Group Discussion Questions

Suggested Prep:

  • Spend time daily with Jesus!
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.

Group Discussion

Note: We know it is impossible to tackle every single one of these questions, so we have highlighted a few that we feel represent some of the most important points of this week’s study.

Main Takeaways:

  • We are called by God to engage our world.
  • We are to be messengers of hope and encouragement as well as truth.

We strongly urge you to pray over these questions before you meet with your group and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through the discussion.

Icebreaker: Who is someone that you would like to learn more about? Share with the group what it is about that person’s life that makes you want to know more.

Have someone read aloud 1 Thessalonians 5:1-15

Why is this passage applicable to today’s world?

Paul contrasts light with darkness and awake with sleep in this passage. What do you think it means to live in the light, to be awake? (Leaders, this can get a broad response so don’t hesitate to redirect to the simple truth of salvation, being children of God as the critical aspect here.)

Why is it important for us to persevere? What can this or does this show the world about Jesus?

Have you ever had someone attempt to encourage you in difficult circumstances but it actually discouraged you? What about it caused it to have a negative impact rather than the intended positive one?

Can you think of anyone in your life that is struggling to persevere through difficult circumstances? As a group, discuss ways in which you could be an encouragement to them.

Why is the “hope of salvation” so closely tied to perseverance in this passage? How does that change our approach to encouraging others during difficult times?

How can we avoid giving “trite” encouragement?

Read verse 14 again. Why is it hard to “be patient with everyone”?

What does a lack of patience say about our own heart and beliefs?

In other passages we are told to listen first, to remove the plank from our own eye first, to consider others better than ourselves. Why do you think these concepts are continually reinforced?

How do these impact your interactions with others that you disagree with?

What would it look like to be an encouragement to someone you disagree with?

How is this a demonstration of the love of Jesus?

Prayer

Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time. Pray together in smaller groups.

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Stand Wk Two// June 12, 2016

Suggested Prep:

  • Spend time daily with Jesus!
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Discussion

Note: We know it is impossible to tackle every single one of these questions, so we have highlighted a few that we feel represent some of the most important points of this week’s study.

Main Takeaways:

  • We can trust God’s word
  • God uses all situations to teach and grow us in holiness

We strongly urge you to pray over these questions before you meet with your group and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through the discussion.

  • How do you know if someone is telling the truth?  What if it is in writing and not in person? Does that change whether or not you believe them?
    • What is the Bible?
    • Where did it come from?
    • Is it reliable? Why or why not?
  • What do you believe about Scripture? 
    • What are the parts of Scripture that are hard to take at face value?
    • Some people argue that the Bible is full of war, hate, racism, rape genocide and all kinds of other terrible things and thus isn’t suitable to read.  It certainly does have those things in places.  Why are those things there? 
    • Couldn’t God have put together a more palatable Scripture?  (group leaders, These questions are going to get people talking about some rough things like the rape of Tamar, the Israelite conquest of Canaan, etc, don’t spend too much time here and miss answering why those things are in the bible)
  • Read 2 Tim 3:16 together. Does that shed light on the hard parts of Scripture? How do those hard things of the bible fall into these categories?
    • Jon says we need to be speaking the same language.  Read 1 Thes. 2:13. What is the word of God? 
  • What is the gospel? Is that the same as the word of God?
  • Jon said what we believe about the role of Scripture will clarify what we believe. Do you agree? why or why not?

Application

  • What steps can you take this week to make Scripture a part of each day? Please share this with the group.
  • As a group, how can you challenge each other to spend more time in the Word of God this week?

Prayer

Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time. Pray together in smaller groups.

[click here for a printable copy]


Stand Wk One // June 5, 2016

Suggested Prep:

    • Spend time daily with Jesus!
    • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Elevate: With the Groups Year coming quickly to a close, NOW is even more ideal than usual for talking about the possibility of multiplying in the fall. And this particular discussion fits perfectly. Ask your Group a “dream” question, like – “What do you think God might do through another Group? Whom do you think God might bless through that Group?”. If you have budding leaders in your Group, NOW is an excellent time to open (or even better REOPEN!) a direct conversation about them leading a Group. Instead of just asking if they’re interested, affirm to them some of the leadership qualities that you’ve seen God working in them, maybe suggest someone(s) with whom they might partner, and share with them the vision for transformation for people that a new Group can bring. We will hold a 5 week training for New Group Leaders in August.

Group Discussion

Note: We know it is impossible to tackle every single one of these questions, so we have highlighted a few that we feel represent some of the most important points of this week’s study.

Main Takeaway:

  • God can grow us in our ability to have effective gospel conversations!

Discussion Questions:

  • Warmup Discussion: Talking with people about Jesus is one of our greatest privileges. But it can also be challenging. Would a few of you be game to share about a recent gospel conversation you have had? OR a recent time when you missed a gospel conversation opportunity? (Note to Leaders: This has the potential to be VERY fruitful conversation. Be sure to be ultra-encouraging. If this particular question ended up dominating much of the evening, that would be a win. The more we are able to talk about the challenges and wins of gospel conversations, the more normalized they will become.)
  • Leaders share (in your words): These next weeks, Jon will be walking through 1 Thessalonians, one of the very earliest books of the New Testament. Paul is writing to a very young church that exists in an extremely hostile culture. Over these next weeks, Jon will be asking the question – in an oppositional environment, what does it look like to stand the way Jesus did? Paul’s priorities for the Thessalonian church can be very relevant for us as we seek to answer that question.
  • Leaders share (in your words): We are going to pick up the story of Paul’s relationship with those in Thessalonica. When Paul gets to Thessalonica, he is actually in the middle of a short-term mission trip that lasts about four years. Paul’s mission team has moved into Thessalonica’s region because God gave Paul a vision of a man from that region pleading for Paul’s help. Paul knew that the help the man needed was the gospel.
  • Read Acts 17:1-15. What can you observe about the environment in which the Thessalonian church was living? What were some of the obstacles the Thessalonian church faced? What else do you notice about Paul, about the gospel, or about anything else in this story?
  • Leaders share (in your words):
    • What do you think motivated Paul and his team to share the gospel anyway?
    • How much do you share this motivation? What do you think it would take to grow your motivation?

 

  • Leaders share (in your words): On Sunday, Pastor Jon shared that Paul wanted the church in Thessalonica to notice that the primary thing he had to share with them was the truth about Jesus. What insight, principle or observation from this Sunday’s message did you find most helpful, eye-opening or troubling?
  • What are some of the primary barriers that keep you from sharing about Jesus more?
  • In our world today, what are some elements that often come together in effective gospel conversations? (Leaders’ note… Could include: a personal, transformative encounter with Jesus; prayer; a habit of reading Scripture; some kind of common ground with the person; some understanding of where the person might be coming from…)
  • In 1 Thessalonians 1:5, Paul shares the reason that the gospel took hold in this city, even in the face of so much opposition. What was that reason? (The Holy Spirit’s power)
    • Reflecting on this reason, how does that influence that way that you pray, think about and approach sharing the gospel?
  • In light of Acts 17, why does 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10 seem like a surprising result? What does this teach you about the work of the Holy Spirit and our call to share Jesus?
  • What is one step that you can take this week to grow in your ability to have gospel conversations?

Application questions/steps. Consider doing one of these with your group.

  • Throughout the week, commit to reading Acts 17:1-15 AND 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:4. Set aside a few minutes at the beginning of next week’s discussion to share any insights.
  • Pray as a group now — and daily through the week — for an opportunity this week to have some kind of gospel conversation. Commit to opening your time next week by sharing what opportunities God revealed. (Get your groups’ buy-in on this first…)
  • At Discovery, we often talk about having our “three”: those for whom we will pray daily to come to know Jesus. Have each Group Member reflect on their three. Hand out notecards for them to write the first names of their three (or initials, if they are more comfortable with that). Have Group Members exchange notecards and commit to also praying for each other’s “three” throughout the week.
  • Persecution is a primary theme through all of this week’s study. Pray together for the persecuted church, that God would enable them to stand firm and to share Jesus. It may be helpful to name a few hotspot regions first and then pray specifically for those Christians. (ie. focus just on Nigerian Christians… or Iraqi… or Syrian… etc)

[click here for a printable copy]


Memorial Day // May 29, 2016

Suggested Prep:

  • Spend time daily with Jesus!
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.

Note to Group Leaders — Memorial Day is a time for remembering and honoring those who have sacrificed their lives to keep in service to our country. But it also helps us focus on what it means to sacrifice for those we love. The Bible often uses the example of a soldier for how we are to live out our faith. In that light, what does it mean for us to give our lives in sacrifice to the Kingdom of Heaven?

Group Discussion

Note: We know it is impossible to tackle every single one of these questions, so we have highlighted a few that we feel represent some of the most important points of this week’s study.

Main Takeaways:

  • We are all loved by God
  • Our strength comes from God, not from ourselves
  • We are to be examples of God’s love to others

We strongly urge you to pray over these questions before you meet with your group and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through the discussion.

Group Discussion:

    • What is the best way a friend has shown love for you?  If you are comfortable, share this with your group.
    • Have a group member who took notes read out the main points of the sermon.  What stood out to you?  What raised questions for you?  What encouraged or convicted you?
    • Who do you know personally who has been or is in the military?  Think of the characteristics he or she displays that you admire.  Share these with your group.  Which of these characteristics do you most long to emulate.
  • Read John 15:13 (NIV): Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  Why is this the ultimate example of love?  Are there ways we can demonstrate this kind of love ourselves, even if we’re not called to physical death?
    • How can we “live life for those who cannot”?  Who has done this for you?  Who can you thank for sacrificing for your sake?  (Optional activity: have members write thank you card to someone who has made sacrifices for them or someone they know who has served in the military.  Or have your group write thank you cards to veterans to deliver to the VA.)
  • Read Galatians 6:9 (NIV): Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. What is “doing good”?  How do we know we’re doing good?
  • Are you tired of doing good?  In what situations?
  • How can we not tire of doing good? Have one of your group members read their notes on this point if they have any. (1. Know where you are going. 2. Go in God’s strength. 3. Know why: Go for God’s glory.)
  • For larger groups: divide into 3 groups to discuss these 3 points: first, what it means (e.g. where are you going) and second how this helps one continue doing good. Come back together and have each group share what they discussed.  For smaller groups, do this activity together for each point.
    • Which of these is hardest for you to accomplish/experience?
  • Think of the week ahead. Are there any interactions or tasks you are dreading?  How might knowing where you are going, knowing you go in God’s strength, and knowing you are aiming for God’s glory help you face this?

Prayer:

As a group: pray for each other in pairs for the upcoming week, specifically to not grow weary of doing good.  Or commit as a group to praying for a member daily that week.  Share your experience at the next group meeting.

[Click here for a printable copy]


Love: Sincere // May 22, 2016

Suggested Prep:

  • Spend time daily with Jesus!
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Elevate / Engage: As many of your Groups prepare to redirect for the summer months, this is an excellent time to reopen the conversation about Multiplication. Who are your potential leaders — or current Apprentice Leader(s) in your Group? Fall Groups Launch will happen on September 18 — and we will hold training for New Group Leaders during the month of August. Who in your Group might God be calling to take that step? Nicole would love to talk with you and them about the next steps! nicole@discochurch.com

Note to Group Leaders — As your group discusses these question it is very possible that some real hurts may be revealed. Be ready to listen with open hearts. It may be that trusting the group with these hurts is the first step toward healing.

Note: We know it is impossible to tackle every single one of these questions, so we have highlighted a few that we feel represent some of the most important points of this week’s study.

Main Takeaways:

  • Trust is hard earned but easily lost.
  • We can trust in God.
  • We are called to love others as God has loved us.

Group Discussion

  • Icebreaker: Share a memory of a time when you felt very valued or loved by someone. What is it about that memory that made you feel that way?
  • Read Romans 12:9-21. When you read these verses in the context of Love, what stands out to you? What do these verses show about God’s character? About His purposes? About people?
  • Have someone briefly share their notes from Sunday. What did God impress upon you during Jon’s message this week? Please share with your group.
    • How do you know that you are loved? What would someone need to do to show you that their love for you is real? Bear in mind that we’re talking about more than romantic love here.
    • Who do you trust the most? Why?
    • How would you feel if that trust was broken? Or felt already if you’ve experienced this previously?
    • What makes a break in trust so painful?
  • What causes you to trust God? Or, if trusting God is difficult for you, what is the source of that difficulty?
    • When considering someone’s trust in you or your own in them, how do you think Paul’s statement that we must overcome evil with good applies?
    • What you consider the hardest part of rebuilding trust in another person?
  • What lengths would you go to to regain the trust of someone you love?
    • What would that say to you if someone went to those same lengths to regain your trust?
  • Consider what Jesus has done for you. In what ways does this show his love and trustworthiness? What do you learn about demonstrating love and trustworthiness from Jesus’ example?
    • How can you be that same example in someone else’s life? Who would you be willing to do that for?
  • In another passage (2 Cor 5:18-21) we are told that our ministry is to be one of reconciliation. Is there someone you need to reconcile with? Share this with your group.
  • What steps would you need to take to earn or regain that person’s trust? How could you start this week?

Prayer

Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time. Pray together in smaller groups.

[click here for a printable copy]


Love: Be // I Am Here, the Art of Being Present // May 15, 2016

Suggested Prep:

  • Spend time daily with Jesus!
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Engage / Embrace: This week’s discussion about demonstrating love through being present with others provides a perfect opportunity to talk about the way your group will spend your summer. If you’re scaling back your regular meetings (which we highly recommend), will you schedule a few BBQs or picnics when you can all just BE together? And would you consider hosting a potluck in August to which others at Discovery and in your community could be invited? Often “being present” actually requires intentional planning ahead — take some time this evening for some Group summer planning.

Group Discussion

Note: We know it is impossible to tackle every single one of these questions, so we have highlighted a few that we feel represent some of the most important points of this week’s study.

Main Takeaways:

  • We cannot demonstrate God’s love to others if we do not spend time with them
  • Jesus spent time with the “least of these” and we are called to do the same
  • We are called to be a blessing to others

We strongly urge you to pray over these questions before you meet with your group and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through the discussion.

    • From Jon’s message, what resonated most strongly with you? Why?
  • Read Romans 12:9-21 as a group.  Why do you think Paul is so focused on our relationships with others in this passage?
    • What do you think it means to be present with others?
    • How can spending time with others be a demonstration of love?
    • What are some ways you have demonstrated or experienced love through the presence of others in the past?
  • What are some ways that you or this group could demonstrate hospitality toward someone in need?
    • Read verse 16 again.  What are some areas in your life where you see people failing to live in harmony? Ex. Work, school, your street, neighborhood…
    • How could things change if you began to see the fruits of the Spirit exhibited in those same areas and relationships?
    • Why do you think Paul specifically tells us to not be proud?
  • When you read or hear this passage about associating with the lowly, what is your first reaction? Why?
  • Jesus was called a “friend of sinners”.  Who would people say you are a friend to?
    • Is there someone you have been hesitant to spend time with, to be associated with?
    • What might happen if you did spend time with them? What might the challenges be?
  • We tend to be very protective of “our” time, what is one change you could make to your schedule this week that would free you up to spend time with someone else? Share this with the group and next week report on how it went.

Prayer

Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time. Pray together in smaller groups.

[click here for a printable copy]


Mother’s day // I Forgive You // May 8, 2016

Suggested Prep:

  • Spend time daily with Jesus!
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)

Note to Group Leaders — This discussion may cause some of your group members to bring up particular faith questions. Some thoughts that may be helpful:

  • Bringing up questions and even doubts is good, but don’t allow these discussions to derail your group. If someone has an honest question, don’t feel obligated to completely solve it during your small group time. Instead, offer to connect them with some resources they can investigate further. If you need a resource for a particular topic, let me know and I can help connect you with something appropriate: nicole@discochurch.com)
  • Don’t offer to do the research for the person asking the question. Suggest that they investigate (and offer to give them resource ideas). This boundary will help to weed out those who are just being frivolous or argumentative from those who are sincere. Those who are sincere will benefit more from their own investigation anyway. If you like, you can also encourage them to get back to the group with what they find.
  • Don’t allow some well-meaning group members to try to solve all of another member’s faith-questions right there in group. This will shut down your group’s future ability to wrestle with honest questions.
    • Do feel free (if appropriate) to be transparent about your own faith-questions — and how God has helped you walk through them!
  • It is worth stating at the outset that forgiveness is enormously complicated. Talking about forgiveness is difficult because it is a remarkably broad word. This same word can describe the mercy you extend to the jerk who cut you off yesterday in traffic and the mercy you extend to the spouse that left you for someone else. With a range that broad forgiveness is also incredibly personal. It deals with how we respond to those who have hurt us. It describes the process that takes us from our painful isolation to a restored friendship. We cannot talk about forgiveness with any power if we do not at the same time talk deeply and vulnerably about our own self.
  • Forgiveness is also the foundation and the bedrock of the entire Christian life. Our life in Christ begins with the experience of divine forgiveness, and the entire Christian life can be truthfully described as an unending journey to understand and appreciate the depths of God’s merciful kindness towards us. Forgiveness involves more than just myself. However there is only one part of the relationship that I am able to influence. Even if we want to forgive someone, if they refuse to reconcile with us, then we may be left with nothing but prayer and hope, longing for a restored relationship.

Group Discussion

Note: We know it is impossible to tackle every single one of these questions, so we have highlighted a few that we feel represent some of the most important points of this week’s study.

Main Takeaways:

  • The variety of stories and instructions given here remind us that Jesus knows how complex forgiveness is.
  • God has forgiven us far more than we can ever forgive those around us.

We strongly urge you to pray over these questions before you meet with your group and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through the discussion.

Some questions for discussion-

Matt 18:1-35

How does it change things to know that egregious sins directed towards others makes Jesus furious? (Matt 18:6-7)

Do you think you have hurt people in ways to incite Jesus righteous anger?

How does it feel to know that Jesus offers forgiveness for the ways we specifically have hurt those whom Jesus loves?

Have ever felt like the wayward sheep struggling with your sin. Has anyone in the church ever chased you down like the shepherd in this story?

Do all situations of forgiveness require us to be the proactive agent?

Do you think there are ever times where we have done all that we can do, and must wait for our wayward siblings to return?

Since Jesus gave his disciples rules for dealing with sin in His community, do you think Jesus assumes that such behavior is inevitable?

Read 1 John 1:9

This is one of the Evangelical church’s most cherished verses on forgiveness. What role does confession play in the process of forgiveness?

Can you forgive someone who does not believe they have done anything wrong?

Should you forgive someone who does not believe they have sinned against you?

Have you ever experienced deep forgiveness from someone in your life?

Would you be willing to share that story?

How does that experience of being forgiven by someone you can see help you relate to the forgiving God you cannot see?

How has that experience affected how you relate to those who wrong you?

[click here for a printable copy]


Glue // Week 5 // May 1, 2016

Suggested Prep:

  • Spend time daily with Jesus!
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Equip: Since this month’s study is on the book of 1 Peter, Jon is encouraging everyone to read 1 Peter all month: Chapter 1 each Monday, Chapter 2 each Tuesday, etc — so that each week we complete the book. Encourage your group to do this! For some, this will feel manageable enough that they may read their Bibles on their own for the first time… or the first time in a very long time!

Group Discussion

Main Takeaways:

  • How you live matters; others are watching.
  • Jesus equips us to lead like he does
  • We all have influence; influence is leadership.
  • God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Note: We know it is impossible to tackle every single one of these questions, so we have highlighted a few that we feel represent some of the most important points of this week’s study.

  • Ice Breaker: Who was the worst boss or supervisor you’ve ever had? Who was the best boss or supervisor you ever had?  What made them so good or bad?
  • Read 1 Peter 5:1-11 together.  What does Peter say makes a good leader in this passage?  
  • Leaders: Have someone share their sermon notes. What stood out to you in the sermon? Why?
  • Jon said to be servant shepherds.  What does that mean?  
  • Read 1 Peter 5:2 again. You may not be an elder or teacher but who is under your care? With whom has God entrusted you with? (Spouse, Kids, employees, younger siblings, family, students, small group, etc). Why do you think God put these people in your life?  
  • Why does God give us influence? Why does he involve us in the care of his flock?
  • Whom do you follow?  Who leads you?
  • Jesus calls himself “The Good Shepherd” Read John 10:11-18 together. What do we learn about the Good Shepherd? How does Jesus Lead?  Is it possible for us to lead like Jesus? What would that take? (Leaders: John 14:11-14 could be helpful here if your group is struggling. And this could be an excellent place for the GOSPEL, since NO, it is not possible for us to lead like Jesus because we are fallen… until we believe in him, and then he equips us – John 14:11-12)
  • In the sermon Jon said to have one audience, the chief shepherd (v. 4).  What happens when we have lots of different “audiences?” Who else are these audiences beside Jesus? What would have to change in your life or mind to have Jesus as your sole audience?
  • What steps could you take to be more prayerful about the influence you have?
  • Read v. 6-7. “Humble yourselves” is given as an instruction – as something for us to do. What do you think this means? What action could you take to grow in humility?
  • Read v. 9-10. We live in a time when believers around the world are suffering for their faith in historic numbers. How do verses 9-10 encourage you in your faith?
  • What is one action step you can take to begin a habit of leading (influencing) more like the shepherd Peter describes?

Application questions/steps. Please consider doing one of these with your group.

  • Pray for Disco’s Leadership everyday this week: Choose one person or a group each day and pray for God’s hand in their life to help them lead like Jesus.  (Pastor Jon, Church council, Kid’s kingdom teachers, small group leaders, etc.)
  • As a group, consider choosing a passage of scripture to memorize for next week, perhaps one of the two listed below:

1 Peter 5:6

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.

Prayer: Determine ahead what time you will begin prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time. Pray together in smaller groups.

Leaders! Don’t skip this part of having them pray for you!! Take time to pray together for your small group leader(s).  Ask what your leaders what they  feel they need to lead well.

In light of v. 9-10, take time also to pray for the persecuted church around the world.

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Glue: Making it Stick // Week 4 // April 24, 2016

Suggested Prep:

  • Spend time daily with Jesus!
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Engage / Elevate: New Disco Groups are forming and some recently kicked off last week. Encourage your group to pray for the leaders of these groups and for those who are attending them for the first time – may they feel welcomed, safe, and encouraged. Also consider asking your group if they can think of anyone who might fit into one of these new groups.

Note to Group Leaders — This discussion may cause some of your group members to bring up particular faith questions. Some thoughts that may be helpful:

  • Bringing up questions and even doubts is good, but don’t allow these discussions to derail your group. If someone has an honest question, don’t feel obligated to completely solve it during your small group time. Instead, offer to connect them with some resources they can investigate further. If you need a resource for a particular topic, let me know and I can help connect you with something appropriate: nicole@discochurch.com)
  • Don’t offer to do the research for the person asking the question. Suggest that they investigate (and offer to give them resource ideas). This boundary will help to weed out those who are just being frivolous or argumentative from those who are sincere. Those who are sincere will benefit more from their own investigation anyway. If you like, you can also encourage them to get back to the group with what they find.
  • Don’t allow some well-meaning group members to try to solve all of another member’s faith-questions right there in group. This will shut down your group’s future ability to wrestle with honest questions.
  • Do feel free (if appropriate) to be transparent about your own faith-questions — and how God has helped you walk through them!

Group Discussion

Note: We know it is impossible to tackle every single one of these questions, so we have highlighted a few that we feel represent some of the most important points of this week’s study.

Main Takeaways:

  • Leaning into God’s will means surrendering our futures to the mission of Jesus.
  • God is faithful; therefore we can believe prayer works.
  • Prayer is powerful and effective.

We strongly urge you to pray over these questions before you meet with your group and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through the discussion.

1 Peter 4

  • Ice Breaker: If you were to write a mission statement for your life, what would it be?
  • Where does this mission come from? Why is it important to you? (This doesn’t have to be super spiritual, though of course it can be – encourage people to think about their gifts, their interests, and the resources God has given them)
    • Do you consciously work towards your mission/purpose on a regular basis? How?
    • Read 1 Peter 4:7 out loud as a group. What do you think of when you hear the words “the end of all things is near”? How “near” do you think the end really is? How do we reconcile the immediacy of this statement with the fact that thousands of years have passed since it was written?
    • What does it mean to you to be “alert and of sober mind”?
  • For the most part, do you consider yourself to be “alert and of sober mind”? Does this say anything to you about your daily habits (how you spend your time, what you eat and drink, how much sleep you get each night)? Is there anything you might change?
    • Peter says we should be alert and sober so that we may pray. Do you believe changing daily habits such as food, drink, sleep, and the company you keep has an impact on your prayer life? Why or why not?
    • For those of you who consistently pray before attempting to resolve an issue, make a decision, or figure out which path to take, share what that experience is like for you.
    • Have you experienced God answering your prayers? What has that looked like (has he spoken to you through scripture? Through other people? Spoken to you directly? Opened doors? Etc.)?
    • Do you think it is beneficial to pray over smaller decisions as well? Why or why not?
  • Read Philippians 4:6-7 out loud in the group. What does Paul say about prayer? How does he recommend we approach God with our requests? What are the benefits of prayer?
    • How do you pray? Do you have a ritual for prayer? Is there a formula you follow (like the Lord’s Prayer)?
    • What does it mean to live in the will of God?
    • Is there a way to know whether you are living your life within God’s will? How can you test this?
    • Read 1 Peter 4:8-10 aloud. In light of these verses, what would you say is more important: the people you encounter or the position you are in?
    • Do you prioritize people over your position, or even the mission you believe God has for you? What is a tangible example of doing so?
  • Have you ever been in a position where you believed you had to choose between loving people and what you thought God had called you to do? What was that like? How did you decide what to do? Were you satisfied with how you handled it?
    • Read 1 Peter 4:11 aloud in the group. What does it mean to speak your words as if they were the very words of God? How do you know whether your words are in alignment with God’s? (Spending time in scripture, memorizing God’s word, etc., so that it becomes a part of you)
    • Have you ever felt as though you were truly relying on God’s strength and power rather than your own? What did that feel like? How could you tell the difference?
  • Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 aloud in the group. Think back on the mission statement you shared at the beginning of the group. How do these verses apply? Is there anything you’d add or change to your mission statement given what we’ve talked about today?

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Glue // Week 3 // April 17, 2016

Suggested Prep:

  • Spend time daily with Jesus!
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Equip: Since this month’s study is on the book of 1 Peter, Jon is encouraging everyone to read 1 Peter all month: Chapter 1 each Monday, Chapter 2 each Tuesday, etc — so that each week we complete the book. Encourage your group to do this! For some, this will feel manageable enough that they may read their Bibles on their own for the first time… or the first time in a very long time!

Group Discussion

Main Takeaways:

  • My character in my closest relationships can be God’s tool to draw people
  • Godly character requires that God transform my heart – and that I obey

Note: We know it is impossible to tackle every single one of these questions, so we have highlighted a few that we feel represent some of the most important points of this week’s study.

 

  • Share an example of a marriage – or family – or friendship – that you have found inspiring. What was one of the characteristics of that relationship? What difference has that example made in your life?

 

    • Have someone share their notes from Sunday’s sermon. What did God use in the sermon to speak to you… or what did you find interesting or meaningful? 
    • Jon has encouraged us to read a chapter of 1 Peter with him daily. If any of you have been doing that, what is something that has stood out to you so far? [Leaders: Be prepared to share something yourself here, especially if few in your group have been participating in the reading. You are demonstrating the value of getting into God’s Word on your own]
    • Read 1 Peter 3:1-12. What stands out to you? Why? [Leaders: Don’t allow your group to bog down in the “role of the wife/role of the husband” question. If needed, refer to Ephesians 5:21, urging everyone to submit to each other.]
    • Make a list of the character traits Peter calls believers to in this passage. [Leaders: Try to have everyone have a copy of the passage in front of them. If you have somewhere to write and post a list, even better!]
    • For many of these traits, Peter also associates a certain kind of blessing. What blessings do you see listed in this passage?
    • In verses 1 & 2, which person – the unbelieving husband or the believing wife – is requiring the most significant change? But, in this context, to whom does Peter give instructions about their character? What can you learn from this? [Leaders: The believing wives would have been the ones hearing this instruction since they were in the church, so Peter addresses to them to look to themselves and their character, NOT to the change that needs to take place in their husbands. We also are called ONLY to look to our own character, and to trust God with the rest.]

 

  • Though, in this passage, some of these character traits are addressed specifically to different groups of people, the Bible is clear that all of these traits are part of the nature of every follower of Jesus. What would it take for these character traits to be in the fabric of your home & closest relationships? [GOSPEL!]

 

    • What kind of difference do you think this kind of character could make in your home? What kind of difference does 1 Peter 3:2 say can take place? [Leaders: If necessary, remind your group to focus on themselves… not on how they would change someone else.]

 

  • What step of obedience could you take toward growing this kind of character?
  • In what ways could our godly character and relationships at home be missional? How could God use those godly relationships to draw people to Himself? Have you ever seen this happen?

 

Application questions/steps. Please consider doing one of these with your group.  

  • As a group, consider choosing a favorite verse from the passage to memorize for next week.
  • Draw names of members of your Group and pray for them and their family throughout the week

Prayer: Determine ahead what time you will begin prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time. Pray together in smaller groups.

GlueWeek3 [click here for a printable copy]

 


 

Glue: Making it Stick //  Week 2

1 Peter 2

Suggested Prep:

▪ Spend time daily with Jesus!

▪ Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.

▪ Pray for your group!

  • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual
  • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
  • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
  • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
  • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
  • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.

▪ Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. I recommend you only choose 4-5 questions, at most. You can use other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to “get through” the questions.

Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.

▪ Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency! This may mean identifying your answers ahead of time.

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Equip: This week’s message digs into how we see ourselves, our identity. This can either be shaped by the world or by Christ. The passage gives us a great launching point to discuss our new identities in Christ. Be ready to review the Gospel, that God loved us while we were still sinners, Christ died for us and through the Holy Spirit we are being made into new creations…

GROUP QUESTIONS:

  • Has there ever been a time in your life when something from your past hurt your present or future goals?
  • Have a group member who took notes read out the main points of the sermon. What stood out to you? What raised questions for you? What encouraged or convicted you?
  • What do you think God would say to you about your past? As a group take a moment to silently ask God this question. If thoughts come to mind, share them aloud. You may want to have someone write responses. (As leader, gauge your group as to whether this activity would work for them. You may simply ask the question.)
  • Think of an embarrassing moment in your life. (Ask group members to think of a moment they’d be willing to share, or to keep it to themselves and discuss the following questions without giving specifics depending on comfort level of your group.) Why do you still remember it? Do you think of it with regret?
  • What triggers your regret? What are the things that make you dwell on past mistakes?
  • Is there any benefit to thinking about our past? How do we keep the past in the past? (Gospel review may be needed here…)
  • Do you crave “spiritual milk”? What are your cravings/longings? What do you wish they were?
  • Read verse 1. What do you need to rid yourself of?
  • Read verses 4 and 5. What does Peter mean by calling Jesus the “living Stone”? How are we to be like living stones? (Read on through verse 8 for further material on this.)
  • Why is it important we submit to human authority? (police, government, bosses, etc.) Are there exceptions?
  • Do you ever find yourself railing against consequences given by human authority? (parking tickets, fees, etc.) Is there any reason to quietly accept these, even when we feel they’re unjust?
  • Read verses 9 and 10. According to this, who are you? List the words Peter uses to describe his audience. Do any of these descriptors make you uncomfortable? Do you believe these things describe you, or do you think it’s more a future description; they might describe you if you were…(fill in the blank: better at something, less sinful, more disciplined, etc.)
  • Read verse 17. In what ways do you “love the family of believers”? How do we make ourselves open to new friendships with “people with a future”? Where do we find them? If we already have close Christian friends, why should we seek out new Christian friends?
  • Is it more important to seek friendships with the lost?

PRAYER:
Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time. Pray together in smaller groups.

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Glue: Making it Stick // Week 1 – Making it stick in me

1 Peter 1-9, 13-16

Suggested Prep:

▪ Spend time daily with Jesus!

▪ Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.

▪ Pray for your group!

  • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual
  • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
  • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
  • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
  • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
  • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.

▪ Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. I recommend you only choose 4-5 questions, at most. This week looks heavily at salvation so be prepared to review the Gospel as necessary. You can use other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to “get through” the questions.

Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.

▪ Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency! This may mean identifying your answers ahead of time.

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Equip/Elevate: This week’s message discusses how we can trust in our salvation and as a result see and engage the world around us differently despite the challenges we face. This is a great opportunity to both encourage your group as they grow in their faith as well as consider how to better serve those around us.

 

Group Discussion:

Have you ever really wanted to do or accomplish something but discovered that it was much harder than you expected it to be? How did you respond to the obstacles you faced?

What resonated with you from Jon’s message?

What is your first reaction when reading verses 1 and 2, that God has chosen you?

Why is it important to know that God chose you?

This is one of the passages where the trinity is specifically identified. What does verse 2 tell us about the Father, Son and Spirit?

Where do you keep things that are very important to you?

How safe are they? Is there absolutely no way that anything could ever happen to your things?

How is our inheritance in Christ different?

What are the implications of this for your daily life?

What do these verses (4and5) tell us about God?

How can this lead us to rejoice in the face of struggles and trials?

What does this passage say about the purpose of trials?

How does knowing why we face trials help us in the midst of those trials?

How can this change our perspective on the struggles we see in the world around us?

What are some trials you are facing right now? Ask God to show you how he is at work in those trials.

What or who do you tend to set your hope on?

We set our hopes on all sorts of things, how do you respond when those things fail?

Why do you think Peter says we should set our hope on the grace we will receive?

What do you think Peter means when he tells us to “be holy”?

Does holiness bring up positive or negative images for you? Why?

How can we “be holy” in a way that speaks positively to the world around us?

What would be different if that’s truly how we lived each day?

 

Prayer:

Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time. Pray together in smaller groups.

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Reason for Faith: Easter! // March 27, 2016

Suggested Prep:

  • Spend time daily with Jesus!
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements. Upcoming schedule info, Service Projects, etc.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Engage: If your group has been praying together for those you would invite to Easter, take a moment to share with each other any celebrations – invitations made (even if rejected!), invitations accepted, notable conversations, etc…

Group Discussion:

Main Takeaway: Belief in Christ is reasonable, but our strongest motivations for belief or unbelief are often personal.

Note: For the past several weeks we have been talking about a number of ways in which belief in Jesus is reasonable. But knowing that our faith is reasonable is not the same thing as actively putting our trust in Jesus. This week would be an excellent time to encourage your group to share stories about how they came to believe in Jesus. I would encourage you to come prepared to share some of your story as a way of leading to group to share their stories of coming to faith, coming back to faith, or why they find it so difficult to believe in Jesus. This may very well take up much of your time…. That’s okay!!

Ice Breaker (choose one — if you shared stories, then skip Ice Breaker):

  • What are some unpopular (non-religious) beliefs that you hold? How does it feel to believe something that is not commonly shared?
  • Think of a life defining decision that you made, How difficult was it to go to that school, or turn down that job or ask that person out? What drove you to that decision?

Discussion:

 

  • Pastor Jon said that God is a fan of hesitation. Why is this?
  • Are there areas of Christianity that make you or have made you hesitate? What are they? Note for Group Leaders: If someone has significant questions, be sure to followup with them later. Invite them to coffee or to further conversation — OR pair them up with someone else who can follow up (This is a great leadership development opportunity!)

 

    • Why is it that you personally find or found these difficulties so hard to overlook?
    • Read John 20: 24-31. Why do you think Thomas hesitated for as long as he did? In spite of the stories from all of his closest friends?
    • How does it feel to know that Jesus has a blessing for those who hesitate as well as for those who are able to believe without seeing?

 

  • Read Romans 10:9-13. Paul is talking about both belief and confession. Paul means by confession not so much listing all your favorite sins, but publicly admitting that you have put your faith in Jesus. As a result of these last few sermons, are there any ways in which you feel more empowered to publicly talk about Jesus?

 

    • Do you have lingering questions that make it difficult to publicly speak of Jesus? Or do you just need practice and courage?

 

  • How can we as a group help each other practice speaking of Jesus and cultivating courage in our lives? Note for Group Leaders: This is a GREAT time to remind them of one of the excellent results of being part of small group. When we meet together in Group, we have a safe place to practice speaking with others about Jesus. And the more practiced we get at speaking of Jesus with each other, the easier it gets to initiate these same conversations in places that feel less safe. So keep participating in Group!

 

Application Steps – consider doing one of these as a Group throughout the week. Group Leaders – I encourage you to send a mid-week reminder email if your Group has agreed to one of these:

  • Romans 10:9-10. Memorize as a Group. This was an option last week as well — if you did this one last week, practice it together… and consider focusing on it for another week to really cement.
  • Practice Speaking of Jesus. Look for an opportunity this week to talk about Jesus in a way that stretches you. Build some time into next week’s Group to share about how this went.

Prayer: Determine ahead what time you will begin prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time. Pray together in smaller groups.

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Reason for Faith: Who is Jesus? // Week 4 // March 20, 2016

Suggested Prep:

  • Spend time daily with Jesus!
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Engage / Elevate: Easter is coming! Encourage your group to jump in and serve during at Easter — and encourage them to invite others! Share with each other who you are praying will join you for Easter — and commit to praying with each other throughout the week.

Group Discussion:

Note: We know it is impossible to tackle every single one of these questions, so we have highlighted a few that we feel represent some of the most important points of this week’s study. The Bible has SO much to say about who Jesus is. Two of Jon’s points included 1. The prophecies about Jesus long before he came, and 2. The claims Jesus himself made about his identity. This week provides two different passages – one that Jon referenced and that was written 600 years before Jesus – and another that is of Jesus talking about himself. Choose one or the other as your particular focus.

For your reference as a leader, here are some additional passages that speak to Jesus’ identity that you may find helpful. John 1:1-18; Matthew 26:63-66 with Daniel 7:13-14; Colossians 1:15-20 & 2:9-10; Hebrews 1:1-8; Revelation 1:8-18 with 22:12-13 & 16

Because Jesus communicated in a cultural context that was very different from ours, some people today argue that Jesus himself never claimed to be God. Jesus’ Jewish audience understood him perfectly, however. And the reason that they killed him was for claiming to be God. (John 10:33-30; Matthew 27:62-66)

Belief in Jesus’ identity as One in Being and Co-Equal with the Father is one of the central tenets to all Scriptural Christianity – and in fact to all Scripture itself. Some great resources on Jesus include Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ; Josh McDowell’s More Than a Carpenter; and if you want a really fantastic story mixed in with your apologetics, then I HIGHLY recommend Nabeel Qureshi’s Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.

Main Takeaways:

  • It matters profoundly what we say about who Jesus is.
  • All of Scripture points to Jesus.
  • Jesus presented himself as God.
    • Ice Breaker: Who do people say you are?( Your spouse, or boss, or friend, your siblings, your parents, others).  Is what everyone says about you true or accurate? Does the source matter?
    • Who Does our Culture say Jesus is?
    • Who do you say Jesus is? Has that answer changed over time? Or How did you come to that conclusion?

 

  • Prophecy about Jesus:

 

    • Pastor Jon said that the coming of the Messiah was prophesied hundreds of years before He came. Is that important? Why or why not?
    • Read Isaiah 53: 3-12
    • What phrases in this passage clearly point to Jesus?
    • How can this passage expand your understanding of who Jesus is?
    • Is there any part of this passage that seems particularly meaningful to you? Why?

 

  • Jesus’ Statements about Jesus:

 

  • Read John 8:23-30 & 48-59
  • List all the things that these verses show that Jesus believed about himself.
  • Count the number of “I” statements that Jesus makes in these verses. (And there are many, many more such passages…) While the ultimate focus of the OT prophets was always God and obedience to God, who is Jesus making the center focus in these passages? What does this tell you about Jesus’ belief about himself? If Jesus is only a man, what would you think about him making these kinds of statements?
  • Read Exodus 3:13-14. What was the connection that Jesus’ Jewish audience immediately made to Jesus’ words?
  • Read John 3:16 out loud together.  What is eternal life? Pastor Jon said that Jesus changes those who believe in him.  Why is belief important?  Can’t Jesus change those who don’t believe?

Application questions/steps. Please consider doing one of these with your group.  

  • Knowing and Believing are related but are different. For instance you may know that your rope and harness are secured and safe, but you don’t believe it until you act and relay on it to hang off the side of a cliff.  What do you know about Jesus that you can act on this week to grow your belief?
  • The Bible has many names for Jesus. As a group think up as many as you can remember together and list them.  Have everyone choose a name/title of Jesus they don’t know or know little about and take some time to study it/look it up this week.  (For instance Jesus’ title, Lamb of God, is a direct reference to the Passover as described in Exodus. Jesus died like the lamb and his blood covers us so that death, the consequence of sin, passes over us). If you like, you can share some of your findings with each other next week.
  • As a group, consider choosing a passage of scripture to memorize for next week, perhaps one of the two listed below:

John 17:3

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Romans 10:9-10

If you declare with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Prayer:

Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time. Pray together in smaller groups.

Pray for those whom God is calling you to invite to Easter. Join Discovery in praying for boldness for God’s people — and for spiritual hunger in our city.

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Reason for Faith // Week 3 // March 13, 2016

Suggested Prep:
▪ Spend time daily with Jesus!
▪ Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
▪ Pray for your group!

  • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual
  • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them.
  • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
  • In which area of the full-circle life do you want to see God grow your group?
  • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time.
  • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time.

▪ Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. I recommend you only choose 4-5 questions, at most. You can use other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to “get through” the questions.
Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
▪ Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency! This may mean identifying your answers ahead of time.

 
Group Opening:
▪ Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)

  • Engage: Easter is still coming! Remind your group that this is a rich opportunity for praying for and inviting people to church. People come to Christ this way! If, last week, you began praying as a group for the people on each of your hearts, then be sure to continue. If you didn’t begin last week, then pass around cards and let everyone know to be thinking about who God would have them invite. Tell them to name(s) on that card, and that at the end of your discussion, you’ll all pray together for everyone’s names. Do this each week between now and Easter… And you can even add a couple of follow up weeks!

Also, Jon has written a great blog this week about Making Easter personal. There are some great ideas in there… Maybe even some that you would want to do as a group!

Note to Group Leaders — This discussion may cause some of your group members to bring up particular faith-questions. Some thoughts that may be helpful:

Bringing up questions and even doubts about the Bible is good, but don’t allow these discussions to derail your group. If someone has an honest question, don’t feel obligated to completely solve it during your small group time. Instead, offer to connect them with some resources they can investigate further. (Some good go-tos are Tim Keller’s The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism [especially Chapter 7, “You Can’t Take the Bible Literally”] and Paul Little’s Know Why You Believe:A Clear Affirmation for the Reasonableness of the Christian Faith. If you need a resource for a particular topic, let me know and I can help connect you with something appropriate. nicole@discochurch.com)

 

Don’t offer to do the research for the person asking the question. Suggest that they investigate (and offer to give them resource ideas). This boundary will help to weed out those who are just being frivolous or argumentative from those who are sincere. Those who are sincere will benefit more from their own investigation anyway. If you like, you can also encourage them to get back to the group with what they find.

 

Don’t allow some well-meaning group members to try to solve all of another member’s faith-questions right there in group. This will shut down your group’s future ability to wrestle with honest questions.

 

▪ Do feel free (if appropriate) to be transparent about your own faith-questions — and how God has helped you walk through them!

Group Discussion
Ice Breaker: Take a few minutes to share with the group the last big decision you had to make, and if you like, what decision you came to and how it worked out.

 

▪ Jon’s sermon this week addressed the question “Is the Bible Trustworthy?” What stood out to you from the sermon? Was there anything that was particularly meaningful to you? Anything that you struggled or disagreed with? Anything you really want to remember?

  • When you face a big decision in your life (the one you may have shared at the beginning), how do you approach the situation? Is reading scripture a part of that process?
  • For those of you who have turned to scripture to help resolve an issue or make a decision, share what that experience was like for you. Have you experienced God talking to you through his word?
  • Do you think it is beneficial to turn to scripture when facing smaller decisions as well? Why or why not?
  • What is the purpose of reading and applying scripture even when you don’t have a decision before you? How have you seen scripture at work in your life or in the lives of others?
  • Read 2 Peter 1:3 aloud as a group. As followers of Jesus, we believe scripture is God’s holy word, intended to teach us about who God is. What does this passage tell you about the importance of scripture in your daily life?
  • Do you believe that knowledge of God’s word can help you live a godly life? How?
  • Read Matthew 4:4 aloud as a group. What does Jesus mean by this? Who is he talking to in this passage?
  • How would your life change if you looked at scripture as spiritual food rather than as an obligation?
  • Read 2 Timothy 3. In verses 1-9 Paul describes how many people will act during the “end of days.” Does this sound at all familiar to you? Compare this with what he says in verses 10-17. Which side do you feel you fall on? (Of course this should not be a condemning question – as a leader you might admit—if it is true—to falling into the first category so that your group feels safe to be honest.)
  • In 2 Timothy 3: 14-15 Paul speaks about the power of growing up in the knowledge and understanding of God’s word. Did you have this experience? How has the presence (or lack of) a childhood built on scripture affected your development as a person and as a believer
  • What does Paul mean when he says “all scripture is God-breathed”? Do you think this means that the writers of the Bible were taking dictation from the Holy Spirit? How can we handle the tension between the words of very human writers and our divine Author?
  • Read Hebrews 4:12 aloud in the group. Have you experienced these words to be true?
  • Do you place importance on the historical and cultural significance of the different books of the Bible? Why or why not? Is it more crucial to do so at certain times than at others?
  • Have you found it helpful to memorize certain passages of scripture? Did it matter to you in those times what the historical or cultural significance of those passages were? (The point here is to get them thinking about whether scripture can be a both/and – both a text with specific historical and cultural significance and the living breathing word of God which he can use in our lives in very personal ways today.)
  • Have you ever felt the need to defend the truth of scripture to a friend, family member, or acquaintance? How did that conversation go
  • Are you prepared to have a conversation like that if it were to happen in the future? What would you say?
  • Are there passages of scripture that have been a stumbling block for you in your faith journey? If you are comfortable, share what they are and why you have taken issue with them.
  • If certain passages of scripture have given you pause, what are some steps you have taken or could take to face them? (Read books and commentaries, spoken with a pastor or trusted friend, prayer… Leaders, let them know if they want some resources, we can help connect them.)
  • Is there harm in grappling with scripture that gives you pause? Why or why not? Are there ways you can set yourself up for success or failure (prayer, talking with a believing friend)
  • What keeps you from reading God’s word on a daily basis? (tight schedules with no margin, not making it a priority, procrastination, disbelief in the relevance of an ancient text)
    How could you address these barriers? How important do you think they are to address?
  • Do you make a practice of praying before opening your Bible? If so, what do you ask of God in those moments?
  • Are there some action steps you can take to begin a habit of daily scripture study?
  • As a group, consider choosing a passage of scripture to memorize for next week, perhaps one of the two listed below:

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Prayer:
Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time.

Pray together in smaller groups, and be sure to pray for those whom God is calling each of to invite. Discovery is praying for boldness for God’s people — and for spiritual hunger in our city. Have your group be part of these prayers!

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Reason for Faith // Week 2 // Mar 7, 2016

Acts 17:22-34  

Suggested Prep:

  • Spend time daily with Jesus!
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Engage / Elevate: Easter is coming! Encourage your group to jump in and serve during at Easter — and Encourage them to invite others! Share with each other who you are praying will join you for Easter — and commit to praying with each other throughout the week.

Note to Group Leaders — This discussion may cause some of your group members to bring up particular faith-questions. Some thoughts that may be helpful:

 

  • Bringing up faith-questions is good, but don’t allow it to completely derail your group. If someone has an honest question, don’t feel obligated to completely solve it in group. Instead, offer to connect them with some resources they can investigate further. (Some good go-tos are Tim Keller’s The Reason for God or Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ. If you need a resource for a particular topic, let me know and I can help connect you with something appropriate. nicole@discochurch.com)
  • Don’t offer to do the research for the person asking the question. Suggest that they investigate (and offer to give them resource ideas). This boundary will help to weed out those who are just being frivolous or argumentative from those who are sincere. Those who are sincere will benefit more from their own investigation anyway. If you like, you can also encourage them to get back to the group with what they find.
  • Don’t allow some well-meaning group members to try to solve all of another member’s faith-questions right there in group. This will shut down your group’s future ability to wrestle with honest questions.
  • Do feel free (if appropriate) to be transparent about your own faith-questions — and how God has helped you walk through them!

Group Discussion:

  • Picture your daily travel routine, from home to work and back, running errands, visiting friends. What are the most prominent visual features along the way? (Examples: Billboards, businesses, churches, homes, trees, roads, freeways, etc.)  Do any of these things reflect the dominant beliefs of our city?  Do any of these point to deeper truths?
  • Who was Paul addressing with his sermon?  For context, read verses 16-22.  How do they respond to him?  Is this different or similar to how others have or would respond?  (Invitation to speak versus prison, etc.)
  • How did Paul begin his sermon?  What is the significance of his use of the inscription “to an unknown god” in addressing the crowd?  How might it affect his listeners to know he had taken time to observe their city and learn some things about them?
  • Paul quotes the words of Athenian poets.  Why would he do this?  How would his audience respond?
  • How does Paul describe God that differs from the Athenians’ perception of their own gods? (Refer to Greek mythology for context on this if needed.)
  • Paul states that “we are God’s offspring.”  What then, according to Paul, does this mean for us, for how we think about God?  Are there ways that we reduce God’s importance by our limited imaginations?
  • Consider your own prayers.  Do you ever feel as though you are praying to an unknown god?  Do you ever hesitate to pray because you feel the issue is not something worthy of God’s attention?  
  • Have you created lesser gods to handle your lesser concerns? What might our lesser gods be?  (Doctors, internet, ourselves, etc.)
  • Why do we try to serve a God who, according to Paul, “is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything”?  What and who does our service benefit?
  • Have someone read verses 26-28 aloud.  What is Paul describing here?  (Creation, purpose of life, etc.)  
  • Is there anything in these verses you struggle to believe/understand?  Is there anything in these verses that gives you hope/joy?
  • In verse 30, Paul says God overlooked ignorance in the past.  What does he mean?  What and how did he overlook?  Why does he no longer overlook our ignorance?  What does he require now in place of this? (Repentance…other?)
  • Have you witnessed people sneering at the gospel?  Have you ever been tempted to sneer as well?  
  • What might you do in either of these situations? Is there a right response?  A wrong one?
  • Have you witnessed people express interest in the gospel, requesting more information as some did of Paul?  Have you ever struggled with your reaction to this?  Is there a right response?  A wrong one?
  • As followers of God we are called to repent.  We are called to accountability in the awareness we will face judgment.  Are there things you need now to repent of?  What might currently be hindering your relationship with God?
  • As a group or on your own, take some time in silent prayer asking God to show you areas that need your repentance.  Consider carefully what he puts on your mind/heart, and repent.   Then thank him for his immediate forgiveness.

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time. Pray together in smaller groups.

 

  • This is also a great time to think about who God might be calling you to invite to Easter. Jon is praying for boldness for God’s people — and for spiritual hunger in our city. Have your group join him in these prayers!

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Reason for Faith // Week 1 // Feb 28, 2016

Luke 6:47-49  

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Devotions found in your “Transformed” Journal in your individual quiet time.
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Equip: An alternative to the Group Discussion below would be to take this week and not discuss the most recent sermon, but have everyone look back over the goals they set during the Transformed series and talk about how they are doing.
    • Elevate: Did you see the Service Requests in the Disco Groups Weekly email?? It would be FANTASTIC if your group could meet one of those needs!

 

Note to Group Leaders — This discussion may cause some of your group members to bring up particular faith-questions. Some thoughts that may be helpful:

 

  • Bringing up faith-questions is good, but don’t allow it to completely derail your group. If someone has an honest question, don’t feel obligated to completely solve it in group. Instead, offer to connect them with some resources they can investigate further. (Some good go-tos are Tim Keller’s The Reason for God or Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ. If you need a resource for a particular topic, let me know and I can help connect you with something appropriate. nicole@discochurch.com)
  • Don’t offer to do the research for the person asking the question. Suggest that they investigate (and offer to give them resource ideas). This boundary will help to weed out those who are just being frivolous or argumentative from those who are sincere. Those who are sincere will benefit more from their own investigation anyway. If you like, you can also encourage them to get back to the group with what they find.
  • Don’t allow some well-meaning group members to try to solve all of another member’s faith-questions right there in group. This will shut down your group’s future ability to wrestle with honest questions.
  • Do feel free (if appropriate) to be transparent about your own faith-questions — and how God has helped you walk through them!

Group Discussion:

  • Have you ever been severely impacted by really bad weather? What happened?
  • Can you think of a time when you saw a Christian (maybe yourself!) deal poorly with a person or a circumstance challenging their faith? How about a time when someone dealt well with a challenge like that? What were some of the key differences characterizing those responses? What can you learn from this?
  • What stood out to you in Jon’s sermon on Sunday?
  • Read Luke 6:47-49 aloud together.
  • What strikes you in these verses? About God? About People? Anything else?
  • In this passage, both builders had something as a foundation. In one case, though, it was just the ground. Looking back over your life, what are some foundations (solid or not…) that you have built your life on?
  • Have you ever experienced the collapse of a foundation you were building life on? Are you willing to share about that?
  • Alternatively, have you ever been struck by a storm that threatened to tear down your house, but clearly it was the foundation of your faith that kept it upright? Are you willing to share about that?
  • In verse 48, what kind of initiative and effort does that builder take in laying the foundation?
  • What could we learn from the builder’s investment in foundation-laying about the kind of investment we should make in the foundation of our faith?
  • What are some of the elements you have found to be most crucial in building up the foundation of your faith?
  • Faith that is a solid foundation for our lives is not just a vague ‘faith in faith’. Instead it has specific content. What are some of the key content elements of this faith. (Note to Group Leaders: Be ready with the key points of the gospel! Be prepared to clarify — this is a rare question when we as Group Leaders should be prepared to CORRECT if something untrue is communicated. If someone is struggling with the content of the gospel, offer to connect with them more after group)
  • In what ways would you like to grow the foundation of your faith?
  • In verse 47, what does Jesus say is the essential part of building this solid foundation?
  • Read Luke 23:8-9. In these verses, we see a clear example of Jesus refusing to answer the questions or settle the doubts of someone who was asking with wrong motives. What can we learn from Jesus’ interaction with Herod about our own questions and doubts?
  • Read James 1:5. In this verse we find a promise about a certain prayer that will always be answered. What is that prayer? What does this tell us about the primary thing we should do when we are faced with the hard questions?
  • Many questions about our faith are legitimately challenging and deserve thorough investigation. Is there a particular question or questions that you wrestle with? If so, what is a step that you can take this week to give it some honest investigation?

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time. Pray together in smaller groups.

 

  • This is also a great time to think about who God might be calling you to invite to Easter. Jon is praying for boldness for God’s people — and for spiritual hunger in our city. Have your group join him in these prayers!

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Transformed // Week 7 // Feb 21, 2016

Romans 12:1-2  

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Devotions found in your “Transformed” Journal in your individual quiet time.
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • If you ordered and are using the “Transformed” DVD talks, then:
    • Watch the first video session in full prior to your small group time.
    • Fill out the blanks in your journal for notes on the video and make any other notes that will be helpful to you.
    • You can also watch the “Tips for Hosts: Session 7” if you choose
    • Choose at least 1-2 questions for Group Discussion after the video
    • Identify your own 3 Month Vocational Health Goal.
    • Read through the “Group Opening” and “Group Discussion” sections on the following page, and identify the appropriate pieces to include in your group time.
  • If you are NOT using the DVD, then read through the following group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Embrace!: This week is our LAST week of the Transformed series. That means next week could be a GREAT week for your group to do something fun together. Game night, anyone? Bowling?… Or what about a group movie night to go see “Risen” together?? I’m actually not much of a Christian movie kinda girl… but this one sounds intriguing as a good leadup to Easter … (Roger Ebert’s review said: In scale, intelligence and production values, Risen is a rare unabashedly Christian epic that can hold its own with the Biblical spectaculars of yesteryear)
    • Equip: An alternative to the above idea would be to take next week and not discuss the most recent sermon, but have everyone look back over the goals they set during the Transformed series and talk about how they are doing.
    • Elevate: Did you see the Service Requests in the Disco Groups Weekly email?? It would be FANTASTIC if your group could meet one of those needs!

Group Discussion (esp for those NOT using the DVD):

  • Read Romans 12:1-2 & 1 Samuel 17:1-52 aloud together.
  • What strikes you in these verses? About God? About People? Anything else?
  • What stood out to you in Jon’s sermon on Sunday?
  • Share with your group, if you choose: Jon’s sermon, for this week of the “Transformed” series, was about becoming faithful, so that we can grow in our Vocational Health. We’re not using the DVD in our Group so that we can still have plenty of time to share… but in the DVD that some groups are using, Rick Warren gave the following principles for growing our vocational health:
    • Pass around this handout
    • You can either fill out the answers ahead of time for them… or read them the answers from pg 224 of your journal for them to fill in.
  • Walk your group through the Discussion Questions in your journal.
  • Give your Group Members a couple minutes of reflection time at the end of your group to identify their 3-month Vocational Health Goals. If they don’t have a journal, just encourage them to use notepaper. Encourage them to share, if they are comfortable. Share yours to model transparency.
  • If you have time, you can follow up by asking your group how they are doing with all of their other 3-month goals they identified in recent weeks.

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

 

  • Pray together in smaller groups. Share requests and also pray for each other’s 3-month Goals!

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Transformed //Week 6 //Feb 14, 2016

Romans 12:1-2  

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Devotions found in your “Transformed” Journal in your individual quiet time. The Devotions for this week begin on page 164.
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • If you ordered and are using the “Transformed” DVD talks, then:
    • Watch the first video session in full prior to your small group time.
    • Fill out the blanks in your journal on pages 158-160 and make any other notes that will be helpful to you.
    • You can also watch the “Tips for Hosts: Session6” if you choose
    • Choose at least 1-2 questions from pg 161 for Group Discussion after the video
    • Identify your own 3 Month Financial Health Goal on pg 162.
    • Read through the “Group Opening” and “Group Discussion” sections on the following page, and identify the appropriate pieces to include in your group time.
  • If you are NOT using the DVD, then read through the following group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Equip: Last weekend was a great time, gathering together with others invested in Groups… But already the time has flown by so quickly that I imagine many of us have already moved on and forgotten the things God was teaching us. Take a moment — either alone or with anyone else from your group who attended — to remind yourself of the things that stood out to you from the weekend. And then set a small goal for one way that you want to help your group take its next step forward.

Group Discussion (esp for those NOT using the DVD):

  • Read Romans 12:1-2 & Luke 16:1-13 aloud together.
  • What strikes you in these verses? About God? About People? Anything else?
  • What stood out to you in Jon’s sermon on Sunday?
  • Share with your group, if you choose: Jon’s sermon, for this week of the “Transformed” series, was about becoming faithful, so that we can grow in our Financial Health. We’re not using the DVD in our Group so that we can still have plenty of time to share… but in the DVD that some groups are using, Rick Warren gave the following principles for growing our financial health:
    • Pass around this handout
    • You can either fill out the answers ahead of time for them… or read them the answers from pg 224 of your journal for them to fill in.
  • Walk your group through the Discussion Questions on pg 161 in your journal.
  • Give your Group Members a couple minutes of reflection time at the end of your group to identify their 3-month Financial Health Goals (pg 162). If they don’t have a journal, just encourage them to use notepaper. Encourage them to share, if they are comfortable. Share yours to model transparency.
  • If you have time, you can follow up by asking your group how they are doing with their 3-month Spiritual, Physical, Mental, Emotional or Relational Health they identified in recent weeks.

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

 

  • Pray together in smaller groups. Share requests and also pray for each other’s 3-month Goals!

[click here for a printable copy]

 


 

 

“Transformed” // Week 5 // Feb 7, 2016

Romans 12:1-2  1 Peter 4:8

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Devotions found in your “Transformed” Journal in your individual quiet time. The Devotions for this week begin on page 136.
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • If you ordered and are using the “Transformed” DVD talks, then:
    • Watch the first video session in full prior to your small group time.
    • Fill out the blanks in your journal on pages 126-130 and make any other notes that will be helpful to you.
    • You can also watch the “Tips for Hosts: Session 5” if you choose
    • Choose at least 1-2 questions from pg 132 for Group Discussion after the video
    • Identify your own 3 Month Mental Health Goal on pg 133.
    • Read through the “Group Opening” and “Group Discussion” sections on the following page, and identify the appropriate pieces to include in your group time.
  • If you are NOT using the DVD, then read through the following group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Embrace: This week’s focus is all about the importance of building healthy relationships.  Your Discovery Group is a natural place for developing those kinds of friendships — and a great way to grow a friendship is through playing and laughing together. If you haven’t already, this is a great time to begin planning to do something together just for the fun of it. This could be an outing or as simple as a game night. You could even celebrate winter birthdays in your group. The week after the Transformed series finishes (1st non-Transformed sermon on 2/28) could be a great time to just kick back and have fun together! Please let your Group Coach know how your group ends up playing together so we can share your great ideas with other group leaders!

Group Discussion (esp for those NOT using the DVD):

  • Read Romans 12:1-2 & 1 Peter 4:8 aloud together.
  • What strikes you in these verses? About God? About People? Anything else?
  • What stood out to you in Jon’s sermon on Sunday?
  • Share with your group, if you choose: Jon’s sermon, for this week of the “Transformed” series, was about loving intentionally, so that we can grow in our Relational Health. We’re not using the DVD in our Group so that we can still have plenty of time to share… but in the DVD that some groups are using, Rick Warren gave the following principles for building healthy friendships:
    • Pass around this handout
    • You can either fill out the answers ahead of time for them… or read them the answers from pg 224 of your journal for them to fill in.
  • Walk your group through the Discussion Questions on pg 132 in your journal.
  • Give your Group Members a couple minutes of reflection time at the end of your group to identify their 3-month Relational Health Goals (pg 133). If they don’t have a journal, just encourage them to use notepaper. Encourage them to share, if they are comfortable. Share yours to model transparency.
  • If you have time, you can follow up by asking your group how they are doing with their 3-month Spiritual, Physical, Mental &/or Emotional Health they identified in recent weeks.

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

 

  • Pray together in smaller groups. Share requests and also pray for each other’s 3-month Goals!

[click here for a printable copy]


 

“Transformed” // Week 4  // January 31, 2016

Romans 12:1-2  2 Samuel 12:15-25  Matthew 11:28

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Devotions found in your “Transformed” Journal in your individual quiet time. The Devotions for this week begin on page 104.
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • If you ordered and are using the “Transformed” DVD talks, then:
    • Watch the fourth video session in full prior to your small group time.
    • Fill out the blanks in your journal on pages 96-98 and make any other notes that will be helpful to you.
    • You can also watch the “Tips for Hosts: Session 4” if you choose
    • Choose at least 1-2 questions from pg 99 for Group Discussion after the video
    • Identify your own 3 Month Emotional Health Goal on pg 100.
    • Read through the “Group Opening” and “Group Discussion” sections on the following page, and identify the appropriate pieces to include in your group time.
  • If you are NOT using the DVD, then read through the following group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

[click here for a printable copy]


 

“Transformed” // Week 3 // January 24, 2016

Romans 12:1-2  James 1:14-15

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Devotions found in your “Transformed” Journal in your individual quiet time. The Devotions for this week begin on page 74.
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • If you ordered and are using the “Transformed” DVD talks, then:
    • Watch the first video session in full prior to your small group time.
    • Fill out the blanks in your journal on pages 66-69 and make any other notes that will be helpful to you.
    • You can also watch the “Tips for Hosts: Session 3” if you choose
    • Choose at least 1-2 questions from pg 70 for Group Discussion after the video
    • Identify your own 3 Month Mental Health Goal on pg 71.
    • Read through the “Group Opening” and “Group Discussion” sections on the following page, and identify the appropriate pieces to include in your group time.
  • If you are NOT using the DVD, then read through the following group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Elevate (again!): Our Disco Group Leaders’ Retreat is coming up VERY quickly (Feb 5-6: RSVP here). We want you to include anyone whom God may be calling to a greater vision for Groups. This may include your apprentice leader, your hosts, the people who have signed up to help bring snacks! It may be appropriate in some groups to announce the Retreat to the entire Group and see who is interested… or in other Groups, it may be best to extend some specific individual invitations. Your choice!

Group Discussion (esp for those NOT using the DVD):

  • Read Romans 12:1-2 & James 1:14-15 aloud together.
  • What strikes you in these verses? About God? About People? Anything else?
  • What stood out to you in Jon’s sermon on Sunday?
  • Share with your group, if you choose: Jon’s sermon, for this week of the “Transformed” series, was about changing the way that we think, so that we can grow in our Mental Health. We’re not using the DVD in our Group so that we can still have plenty of time to share… but in the DVD that some groups are using, Rick Warren gave the following 5 Habits for a Healthy Mind:
    • Pass around this handout
    • You can either fill out the answers ahead of time for them… or read them the answers from pg 224 of your journal for them to fill in.
  • Walk your group through the Discussion Questions on pg 70 in your journal.
  • Give your Group Members a couple minutes of reflection time at the end of your group to identify their 3-month Mental Health Goals (pg 71). If they don’t have a journal, just encourage them to use notepaper. Encourage them to share, if they are comfortable. Share yours to model transparency.
  • If you have time, you can follow up by asking your group how they are doing with their 3-month Spiritual Health and/or Physical Health goals they identified in the last two weeks.

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

 

  • Pray together in smaller groups. Share requests and also pray for each other’s 3-month Spiritual, Physical & Mental Health Goals!

[click here for a printable copy]


 

“Transformed” // Week 2  // January 17, 2016
Psalm 23

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Devotions found in your “Transformed” Journal in your individual quiet time. The Devotions for this week begin on page 44.
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • If you ordered and are using the “Transformed” DVD talks, then:
    • Watch the first video session in full prior to your small group time.
    • Fill out the blanks in your journal on pages 36-38 and make any other notes that will be helpful to you.
    • You can also watch the “Tips for Hosts: Session 2” if you choose
    • Choose at least 1-2 questions from pg 39 for Group Discussion after the video
    • Identify your own 3 Month Physical Health Goal on pg 40.
    • Read through the “Group Opening” and “Group Discussion” sections on the following page, and identify the appropriate pieces to include in your group time.
  • If you are NOT using the DVD, then read through the following group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

[click here for a printable copy]


 

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Elevate: Our Disco Group Leaders’ Retreat is coming up VERY quickly (Feb 5-6: RSVP here). We want you to include anyone whom God may be calling to a greater vision for Groups. This may include your apprentice leader, your hosts, the people who have signed up to help bring snacks! It may be appropriate in some groups to announce the Retreat to the entire Group and see who is interested… or in other Groups, it may be best to extend some specific individual invitations. Your choice!

Group Discussion (esp for those NOT using the DVD):

  • Read Psalm 23 aloud together.
  • What strikes you in this passage? About God? About People? Anything else?
  • What stood out to you in Jon’s sermon on Sunday?
  • Share with your group, if you choose: Jon’s sermon, for this week of the “Transformed” series, was about how to deal with our stress, so that we can grow in our Physical Health. We’re not using the DVD in our Group so that we can still have plenty of time to share… but in the DVD that some groups are using, Rick Warren gave the following 6 Motivators for investing in Physical Health:
    • Pass around this handout
    • You can either fill out the answers ahead of time for them… or read them the answers from pg 224 of your journal for them to fill in.
  • Walk your group through the Discussion Questions on pg 39 in your journal.
  • Give your Group Members a couple minutes of reflection time at the end of your group to identify their 3-month Physical Health Goals (pg 40). If they don’t have a journal, just encourage them to use notepaper. Encourage them to share, if they are comfortable. Share yours to model transparency.
  • If you have time, you can follow up by asking your group how they are doing with their 3-month Spiritual Health goal they identified last week.

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

 

  • Pray together in smaller groups. Share requests and also pray for each other’s 3-month Spiritual and Physical Health Goals!

 

“Transformed” // Week 1 // January 10, 2016

Luke 15:11-24

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Devotions found in your “Transformed” Journal in your individual quiet time. The Devotions for this week begin on page 14.
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • If you ordered and are using the “Transformed” DVD talks, then:
    • Watch the first video session in full prior to your small group time.
    • Fill out the blanks in your journal on pages 6-8 and make any other notes that will be helpful to you.
    • You can also watch the “Tips for Hosts: Session 1” if you choose
    • Choose at least 1-2 questions from pg 9 for Group Discussion after the video
    • Identify your own 3 Month Spiritual Health Goal on pg 10. Give your Group Members reflection time at the end of your group to identify their own Spiritual Health Goal as well. Encourage them to share, if they are comfortable. Share yours to model transparency.
  • If you are NOT using the DVD, then read through the following group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Embrace: Many of you have new people who joined your group last week or this week. Get to know them! Perhaps, as you have everyone give introductions, have them also share what it is that brought them to Group and what they hope to see God do through this Transformed study. This is also a great time to share with everyone (and even to remind them in the case of a group that has NOT changed):
    • The Purpose of Disco Groups: (The same as the Purpose of Discovery!) To share Christ with compassion and to develop followers fully devoted to Christ. Disco Groups are our very best place to do that — since we get to build real relationships with people who are following Jesus, we get to explore Jesus and our questions in a safe environment where we can be known and heard, and we get to take steps together of praying for and serving the world around us.
    • Some Guidelines for Disco Groups: Use the ones from the Transformed Journal, on page 216-217. Invite any of your Group Members who also have a Journal to read them aloud for the Group. Take questions & discuss. Note: This really is important! I forgot this step with newcomers we had in our group last week, and at one point in the evening found myself very much wishing I had remembered! It didn’t go too badly, but I won’t make that mistake again!

Group Discussion (esp for those NOT using the DVD):

  • Read Luke 15:11-24 aloud together.
  • What strikes you in this passage? About God? About People? Anything else?
  • What stood out to you in Jon’s sermon on Sunday?
  • Share with your group: Jon’s sermon, for this first part of the “Transformed” series, was generally about how to move closer to God. We’re not using the DVD in our Group so that we can still have plenty of time to share… but in the DVD that some groups are using, Rick Warren gave the following 7 Habits for Spiritual Growth:
    • Pass around this handout
    • You can either fill out the answers ahead of time for them… or read them the answers from pg 224 of your journal for them to fill in.
  • Walk your group through the Discussion Questions on pg 9 in your journal.
  • Gospel Opportunity!! Share with your group: This series is about growing closer to God. But in order for us to grow, there has to be life first. The Bible says that if we are not spiritually alive in Christ, then we are spiritually dead. If you have never crossed the line to say “yes” to Jesus, and to ask him clean you from your sin and to make you alive with his life, then in just a minute when we think about our Spiritual Health goals, let that be your moment to step into Jesus’ life today! And if you take that step today, I’d love for you to let me or someone else in the group know so we can walk with you!
  • Give your Group Members a couple minutes of reflection time at the end of your group to identify their 3-month Spiritual Health Goals (pg 10). If they don’t have a journal, just encourage them to use notepaper. Encourage them to share, if they are comfortable. Share yours to model transparency.

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

 

  • Pray together in smaller groups. Share requests and also pray for each other’s 3-month Spiritual Health Goal!

[click here for a printable copy]

 


 

HELP! // Week Two // 12.6.15

Ruth 2-4

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Reflection in your individual quiet time
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Read through the group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Engage / Embrace: In our passage this week & last, Naomi & Ruth are finding hope in hopelessness as they are welcomed in with people who are living vibrant community. We are rapidly approaching the holiday season — and many of you are planning service projects and/or holiday celebrations as a group. Talk with your group about how you could use those service projects or celebrations as an opportunity to invite some others outside of the group to join you. People uncertain about stepping into a church or small group may be much more responsive to joining for a service project or Christmas party. Encourage everyone to extend an invitation — and pray together for those invited.

Group Discussion:

 

  • Has there been a time in your life you have experienced unexpected, abundant compassion and grace? If so, briefly share with your group.
  • What stood out to you in the sermon?
  • Read Ruth 2-4 aloud in your group. What is happening in these chapters?

 

  • Read Ruth 2:8 aloud once more. Why might it be surprising that Boaz treats Ruth in such a manner? What do we see about Boaz in these passages that makes it less surprising?
  • Ruth is a Moabite, which means she is a foreigner to Boaz. What does God say about interacting with foreigners? (Direct group to Leviticus 19:33-34 for a nudge)
  • From verses 2:11-12, why does Ruth find favor in the eyes of Boaz?
  • Clearly Ruth has gained a respectable reputation. In the middle of the pain and loss she has experienced, what kinds of choices do you think she has been making in order to become this woman who is worthy of respect? What kinds of similar choices are required of us in order to walk through pain well?
  • How do you think Ruth felt as she returned home to Naomi with a full belly and arms full of barley and extra food? How might Boaz’ compassion have been part of God’s healing process for these women?
  • In Chapter 3, What is Naomi asking Ruth to do? What does this tell you about healing that might be happening in Naomi’s heart?
  • Ruth declares to Boaz that he should “spread his mantle” over her; in other words, she appeals to tradition that he should marry her (as he is next of kin). What stands out to you about the way Boaz responds?
  • Encourage one person from the group to provide a synopsis of what occurs in Chapter 4.
  • Why is Boaz in such a hurry to settle the matter of Ruth’s hand and Elimelech’s land? What does this tell us about his character? Can you learn anything about the character of God from his actions?
  • Why is the birth of Obed important?
  • What does the end of the book tell you about the power of God’s redemption in our lives?
  • Have you experienced God’s redemption of your story? Would you be willing to share?
  • Think about the story of Ruth (and Naomi) as a whole. What has stuck out to you the most? Were you challenged by anything in particular?

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

 

  • Pray together in smaller groups. Share requests and have your group also pray for those within Discovery and our community who are in seasons of pain and hopelessness. Pray about how your group can extend invitations to those people this Christmas season!

[click here for printable]
[link to Daily Reflections]


 

Ruth Week One 11.29.15

Ruth 1

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Reflection in your individual quiet time
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Read through the group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Engage / Embrace: In our passage this week & next, Naomi & Ruth are going to find hope in hopelessness as they are welcomed in with people who are living vibrant community. We are rapidly approaching the holiday season — and many of you are planning service projects and/or holiday celebrations as a group. Talk with your group about how you could use those service projects or celebrations as an opportunity to invite some others outside of the group to join you. People uncertain about stepping into a church or small group may be much more responsive to joining for a service project or Christmas party. Encourage everyone to extend an invitation — and pray together for those invited.

Group Discussion:

  • Think of a time you were let down or felt cheated. It could range from a small or a large disappointment or unmet expectation.  Share an experience with the group.
  • Read through Ruth 1 aloud in your group.
  • What does this passage tell us about Naomi’s story? What themes, if any, do you notice?
  • The story doesn’t give details about how her husband and sons die. Regardless, what emotions do you think Naomi felt due to these events?  What questions do you think she had?
  • Why does Naomi encourage her daughters-in-law to leave her?  What about pain causes us to try to isolate ourselves?
  • Why is it hard to be with someone you know is in pain? What are the pressures? Describe an example you’ve experienced if you’re willing.
  • When we encounter pain, we have a choice to make about how we view reality, ourselves, those around us, and God in light of our pain. What choices do you see Naomi make about these things out of her pain? Were they the right ones?
  • The Enemy wants to use pain to keep us from God and from others. What are some of the lies that pain can lead us to believe?  Do you see any that Naomi has bought into from this passage?
  • A chapter of our lives involving pain (or joy) is another opportunity for God to shape us, teach us, love us in unique ways, and write our story. What story does he write in the lives of Naomi and Ruth through their pain?  What chapter has He written in your life using pain?  What has He shown you about Himself in a time of hurt?
  • Naomi’s pain left her without hope. Pain often does that. How does Christ offer us hope despite any circumstance?
  • Naomi made a choice to bless her daughters-in-law instead of only focusing on her despair. She then let Ruth into her pain and journey. Why was that important?  What was the eventual outcome (if you read or know the rest of the book)?
  • What are some truths about God and His character that you can commit to memory so that when pain comes you can still see where He is at work, continue moving toward Him, and be used amidst it to bless others?
  • If you are in a season of pain, what step is God calling you to take this week to move forward with him into hope? … Or if you are not currently in a season of pain, whom in your life might God be calling you to walk alongside in their pain? What is one step you can take this week to come alongside that person?

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

 

  • Pray together in smaller groups. Share requests and have your group also pray for those within Discovery and our community who are in seasons of pain and hopelessness. Pray about how your group can extend invitations to those people this Christmas season!

[click here for a printable copy]
[link to Daily Reflections]


 

Ten Pennies Week Four // 11.22.15

Philippians 4:4-14,17

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Reflection in your individual quiet time
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Read through the group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Elevate: This Sunday was our ALL IN Missions service — and we all had a unique response opportunity to take new steps into God’s call to Mission. Take a moment to ask your group if there was anything that stood out to them during that response time — or if anyone is willing to share what God seemed to be speaking to them during that time. Are there ways that you can support each other as you move forward into these steps of response?

Group Discussion:

  • Have you ever been tempted or drawn in by a “get rich quick” scheme? What made it convincing/appealing? If you tried it, how did it work out?
  • Have one person, or several taking turns, read through Philippians 4:4-17 aloud.
  • As a group, list items, actions, and concepts typically associated with the word “rich”, e.g., money, success. Now look through the passage again with “riches” in mind. Which words/phrases stand out to you? What might this passage have to say about true wealth?
  • We know that Paul was in prison as he wrote this letter to the Church at Philippi. How does this knowledge affect your reading of the passage?
  • Why is Paul writing this letter, to whom? What is significant about his relationship with the Philippians? (Many possible responses: They are supporting Paul’s mission financially. They are an encouragement to him. He is an encouragement to them, etc.)
  • Rejoice is defined by merriam-webster.com as “to feel or show joy or happiness.” Typically we think of these as spontaneous reactions to life circumstances. I show happiness because I’m happy. I’m happy because good things happened. But Paul didn’t say to rejoice when you feel good. Why do you think he repeated this word in verse 4. What does Paul say we have to rejoice about? How is rejoicing similar to showing gratitude? How might you incorporate rejoicing into your daily life.
  • In verse 6, Paul exhorts the Philippians to “not be anxious about anything.” How does anxiety hinder our ability to show gratitude toward God and others? How does it hinder our ability to be generous?
  • What does it mean for the peace of God to “transcend all understanding”?
  • Read Ecclesiastes 5:10. How does love of money affect our mission?
  • Paul says to think of anything that is excellent or praiseworthy. How does our thought-life affect our ability to pursue God’s mission for our lives and for others?
  • Paul writes in verse 11 that he has “learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” What do you think the secret is? Knowing this, how within your reach is the type of contentment Paul describes?
  • Think back over this sermon series. (If there is time and group members have their prior sermon notes with them, you can have people give quick summaries, list the key points, read the main scripture passage, or give the sermon title.) Has any specific theme, scripture, word/phrase, stuck out to you, either once, or recurring. What might God be saying to you individually? What do you think God is saying to our church? How can you individually, and we as a small group be an intentional part of God’s mission at Discovery?
  • What is your next step? What is our next step?

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

 

  • Pray together in smaller groups. Share requests and have your group also pray for Discovery’s movement into God’s call into missions in the world. If you would like to encourage them to pray through a part of this week’s Missions Prayer Guide, you can access that here: http://www.discochurch.com/pray/

[click here for a printable copy]

[daily reflections]


 

Ten Pennies Week Three // 11.15.15

2 Corinthians 9:6-11

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Reflection in your individual quiet time
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Read through the group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Engage: We are rapidly approaching the holiday season — and many of you are planning service projects and/or holiday celebrations as a group. Talk with your group about how you could use those service projects or celebrations as an opportunity to invite some others outside of the group to join you. People uncertain about stepping into a church or small group may be much more responsive to joining for a service project or Christmas party. Encourage everyone to extend an invitation — and pray together for those invited.

Group Discussion:

  • What is an excellent gift you have received? What made it great?  
  • Have you ever given a gift out of obligation?  Or received one from someone who felt they had to give?  What are those experiences like?
  • What stood out to you in the sermon?
  • Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 & 9:6-14 aloud together.
  • Context: In Chapters 8 & 9, Paul is asking the Corinthians to put their money where their mouth is. They had said they wanted to give to the impoverished & persecuted church in Jerusalem. A group is being assembled from various, distant churches to take the collection to the Jerusalem church. Paul is asking the Corinthians to prepare the collection ahead of time so they are ready.
  • What strikes you in this passage? About God? About people? About anything else?
  • Read 2 Cor 8:9 again. What are some of the specific riches that you have received as a result of Christ’s poverty for us? How does this demonstrate God’s generosity to us? Why was God so generous to us? How does understanding God’s generosity to us help us understand His call to us to be generous?
  • The Gentile churches in this passage were getting ready to be the miracle for the Jerusalem churches. Have you had someone be God’s miracle for you? Would you be game to share that story? What kind of response did that experience prompt in you?
  • Read 2 Cor 9:6. Jon said the farmer thinks of the harvest first. What is the harvest Jesus is looking for? What kind of harvest are you looking for? What kinds of things can you sow in order to reap that harvest?
  • 2 Cor 9:7 speaks about giving cheerfully or joyfully. What are some of the things that steal your joy with respect to giving? What steps can you take to get that joy?
  • One of the steps Jon mentioned to being able to give with joy is Intentionality. In these passages, Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to give intentionally as well. What are some of the ways you have been successful in building intentionality into your giving?
  • Are there any intentional steps you can take to build more margin for God’s kingdom?
  • On Sunday, we received Commitment Cards that we will have opportunity to turn in this coming Sunday, 11/22. What kind of initial emotional response do you have when presented with that kind of opportunity? Why do you think you have that kind of response?
  • Are there any specific steps of action to which God is calling you? Is there any way that our group can pray for you in that?

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

 

  • Pray together in smaller groups. Share requests and have your group also pray for the missions concerns shared at church. If you would like to encourage them to pray through a part of this week’s Missions Prayer Guide for the persecuted church, you can access that here: http://www.discochurch.com/pray/

[click here] for a printable copy


 

Ten Pennies Week Two // 11.8.15

Luke 12:13-40

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Reflection in your individual quiet time
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Read through the group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements.
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Equip: This week’s Discussion follows a different style — encouraging your group members to reflect on the passage and pull out truths on their own before sharing with the group. This is an intentional effort to not just identify those truths, but also to teach your group members one way to study the Bible for themselves. This week, those who are working through the Individual Daily Reflections will also be practicing this same means of engaging the Bible. Let your group know this so they can be encouraged to sign up to receive the Reflections… which will also give them access to the Missions Prayer Guide (which you are also encouraged to have your group use during prayer time tonight).

Group Discussion:

  • Share a memory about trying to use something that was broken — or about trying to fix something that was broken.
  • What stood out to you in the sermon?
  • If at all possible, provide your group with copies of the Luke 12:13-40 passage so that they can write on it. Click here for a printable copy: 
  • Have everyone read the passage on their own and mark every part that shows them something about God. Give them about 5 minutes (or whatever appropriate).
  • Have everyone go back through the passage again, this time marking everything you see that teaches something about the way God sees us. Give them about 5 minutes.
  • One more time, have everyone, on their own, go through the passage and mark the part that most stands out to them. Have them take a moment to ask God what he is saying to them — and have them write that down.
  • Tell your group that the exercises they have just done are one way that they can engage with almost any passage in the Bible to help them hear God through it. Invite them to share their observations about God and about us — and to share the part of the passage that most stands out to them personally. Invite any who are game to share what they think God might be wanting to say to them (but also let them know that if they want to keep that part personal, that is COMPLETELY fine).
  • In v. 14-34, Jesus teaches both some truths about God’s loving provision for those to whom God is their heavenly Father — and about his opposition to those who ignore him. The Bible is clear that the only people whom the Father counts as his children are those who love & believe Jesus. In what ways could a deep belief of these truths lead you to a greater commitment to gospel conversations — and to investing in the growth of God’s family around the world? (Note to leaders: you may encounter some confusion on this question due to the popular cultural belief that everyone is a child of God. Be prepared with the gospel — the way to become a child of God through belief in Jesus. See John 1:10-14, 3:3-18, & 8:42 for more help. If anyone shows particular confusion, you may want to invite them to talk with you individually after group.)
  • On Sunday, we heard some stories about our brothers & sisters in Christ who are suffering terribly for their faith — And many of those with whom Jesus originally shared these truths also suffered terribly for their faith in him. How do you think the truths of this passage would speak to them? What would they notice in this passage?
  • We face nothing like the persecution of so many believers in the world today. But we do face challenges – and it is our responses to smaller challenges that prepare us to respond faithfully in great challenges, such as persecution. On which truths of this passage could you reflect to help you to be faithful through challenges that you face?

Prayer:

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time
  • Pray together in smaller groups. Share requests and have your group also pray for the persecuted church. If you would like to encourage them to pray through a part of this week’s Missions Prayer Guide for the persecuted church, you can access that here: http://www.discochurch.com/pray/

CLICK HERE for a printable copy


 

Ten Pennies Week One // 11.1.15

Luke 19:11-27

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Reflection in your individual quiet time
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? How can you draw that out of them? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Read through the group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements…. both church-wide (see above) and group specific (ie. Service Project, “Fun”, etc)
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week. Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Elevate: This week’s passage calls us to take whatever God has given us and put it to work for his purposes. Brainstorm together some of the gifts, skills and passions you have been entrusted with as a group (rather than just as individuals). Use this list to help you identify the unique place where God may be calling your group to invest together in service (and if you come up with the gifts & passions, but don’t know of a place, then contact Nicole and she’ll help you with some ideas!) Consider whether God may call your group to something as bold as a Mission Trip together — and then plan to come to the Missions Lunch on Sunday 11/22.

Group Discussion:

  • When you were a kid, were you ever left in charge when your parents left? Or did you have a sibling left in charge? Share a story about how that could go.
  • Read Luke 19:11-27 aloud together.
  • Context: The passage begins with the phrase, ”While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, Because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the Kingdom of God was going to appear at once.” Looking back to the beginning of Chapter 19 we can see that we are still in Zacchaeus’ house. It may be worthwhile to briefly review the Zacchaeus story.
  • How does knowing Zacchaeus is in the audience help us to understand this story?
  • How do you think Zacchaeus reacted to this story?
  • The action of the parable is set in motion when the king distributes gifts to his servants. What gifts has God distributed to you?
  • How does viewing your skills, abilities, possessions and resources as a trust from God cause you to think and act differently?
  • In the parable, the king has definite expectations for the servants who receive these gifts from the king. Does God, from whom we have received our very existence, have expectations for us? If so, what are they? Are you able to meet them? [Leaders’ Note: Be ready with the gospel if your group does not arrive there on their own. We know God’s expectations for us because they are laid out in the Bible. Ultimately they culminate in the commands: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mtthw 22:37, 39. Our insistence on loving ourselves most however makes us say “We don’t want God as our king” just like the subjects in this parable. That rebellion makes us enemies deserving of punishment, just like the subjects in the parable. Jesus, however, took our place and received that enemy-punishment, undeserved — so that we, when we trust in him, can – undeserved – receive Jesus’ power to live a new kind of life in line with God’s expectations. See 2 Cor 5:21)
  • What sets the third servant’s report apart from the reports of the first two slaves?
  • What sort of thoughts could have motivated the third servant to respond in the way that he did?
  • When confronted by the returning master, the third servant paints a fearful picture of his master. Do you think this is an accurate portrayal of God?
  • How can our untrue ideas about God affect how we relate to God?
  • Can you think of any untrue or immature ideas about God that you had to drop our grow out of? Are there any that you still find yourself falling into?
  • In the end, it is our perspective of God’s character that will determine the way we invest the gifts he gives us. What is one step you can take this week to more accurately understand God’s character?
  • What are some things you can do this week to develop the gifts God has entrusted into your care?

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

 

  • Take time to share prayer requests and pray together in smaller groups.

[click here for printable copy]


 

Simplify Week 6 // 10.25.15

Philippians 1:21-25, 27

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Reflection in your individual quiet time
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? How can you draw that out of them? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Read through the group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements…. both church-wide (see above) and group specific (ie. Service Project, “Fun”, etc)
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week — some weeks it may be more appropriate to incorporate these at the end, rather than the beginning).

Equip: This week’s discussion highlights the purpose & calling of every follower of Jesus. The extent to which we live out that purpose & calling will be directly related to our personal time with Jesus. Use this opportunity to invite your group members to sign up to receive the Daily Individual Reflections to use in their personal times with Jesus. For some of them, this will be the first time they have practiced a personal time with Jesus — and that will be all win!! Consider providing your group with a signup sheet — and then emailing a photo of that signup sheet to Nicole, and we’ll make sure they start receiving the reflections.

Group Discussion:

  • What is the most fulfilling job you’ve ever had? What parts made it fulfilling?● What stood out to you in the sermon?● Read Philippians 1:21-25, 27 aloud together.● What stands out to you in this passage? What is Paul struggling with?● What do you think Paul means when he talks about “fruitful labor”?● What does fruitful labor look like where you are right now?● When it comes to work, scripture is clear that we are to work and to do it for God’s glory. But there is nothing that specifically tells us what to do. And if we are followers of Jesus, whatever work we do we can do in the freedom of Christ because he has already accepted us through his sacrifice, we have nothing to prove. Sometimes we can become paralyzed by the question “what is God’s will for my life?” yet scripture is very clear about what God’s will is, to be disciples who are making disciples of Jesus.
  • How would you describe a life that is “worthy of the gospel”? This may require a review of the gospel – be prepared to share and explain!● Read Matthew 28:18-20. What are we all called to do as followers of Christ? In light of the previous few questions, how do you or could you live that out in the workplace?● What could you be doing differently to live a life “worthy of the gospel”?● What would be different in your workplace if more people were living lives that reflected the love and grace of Christ, striving side by side as Paul stated in the Philippians passage.?● What would you say you are passionate about? What do you think others would say if asked this question about you?● What types of things do you like to do?● If you could do anything what would you do?● Considering this where do you think the best place for you to live a life worthy of the gospel might be? What steps is God calling you to take to fully live this out?

Prayer:

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time
  • Take time to share prayer requests and pray together in smaller groups. Encourage your group to take time thanking God for the gift of friendship and for each other!

CLICK HERE for a printable copy
LINK to Daily Reflections

 


 

 

Simplify Week 5 // 10.18.15

Friendship

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Reflection in your individual quiet time
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? How can you draw that out of them? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Read through the group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

 Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements…. both church-wide (see email) and group specific (ie. Service Project, “Fun”, etc)
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week! Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Embrace: This week’s study provides a great picture of the importance of friendships with other believers.  Your Discovery Group is a natural place for developing those kinds of friendships — and a great way to grow a friendship is through playing and laughing together. If you haven’t already, this is a great time to begin planning to do something together just for the fun of it. This could be a Thanksgiving or Christmas party, an outing or as simple as a game night. Please let Nicole or your Group Coach know how your group ends up playing together so we can share your great ideas with other group leaders!

Group Discussion:

  • What is your favorite fictional friendship? Why?
  • What stood out to you in the sermon?
  • What is your definition of a friend?
  • Read 1 Sam 19:1-7 & 18:1-5 aloud together. What stands out to you in this passage? What is surprising to you?
  • Who is Jonathan, and why does his position make his friendship with David remarkable?
  • What is the significance of Jonathan giving David his robe and armor?
  • Have you ever experienced a deeply intimate friendship? Share with each other a little bit about what that is/was like.
  • Does our culture encourage this kind of friendship?
  • What purposes do you think God accomplished through David & Jonathan’s friendship?
  • What roadblocks do you see preventing you from having friendships like this?
  • Read Acts 9:22-28 aloud together. What stands out for you in this passage?
  • Why were the disciples afraid of Saul (later known as Paul)? Do you think the disciples would have trusted Saul if Barnabas had not vouched for his testimony?
  • What were some of the purposes that God was later going to accomplish through Saul? How do you think Barnabas’ inclusion of Saul played a part in the accomplishment of those purposes?
  • Think of some people around you who are “on the outside” – don’t name them aloud! What purposes might God want to accomplish through YOUR inclusion of them in your circles?
  • What can the relationships between David & Jonathan, and between Saul & Barnabas teach us about friendships today?
  • Read Matthew 22:37-39 aloud together. What does this tell us that has to come first in order to have deeply healthy relationships with others?
  • Loving God with everything we have and loving others as ourselves are not just difficult commands to follow all the time — they are impossible in our own strength. What has to happen inside our hearts in order for us to be able to love this way? (Note to Leaders: Be ready with the gospel! — The answer is that our inability to obey these most important commandments left us separated from God and in need of changed hearts. Jesus came to make a way across that separation. When we trust in the work that he did through his death and resurrection, he brings us into his fullness of life, gives us a new heart and gives us his Holy Spirit who lives in us and loves through us. Until this happens, we still have hearts of stone. See Ezekiel 36:25-27, 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 & Romans 5:5 for more help on this)
  • If we are dependent on God to be able to love and show friendship as we really should, how should that impact our daily lives?
  • What is one step you could take to be a better friend to the people God has placed in your life? Share with the group the ways in which you’d like to grow in this.

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

 

  • Take time to share prayer requests and pray together in smaller groups. Encourage your group to take time thanking God for the gift of friendship and for each other!

CLICK HERE for a printable


 

Simplify Week 4 // 10.11.15

Luke 23:33-35

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Reflection in your individual quiet time
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? How can you draw that out of them? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Read through the group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements…. both church-wide (see email) and group specific (ie. Service Project, “Fun”, etc)
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week! Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Elevate: Now that you have been meeting for a few weeks, this is a great time to begin planning (if you haven’t already) to do a service project together this quarter. If you need help with ideas, we have many for you! Email nicole@discochurch.com for help, and please let Nicole or your Group Coach know how your group ends up serving so we can share your great ideas with other group leaders.

Group Discussion:

  • Think of a time where you feared the worst either at a job or as a child but were pleasantly surprised when you were shown mercy instead.  Share a time with the group.
  • Read Luke 23:33-35 aloud in your group.
  • What stands out to you in the passage? What does it say about Jesus?  What are the facts?  
  • What characteristics of Jesus does this passage exhibit?
  • What does it say about people’s response to Jesus or lack of?  (They crucified him, they were apathetic casting lots, they were fearful standing and watching, they insulted him with disbelief.)
  • What do you know about crucifixion in Roman culture?  Why do you think Luke mentions the criminals on his right and left?
  • Luke 22: 28-30, Matthew 26: 30-31, 56. What do these passages tell you?  Who are they about and what happened?  (Basically the disciples, those closest to Him, abandoned Him in His hour of need.)
  • What might have been different about Christ’s response on the Cross if His worth had been based in His relationships?  In others’ opinion of Him?  In His ability to measure up against His peers?
  • Read John 17:1-5. What does this passage tell us about what mattered to Jesus?  What was He about?
  • How might Jesus’ relationship to the Father and clarity of His mission have set Him up to forgive? What were His expectations?
  • What are our expectations in relationships and how do they sometimes lead to hurt or pain? How might they keep us from forgiving?
  • What are the barriers to forgiveness?  Why is it sometimes extremely hard?
  • Put yourself in any of the passages we’ve read as a bystander, a disciple, or even the mob wanting the crucifixion. Jesus was talking about you and me when He asked the Father to forgive THEM.  How does that make you feel? Do you believe that?
  • If you are a believer who has received Christ’s forgiveness; how does this compel and equip you to also forgive?  
  • Read or summarize Matthew 18:21-35 about the unforgiving servant. What was the servant’s flaw?  How do we do the same with the forgiveness we have been shown?
  • What step of response, large or small, is Jesus calling you to make this week? How can we pray for you in that?

Prayer:
Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

  • Take time to share prayer requests and pray together in smaller groups.

SimplifyWk410.11.15Group
Link to Daily Reflections 


 

Simplify Week 3 // 10.4.15

Luke 19:1-10

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Reflection in your individual quiet time
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? How can you draw that out of them? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Read through the group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements…. both church-wide (see email) and group specific (ie. Service Project, “Fun”, etc)
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week! Sometimes it may make sense to include it at closing rather than opening.)
    • Engage: This week’s passage provides a great picture of Jesus’ willingness to interrupt his “business” to reach out to someone. You can use this picture to encourage them to be looking for the person they could reach out to and invite into your group. If you haven’t talked recently about the goal of multiplication in 9-18 mos, this is a great time to remind them that the goal is continual inclusion, and the expectation that God will be expanding and launching new groups through us so that He can continually include more people.

Group Discussion:

  • Share about a time when you badly wanted to do or see something and were prevented from it. What was your response?
  • Read Luke 19:1-10 aloud together.
  • What strikes you in this passage? About Jesus? About people? About anything else?
  • Luke says that Jesus was “passing through” — and in the larger context of Luke, we know that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, where he knew he would be crucified. He had a lot on his mind! What strikes you about the fact that under these circumstances, Jesus would stop to single someone out? What does this teach you about your own interactions with people?
  • What do you think caused Jesus to stop and talk to Zaccheus in particular?
  • What are some ways that you might be able to identify the one person in the crowd of your day in whom God wants you to stop and invest?
  • Read v. 2 again. What is the first thing Luke tells us about Zaccheus? Why do you think he especially wants us to know this?
  • How did the general crowd respond to Jesus’ interaction with Zaccheus?
  • Can you think of a time when you thought a certain person or a certain group were not worth your time? Have you seen God prove you wrong?
  • What do you think was Zaccheus’ primary area of barrier between him and God? (His primary area of sin?)
  • How did Zaccheus respond after spending time with Jesus?
  • Jesus never asked Zaccheus to give money — Why do you think this was the particular way Zaccheus chose to respond?
  • What are some changes that would had to have taken place inside Zaccheus to enable him to take this kind of step?
  • How would Zaccheus’ life have looked differently after his encounter with Jesus?
  • Read v. 9 again. Is Jesus saying that Zaccheus’ action of giving earned him salvation? Why or why not? (**Note to Leaders: Be ready with the gospel!  — the answer here is that Zaccheus’ act could not have taken place without the heart change that only comes from shifting your trust and your priorities from yourself to Jesus. The giving did not earn salvation. The giving was outward evidence of the inward faith that brings salvation. See Ephesians 2:8-10 for more help on this.)
  • Can you think of a time when an encounter with Jesus highlighted to you a significant area of sin — and prompted you to make a substantial change? Would you be game to share about that?
  • Zaccheus recognized that sometimes true repentance requires more than just the words “I’m sorry”. Is there anyone to whom you need to make restitution in order to right a wrong? Or could you share about a way you made restitution in the recent past?
  • Have you ever experienced freedom from the grip of money because of your interaction with Jesus? Could you tell us about that?
  • What step of response, large or small, is Jesus calling you to make this week? How can we pray for you in that?

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time
  • Take time to share prayer requests and pray together in smaller groups.

CLICK HERE for a printable pdf: SimplifyWk310.4.15Group


Simplify Week Two // 9.27.15

Luke 15:3-7

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Reflection in your individual quiet time.

  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? How can you draw that out of them? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Read through the group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements…. both church-wide (see above) and group specific (ie. Service Project, “Fun”, etc)
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week!)
    • Equip: This week’s passage provides a perfect lead-in to introducing your group to the Individual Daily Reflections and encouraging them to use them to spend a little bit of time each day with Jesus. Print out yours to show them — and then take signups and have your communication person email Mandi at discomandi@gmail.com to ask her to send the Reflections to each person who requested them.

Group Discussion:

  • What is the largest group you have hosted or cooked for? What was it like getting ready?
  • Read Luke 10:38-42 aloud together.
  • What stands out to you in this passage? About Jesus? About people? About anything else?
  • How might this interaction between sisters and Jesus seem normal or expected?
  • Does Jesus’ response seem reasonable? Why or why not?
  • Where do you see yourself in this story? Do you tend to be more like Martha or Mary?
  • Read verses 41-42 again. What does Jesus say to Martha?
  • What was the “better” thing that Mary had chosen?
  • What troubled Martha beyond the obvious hosting (in other words what is the root of her trouble and worry)?
  • What are some things that worry and trouble you? How can you bring them each day to the feet of Jesus?
  • What gets between you and spending time with Jesus?
  • What is one way you could expand margin in your life for what is “better” — time with Jesus?
  • What has been successful for you in moving towards habits of time with Jesus?
  • We’re usually pretty hard on Martha — but what is she doing here that seems like a really good use of time?
  • What could we learn from this about trying to serve Jesus without spending time with him?
  • Read John 15:4-5. What strikes you about these verses? What do they say to you about our works of service?
  • What are some seemingly good things that drive you to fill your life with busy?
  • What does rest usually look like for you?
  • What are the things that you find provide you with the deepest sense of rest? What generally keeps you from that kind of rest?
  • It was Mary’s love for and relationship with Jesus that caused her to value time with him. What have been some things in your life that have grown your love for Jesus? Are there any ways that our group could pray with you that God would grow your love for and relationship with Jesus?

**Group Leaders Note: As you discuss, you may have people in your group who realize that they do not have a relationship with Jesus. Invite them to talk with you afterward, or catch them during smaller group prayer time — and be prepared to share the gospel with them if appropriate.

Prayer:

 

  • Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time.

 

  • Give everyone a moment to pray silently for God to grow their love for Jesus and their value of time with him — or to express to Jesus their desire for a relationship with him.
  • Take time to close by praying together in smaller groups.
  • Encourage your group to share their personal prayer requests — but also to pray about how God might grow love for Jesus within your group.

CLICK HERE for printable pdf: SimplifyWk29.27.15Group


 

Simplify Week One // 9.20.15

Luke 15:3-7

Suggested Prep:

  • Use the Daily Reflection in your individual quiet time
  • Set aside 60 minutes in your week to prayerfully prepare for your group time.
  • Pray for your group!
    • What concerns / prayer requests have been being shared? Pray for the spiritual growth of each individual.
    • In whom are you seeing leadership potential? How can you draw that out of them? Pray for them!
    • What logistical hurdles are you encountering?
    • In which area of the full-circle life are you wanting to see God grow your group?
    • Pray for the Spirit’s presence in your discussion time!
    • If you choose to write out some of these prayer requests, then you can watch the answers that God provides over time!
  • Read through the group questions and prayerfully reflect on your own answers.
  • Highlight and prioritize those questions that especially fit your group. Use the other questions for filler if there is time. Do not feel pressed to use all of the questions.
  • Plan out your timing and transitions, so you can keep things moving and end on time.
  • Give your group the floor, but be prepared to model transparency!

 

Group Opening:

  • Assign an Apprenticing Leader to give announcements…. both church-wide (see above) and group specific (ie. Service Project, “Fun”, etc)
  • Purpose Moment: (Please find a way to briefly incorporate these each week!) If this is your first time meeting as a group — or meeting after summer — Take some time to communicate…
    • The four-fold purposes of Disco Groups are to:
      • Develop Friendships (Embrace)
      • Inspire Self-Feeders (Equip)
      • Serve Generously (Elevate)
      • Community Outreach (Engage)
    • Because of that last one — Community Outreach — we want to share God’s goodness with others outside the current group… so it is never our intention that our groups stay exactly the same — In fact it is our goal that, within 9-18 months, the group will MULTIPLY! (Group Leaders, work to help them catch that vision from the beginning!)
    • Share with them some things about what they can expect …
      • Food? Hangout time?  
      • Discussion about the Bible, based around the Scripture passage from the sermon (And this could be a great place to plug the Individual Daily Reflection)
      • Praying for each other
      • Protection of confidentiality
      • Quarterly Service Project (ask them to… Start Planning!)
      • Quarterly FUN night (ask them to… Start Planning!)
  • Feel free to pass around a sign-up sheet asking for help with any of the following (or whatever else you can think of!! Find ways to share leadership!)
    • Snack rotation point
    • Childcare point
    • Location rotation point (if applicable)
    • Communications point (prayer request emails – and weekly reminders)
    • Quarterly Service project point
    • Quarterly FUN point

Group Discussion:

  • Note: If this is your first meeting (or first since summer), take some time to get to know each other — share names and a bit about each other. Feel free to let this take up an unusually large chunk of your evening. Some ideas:
    • Assign partners to get to know each other — and then have them introduce each other.
    • Share two interesting things about your last year (or your summer)
    • What prompted you to jump into this small group? What do you hope to gain or to give?
  • Have you ever lost something important that caused you to hunt for it? How did that turn out?
  • Read Luke 15:3-7 aloud together.
  • What stands out to you in this passage? About Jesus? About people? About anything else?
  • Where do you see yourself in this story? Are you still being sought after? Are you being carried on the Shepherd’s shoulders? Are you safely in the open country with the rest of the flock? Are you partnering with the Shepherd in the search?
  • Note: You could easily make this discussion all about sharing each others’ “being-found” stories, if you choose. Ask for volunteers – don’t press anyone who is not game to share.
  • In this parable, Jesus prioritized the lost and separated above the safe & privileged. How have you seen the church — or our culture or systems — prioritize the safe & privileged instead? What step could you take to align your priorities with Jesus?
  • What do you notice about the Shepherd’s interaction with the just-found sheep that is different from his usual interaction with the flock as a whole? (Ie, how does he probably usually get the flock to go where he wants them to? What is he doing here instead?)
  • What are some things Jesus does NOT do to the lost sheep? What can you learn about Jesus from this? As Jesus’ ambassadors, how do you think he would have us interact with the lost?
  • When the Shepherd finds the lost sheep, to where is he bringing her? What does this tell you about Jesus’ purposes for the person who is close to him? (Ie, to whom else does Jesus intend for her to be close?) Why do you think this is?
  • In verse 6, the joy of the Shepherd requires community for its full expression. How have you experienced joy more fully by sharing it in community?
  • Read 2 Cor 5:14-21 aloud together. Whom else has God called to be pursuing the lost? Have you recently acted as Christ’s ambassador in a way that you could share with the group?
  • In the Luke passage, the Shepherd’s concern for his lost sheep had to have been shared by his community, in order for them to share his joy. Whom can you invite to be praying with you for the lost person on your heart, so that you can share your joy when that person is found?
  • Who are your Three?

**Group Leaders Note: As you discuss, you may have people in your group who realize that they are lost and separated from Jesus. Invite them to talk with you afterward, or catch them during smaller group prayer time — and be prepared to share the gospel with them if appropriate.

Prayer:

Note: Determine ahead what time you will begin Prayer, and use that to give you a hard ending for your discussion time so that you can end on time

  • Give everyone a moment to pray silently for their Three and to thank God for finding them — or to express to Jesus their desire to belong to him.
  • Take time to close by praying together in smaller groups.
  • Encourage your group to share their personal prayer requests — but also to pray about how God might grow your group to be a safe place for some lost and/or just-found people.

Link to Daily Reflections

Click here for printable pdf: SimplifyWeekOneGroup