Welcome back to your friendly small group discussion guide. As you ease back into small group discussion, please remember the following things:
1. This guide is here to help you, not to shackle you. Depend on it as much or as little as you please. Feel free to supplement with readings, questions, or resources of your own.
2. We create the small group discussion guide knowing many of your members haven't heard the sermon. This year we've removed the customary first question reviewing the sermon content. If all of your group heard the sermon and wants to discuss it, that's great. If no one in your group has heard the sermon, this guide should still lead you into a valuable discussion.
3. Small group is NOT a class. Please facilitate discussion that leads to connection and practical application. Please do NOT lecture.
#1 All Together
This week we'll be talking about the power of community--both what it's liked to be loved in a community and what it's like to love others. To get the discussion juices flowing, have members answer this question:
When you were a child did you ever belong to a club of some kind? Teams count, too.
- What was that experience like for you?
- Did you feel like you belonged? Why or why not?
- Share about a time you felt embraced OR a time you felt excluded.
What's so good about being a part of something bigger than yourself?
What are the liabilities?
Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.
What do you think? Are two people better than one? Is that easy for you to believe or do you need convincing sometimes?
Do you ever find yourself trying to do life alone? What might be the problem with that?
#2 Raise The Roof
Read Mark 2:1-12 (If your group members heard the sermon you can skip reading the text together).
First imagine you're the paralyzed man. How do you feel in this moment? How do you feel about your friends?
- Have you ever desperately needed your friends' assistance and found them faithful? Share the story.
Would it have made you uncomfortable to let your friends help you this much? Do you ever find yourself pushing friends away when they try to help you?
- Why do you think that is?
- What could you do to stop it?
Now imagine you're one of the friends. How do you think it felt to see your friend healed?
- Have you ever had the honor of leading a friend into a healing of some sort (comfort after a hardship, monetary assistance, wise counsel, etc.)? How did it feel? Share the story.
Do you think it was convenient for the paralyzed man's friends to get him into the presence of Jesus? What sacrifices or awkward moments would they have encountered?
- Is God calling you into some inconvenient community? Think of a person or group that needs you right now, perhaps someone who needs you in a way that bothers you. Have members write down one name on a card. Then pray together that you would be a better friend to that person.
#3 A Better Friend
It can sometimes be awkward to talk openly about community in church, partly because the church is supposed to be a place where everyone finds belonging and love. Of course, it isn't always. We want to make this small group a place where we're honest.
Have you struggled to find community at church? Are you struggling to feel connected at Round Rock?
If you are, what do you think you could do to get more connected? Consider possible barriers you've put up and need to take down. What opportunities are you turning down? Are you too busy? Etc...
List ways to spend time with fellow brothers and sisters.
It's likely that other people have let you down in terms of connection (that stinks), but we ask that this not be a time of complaining about others or the church as a whole. Instead, brainstorm ways you can show up and do your part.
#4 The Same Page
As we talk about community, why doesn't your group review the mission statement for small groups at Round Rock? It's this:
Our small groups exist to provide a predictable environment where participants experience authentic, intimate community that leads to spiritual growth.
Go ahead and say that out loud together.
Take a moment to review your past as a small group. Is this happening on a regular basis? How well do you think you're achieving the goal? (Leaders, be sure to let your members answer honestly. Don't talk too much. Listen.)
What can your group do better? Make a list of some things you could do to grow closer to one another. Make another list of ways you could leverage your close relationships to grow closer to God together.
#5 If You Build It
Not all community-building has to be serious. Finish up your group's discussion tonight with a team-building game.
You have chartered a yacht with three friends, for the holiday trip of a lifetime across the Atlantic Ocean. Because none of you have any previous sailing experience, youhave hired an experienced skipper and two-person crew.
Unfortunately in mid Atlantic a fierce fire breaks out in the ships galley and theskipper and crew have been lost whilst trying to fight the blaze. Much of the yacht is destroyed and is slowly sinking.
Your location is unclear because vital navigational and radio equipment have been damaged in the fire. Your best estimate is that you are many hundreds of miles from the nearest landfall.
You and your friends have managed to save 15 items, undamaged and intact after the fire. In addition, you have salvaged a four man rubber life craft and a box of matches.
Your task is to rank the 15 items in terms of their importance for you, as you wait to be rescued.
The items are:
- A sextant
- A shaving mirror
- Mosquito netting
- 25 liters of water
- A case of army rations
- Maps of the Atlantic Ocean
- A floating seat cushion
- A 10 liter can of oil
- A small transistor radio
- 20 square feet of opaque plastic sheeting
- A can of shark repellent
- 1 bottle of 160 proof rum
- 15 feet nylon rope
- 2 boxes of chocolate bars
- An ocean fishing kit and pole
Split your group into teams of 3 or 4 to play. Have a prize for the winning team.
For the right answers (as determined by the coast guard) click here: http://insight.typepad.co.uk/lost_at_sea.pdf