>>> LEADER TIP:
This is our last gathering. You did it! Thanks for serving the women God’s entrusted you with so well. Spend some time during this last gathering to talk about and plan how you’ll stay in touch before you get together for the next session. Empower the women in the group to take ownership of hosting or organizing a gathering to keep the momentum going even when Spark groups are on a break.
>>> LEADER TIP: begin with silence
Begin your last gathering together in silence, listening to God and preparing your hearts for his words and wisdom. End in a brief prayer.
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.
What was your biggest take away from the book, The Good and Beautiful God?
For homework last week we read chapter nine, How to Make a Pickle. We learned about America’s “hurry sickness,” what the author points to as the number one spiritual illnesses of our day. Page 174 reads, “while we increasingly move faster, we are enjoying life less.” As a result, our spiritual lives are diminished. We learned that the solution is slowing down and being present where we are. We then become the kind of people this frazzled and frightened world needs most.
The soul training exercise was slowing down: slowing down, savoring, resting, contemplating.
From page 192, 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?
Slowing down is countercultural. Describe the challenges you encountered. Will you keep trying to slow down in the future?
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 nine, How to Make a Pickle?
Turn to page 174, What is the correlation between being in a hurry, noticing things around you and contentment?
On page 176, What is the connection between technology and hurry sickness?
Page 177, Do you live under the tyranny of the urgent? Why or why not?
From page 178, Give some examples of how technology has actually decreased your leisure time.
Turn to page 182, Jesus lived a perfect life of balance between rest and action. Describe your “balance.”
On page 185, Have you ever had an experience like the berry-filled tree, where you stopped and paid attention to your surroundings and discovered something wonderful? Describe that experience.
What can we be praying for you this week? What are some things for which we can be thankful to our good and beautiful God?