has uniquely placed each of us next to people who need Jesus - they need our story, our life change, our gifts, our personality. Who do you think God has uniquely placed you near? What step can you take toward them this week
READ. PRAY. DO.
Read John 9, the story from Mike’s message.
Watch the video below for some context about John’s biography of Jesus!
Pray this prayer on your own, or use it to kickstart your own personal prayer time.
adapted from Psalm 51
Father, you have made me clean, whole, washed, and restored. You have given me a new heart and a new life. I have hope and a future that is securely in your hands. And since you’ve given me joy, I want to give it away. I want to help others see how good and real you are. Give me the courage to share my story of grace, and the opportunities to do so.
Write down your own story of grace.
Writing down your story will help you spend time reflecting on what God has done for you and how He’s changed you. Think through what your life was like before He rescued you, and how He paved the way for grace to show up in your life.