WEEK 2 - PURSUING OTHERS
For an audio-only version of this first section click HERE
Leaders, imagine for a minute that someone from your group, during the night's discussion, shares with everyone that they are questioning their faith and the validity of the Bible. Or that they are struggling financially and can't even afford a meal. Or that they are hurting physically and just need a little help around the house, maybe even someone to pray with them....and no one in your group responds. It's silent, not a peep, and out of the awkwardness that is looming within the room you, as the leader, quickly think to yourself what can I say to "move on".
I know, it sounds terrible. You're probably thinking, that should never happen in the Christian community. And you are right, it shouldn't. However, sadly, it does. Unfortunately, each of those is something I have experienced first hand in a small group setting. In fact, I am sure that I have responded similarly early on in leadership. I was probably more concerned with the awkwardness of the room than the issue or the person who shared.
In 1 Peter 2:9 God calls us "a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession". These are some powerful titles. He then goes on to say that we are "to proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light." We have been blessed in Christ and given new life. Through faith in Jesus, we are forgiven, redeemed and are given His righteousness. And we are called to proclaim the greatness of our God in all aspects of our lives.
So, why would a blessed people respond so poorly to one another? Why would this type of reaction occur? How could I have responded this way?
Well I know for myself, I was probably more concerned with the discomfort of the room than the struggle of whoever was hurting. I dropped the ball. See instead of pursuing that person or entering their world I ran from it. I was more concerned with everyone else's comfort. Now, I may have had a bad day, long day, or needed coffee. But the fact remains, I lacked intentionality and concern. I neglected to love someone well and meet them where they were at.
By God's grace, I have grown in my love for others. And, I would like to believe this wouldn't happen again but if I'm not intentional it could. We all are susceptible to these sinful inclinations and if we are not growing in the knowledge of the truth, in love of others above ourselves we are more likely to hurt than to help heal.
This week we are desiring to grow our church body in their ability to engage one another. To enter each other's world through conversation and possibly in action. This is an opportunity to step back for a second. To take inventory of our thoughts, hold them captive and love others by intently listening to their words. To pursue them in a godly way as Christ has pursued us.
Thank you for helping in this effort. Helping to grow and equip our church body. For leading by example and loving God's people well. I, along with the staff and elders, are praying for each of you. If there's ever a specific prayer request that you have, please let me know so I can share that with the team.
Love you guys!
MEDIA + LITURGY
Below is a guideline for your time together this week:
Vision Cast - Consider sharing with your group how you were personally encouraged or impacted by the stories they shared last week. Acknowledge the wins you saw (people being vulnerable/ authentic/ loving) and commend those who participated. Doing this reinforces the culture you desire to have. It also can help inform new people of what's expected and desired of them.
Training (video) - This week we'll learn the next step in having healthy friendships. There is a brief teaching along with clips from one of our pre-recorded group discussions. This week is the guy's group, led by your's truly. The main idea in addition to processing and answering the question provided is to grow in awareness of our thoughts as we listen to others.
PLEASE NOTE: There was a mix up on pages 24 and 25 in our workbooks. Under "Group Member" it should read, What were you thinking?. Then under that box, What were you feeling towards OR for them?. Click HERE to download a corrected PDF. Please have your group make that correction in their books before they move into the discussion.
Apprenticeship - After the video, you'll want to huddle up into your same subgroups as last week. Then ask someone from your subgroup to open in prayer. Remind the group that you are learning to enter each other's world through conversation. The goal is to analyze our internal dialogue while someone shares so we can grow in loving and listening to one another more intently.
Immersion - Please allow enough time to cover this section on pg 26. It should only take 10- 15 minutes but is an essential part of developing holistic friendships. Go through each question 1-3 to help the group identify ways they can connect and develop relationships with one another. During this time you could also ask how the immersion went the previous week. If your group members have kids, remind them of the Family Application section. Then close with the Discipleship Point and prayer.
A big thank you to everyone who took attendance last week! If you need help entering that in please let me know.
WAYS TO SERVE TOGETHER
Here are some ways you and your group can serve together. Please contact me If you know of other opportunities coming up;
Jobs for Life - the staff and their families had an opportunity to serve this group last week. It was a huge blessing to be part of this effort. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. We have one more day that we need to be covered, November 7th. Please let me know ASAP if your group is able to help. You are welcome to team up with another group as well.
Feeding & Praying for Homeless in Tacoma - several of our people gather monthly to prep, serve and pray for those less fortunate in the Tacoma area. If you would like to help or find out how your group can join in this effort contact Nick or Frank.