Welcome back to small group! Likely, many of you took the summer off, met less regularly, or took time away from intentional discussion. It's time to get back in the swing of things. This week we'd love for you to take some time to get re-connected.
Consider having members share "one thing" from their summer. Here's a list of possible "one thing" prompts:
- One funny thing that happened this summer.
- One difficult thing that happened this summer.
- One thing I learned (or started to learn) this summer.
- One place I saw God this summer.
- One thing I'm trying to accomplish these days.
- One relationship that's blooming these days.
- One problem I'm trying to solve these days.
As you welcome your group back and jump into discussion, you might take a minute to refresh them on the purpose of small group: "to provide a predictable environment where we can experience authentic, intimate community that leads to spiritual growth." This week would be a great time to talk through that purpose and flesh out what it means.
- Drill down on the words "authentic" and "intimate." What do those words look like for your group? If small group meetings were authentic or intimate what would they look like? What wouldn't they look like? What might change? How well do you feel like your group is doing on authenticity and intimacy?
- You might set some markers for spiritual growth. Describe/detail what "spiritual growth" would look like. You might go around the room and share some spiritual growth goals. OR you might share stories of spiritual growth happening because of this small group community.
Does your small group have any goals for the year? Things you want to do more of? Less of? Things you want to be better about? Write 'em down, and hold yourselves accountable.
Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.
- Why is community better than being alone according to this passage?
- What benefits have you found in connection with others? Give specific examples.
- Have you ever found yourself with no one to help you up? How does that feel? How might we avoid it?
Have you ever been disappointed by community? What keeps community from living into its potential? What are the inevitable hurdles to authenticity and intimacy?
Watch this 12 minute video from the TED conference on what circumstances lead to long term happiness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KkKuTCFvzI
According to the research, "People who are more socially connected are happier, healthier, and live longer." Do you find this information challenging or comforting? Assess your own connectedness and share with your group.
Do you ever feel lonely? What could you do to draw closer to other people?
This week will likely be chock full of prayer requests, especially if you haven't met in a while. Be sure to devote adequate time and attention to prayer. This is one of the primary ways we experience intimacy as a community.