WEEK 1 - SHARING STORIES
For an audio-only version of this first section click HERE
Leaders, as a society, we are often looking for authenticity in things around us. We consume social media, binge watch reality tv, and gorge on podcasts daily. Yet these are almost always one-sided relationships that enable us to keep people at a distance and seemingly protect ourselves from being truly known. From letting others in.
Similar to a front door, we often barricade and guard ourselves against others out of fear of being hurt. Out of concern that if people truly knew us they would, for some reason, reject us. The result then is that when we seek to make friends we can become so selective about who we let in that even Mr. Rogers would be turned away.
Now, this might not be you. You might not struggle in this way but I believe many in our church are. They probably show up on Sundays, possibly are on a serve team and might even attend a DG faithfully yet they are still living at a distance.
Often today our social interactions are so impersonal that we lose sight of how to let others in or forget how to engage with those around us. This is why I believe God put it upon our hearts to create this series. Our desire, as pastors and leaders, is to help equip the body to better care for itself, to better love one another and to experience friendships as God intends.
To start things off this week, we thought it best to dive right in. We want to encourage our people to unlock those doors. To let down their guard and prayerfully share how God has individually shaped them.
So for week one, we will begin with sharing our stories. There are two questions given in the workbook and in this week's video which will set up your time together. The idea is to not to have everyone share their testimony but rather one difficult experience and one that was joyful.
This is an opportunity for people to take that first step in cracking open the door to who they are. This will be challenging for some so please take the time to remind everyone that your gathering is a safe place and that your love for one another is informed and fueled by God's love for us. (1 John 4:10-12). Which is most greatly seen at the cross of Jesus (Romans 5:8).
In the coming weeks, we will continue to build upon this initial experience providing ways in which our people can grow in loving and caring for each other. Each week will build upon the previous making the training, apprenticeship, and immersion that much more impactful.
MEDIA + LITURGY
Below is the video and tools for your gathering along with a guideline for your evening. This week Pastor Bubba will be preaching on John 15:12-17 along with other passages.
Vision Cast - as mentioned above this is an opportunity to provide the purpose, goals and desired culture for your group.
If you haven't done so yet, have your group quickly fill out the series assessment form. Keep those to analyze and hand out on week 9.
Apprenticeship - Start this time by playing the Week 1 video with everyone. Then move into subgroups after. Once settled, have each person write down thoughts on pg 13 and then share. The first question is intended to go deep quickly.
Immersion - Please allow enough time to cover this section on pg 14. It should only take 5-10 minutes but is an essential part of developing holistic friendships.
WAYS TO SERVE TOGETHER
Here are some ways you and your group can help serve together. If you know of any other opportunities please let me know so I can post it here in the coming weeks;
Jobs for Life - our church is partnering with 2 other churches to support this ministry and their Fall training event in Tacoma. They help single mothers get the skills needed to find and keep good-paying jobs. The curriculum is biblically based and Christ-centered. We will be providing and serving dinner to students, volunteers, and children (36 people in total). The church staff, the Disciple Equip group, and the Francis DG have already taken 3 nights. We just need to cover 3 more nights. Let me know ASAP if your group would like to help!
Blessing Teachers - consider writing and dropping of notes of appreciation to the staff and teachers of your local school(s).
Serving a Neighbor - is there anyone nearby that needs help with their yard? Leaves can make a huge mess. Maybe there is someone in the area that you can bless by raking up their leaves?