>>> LEADER TIP: go find the missing people!
Look at your roster and reach out to anyone who seems to be struggling to get to group consistently. It means a lot to people to know they’re missed. This can be delegated to another person in the group, their whole role could be to look out for people who may not yet feel they are an integral part of the group, encouraging them to make it to group each week.
>>> LEADER TIP: Begin with Silence
Begin with 1-5 minutes of silence followed by a brief prayer to center ourselves towards God and to prepare us to listen to Him. Just like any new habit, this gets easier every time we practice it. Keep at it!
We read this statement together before every group discussion. It helps transition the group to discussion time, it reaffirms our highest values, and sets a tone of trust, consistency, and safety for everyone in the group.
We are a group of imperfect people pursuing a perfect God. We exist to help each other find and follow Christ. 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.
Share the peak (best thing that happened) and pit (worst thing that happened) of your week.
For homework last week we read chapter four titled “God is Generous.” The main theme of the chapter was that God’s love and blessings are free opposed to merit-based. This quote from page 77 sums the chapter up well, “When every person in every situation in every day of our lives treats us on the basis of how we look, act, and perform, it is difficult not to project that onto God.” The author goes on to say on page 79, “the major theme of the Bible is grace- undeserved and unearned love.” God’s love has nothing to do with earning.
The soul training exercise was Praying Psalm 23. We learn in this chapter of the Bible that God invites us to rest, to be refreshed and to be restored.
From page 92, “Were you able to practice the exercise this week? If so, describe what you did and how you felt about it.
What, if anything, did you learn about God or yourself through the exercise?
What was the most meaningful verse or phrase of Psalm 23 for you?
Pose as many questions of the following questions as you have time for, don’t feel like you have to get to them all.
What stuck out to you the most about chapter four on God’s generosity?
On page 76, What are some of the “destructive images and ideas” you have wrestled with?
From page 77, How does our culture support the narrative of earning? Have you felt that pressure?
Page 79, If you fell more deeply in love with God, how might that change your behavior?
Turn to page 84, Do you agree that God is generous and give to us freely? Why or why not?
Page 85, What are some ways you have experienced the unearned blessings of God?
On page 86, How does it make you feel to know God delights in you? Why?
From page 88, How do your beliefs about God explain how you live your life?
- Chapter 5: "God is Love."
Lectio Divina. Don’t let the name of this spiritual practice scare you off, it is a Latin term that simply means, “divine reading.” It is a method of the Bible that involves listening with the heart. The author chose 1 Corinthians 12:4-8, dubbed “the love verses” in the Bible to read over and over, very slowly, reflecting on each word and phrase, all while paying attention to the impact the words have on our hearts.
What can we be praying for you this week? What are some things for which we can thank our generous God?