SHARING OUR LIFE

NO MORE THAN 40 MINUTES, OR ¹∕³ OF THE TIME ALLOTTED

Giving Thanks, Sharing Struggles and Checking In

Going around the room in a circle (beginning with the Group Leader), each person briefly shares something they are thankful for that God has done in their life in the past week, and something they have been struggling with.

Additionally, each person provides a brief update on how it went reaching out to the person they committed to connect with in the previous meeting, as well as an update on how they prayed for, or reached out to the unbeliever they are focusing on. The goal here is not to engage in lengthy discussion or counseling, but to share real life experiences with one another. As we often say, it is best to share a few sentences, not paragraphs.

In some cases, it may be necessary to stop and pray for a person but that should not be the norm. Leaders may need to be assertive in moving the discussion along in some cases. During this time, Group Leaders should make a point to take attendance, asking for unknown names of adults and children as the group moves through the process.

ENGAGING WITH GOD

No more than 40 minutes, or ¹∕ ³ of the time allotted.

Worship

If a worship leader is present, this time can be spent singing a few worship songs together. Groups are asked to provide all participants with printed words to read from so that each person can worship. If no worship leader is present, one person can be asked to pray a prayer of worship and adoration, or you could read a worshipful Psalm. Music or worship videos could also be used at the leader’s discretion. Even when music is used, a prayer should always be offered to ask the Holy Spirit to guide the following scripture discussion.

Scripture Time

Each week our groups spend time together in God’s word. Group Leaders help to facilitate a discussion about the text being reviewed, and anyone in the room is invited to share what is on their heart.

On most weeks, groups read one or two of the passages provided for the Sunday of the week they are meeting in. However, groups may choose to read through a book of the bible together, reading no more than about twenty verses in one meeting. The group leader can read, or members can take turns. If a group reads through a book of the bible, we recommend it being one of the Gospels, or some book in the New Testament.

On specific holy days, as noted on the weekly devotional guides, groups will instead read through all of the Sunday readings (regardless of their meeting day) for the week at hand. The Psalm should be omitted.

Whether a group is working through a whole book or using the Sunday readings, discussion should be centered around questions such as these:

  • What stands out to you in the text?
  • What do you like, or what do you struggle with?
  • What does this passage teach us about people?
  • What does this passage teach us about God?

Group leaders should strive to allow and encourage all people in the group to share. Leaders and members should also avoid reading from study bible notes, as this can sometimes hinder natural and organic discussion and because those notes are often denominationally biased.

Take the time to reflect on the text yourself, sharing what the Holy Spirit brings to mind with the group. Leaders should be willing to allow a time of awkward silence to take place to let members think and reflect before sharing. Groups may want to re-read the passage, in between one or two of the discussion questions, to help the members think through the text.

PREPARING TO SERVE

No more than 40 minutes, or ¹∕ ³ of the time allotted.

Listening to the Spirit

After completing the scripture discussion for the week, groups will take about five-minutes to pray in complete silence.

Participants will pray for the Holy Spirit to help them answer three specific questions:

  • How, specifically, will I apply what we read and discussed today to my life?
  • Who should I try to connect with this week by offering to help start a group with them, inviting them to my own group, or by blessing them in some way?
  • Who is an unbeliever in my life that I should be seeking to reach with prayer and/or action?

Committing to the Lord

Going around the circle one at a time (beginning with the Group Leader), each person will share their personal application, as well as the names and a little bit of information about the two people they are focusing on. As needed or if appropriate, brief discussion may be had regarding the people named using the following questions:

  • Who are they?
  • What is your relationship to them?
  • How will you bless them?
  • When will you see them this week?

The idea is to briefly think, and talk through your goals and strategies. Again, use sentences and not paragraphs in order to use the time most effectively.

Closing Prayer

The Group Leader, or any other participant will say a brief prayer asking the Holy Spirit to give the group success in their attempts to live out what they have received and committed to. Following this prayer, the entire group will join in reciting The Lord’s Prayer out loud.

EATING TOGETHER

Each group will share a meal if possible. Groups can handle the preparation and purchasing of food in the way that best suits them. Some groups may opt for a potluck meal plan, while others may have designated cooks for the week.

It is common for the members in the host home to prepare the meal, with hosts and each member donating funds to help cover the costs.

It is important to allow people to donate food in lieu of funds if desired, and it is vital that everyone share the cost in some way.