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Preparing to Lead a Small Group Discussion

The goal of Bible study is to know God. Yet, there is a great difference between intellectual assent of the concept of God’s love and a personal experiential knowledge of how much God loves us. This is where community comes in. Biblical truths will often remain abstract concepts until we catch a glimpse of them being fleshed out within the context of relationships. We begin to understand sacrificial love, mercy or grace because someone has demonstrated them to us.  

At Covenant EFC, we believe discipleship best happens in the context of relationships because life transformation best happens in such a context. John Ortberg puts it beautifully: “God uses people to form people. That is why what happens between you and another person is never merely human-to-human interaction — the Spirit longs to be powerfully at work in every encounter.” 

This transformation in the community life happens when, with God’s spiritual gifts in us, we make ministering to one another’s lives a priority beyond just completing the study. 

Here are some tips as you lead a small group discussion. (adapted from From Learning to Care by Navpress, pg 98) 

  1. Serve as a facilitator, not a lecturer. Your goal is to encourage personal interaction and self-discovery. Avoid pitfalls of being overly directive or too passive. 
  2. Focus on what Scripture has to say – and not on you as the leader. Point members to Scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to make application according to each member’s needs. 
  3. Maintain an atmosphere of love and acceptance which will lead to open discussion. Never put down a person’s comments or contribution. 
  4. Ask open-ended questions which have several possible answers and which can’t be answered by a simple “yes” or “no”. 
  5. Encourage involvement by calling on non-participants by name to respond. This also helps control the “overly” talkative. 
  6. Stimulate discussion by active feedback to responses such as:
    – Acknowledging responses whenever you can.
    – Asking follow-up questions to clarify a too general or “vague” response.
  7. Deal with wrong responses and comments by asking, “What do others think?” or “Does everyone agree?” Never tell a person he is wrong. This kills an open discussion atmosphere. 
  8. Encourage application by asking, “What should we do differently as a result of this discussion?” 
  9. Keep the discussion on track by acknowledging the problem or new issue raised, but suggesting that you table the issue until you finish your present discussion. Your attitude toward the tangent should always be positive. 
  10. Summarize the main ideas that are presented to help keep the group focused. 

May God grant you wonderful, life-giving encounters with His Word in your community!  

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
John 8:12-29; 17:1-8
Thu, 30 June 2022

To Glorify God in the Marketplace

Observation:

What did Jesus mean when He said, “I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (v.29)?

Deeper Reflection
THE LORD JESUS HAD A CLEAR PURPOSE IN HIS LIFE AND ministry while on earth. It was to do the Father’s will and accomplish the mission that the Father had given Him. Jesus had a singular focus on, and an unwavering commitment to, His mission. Jesus told people that He was the light of the world − the only way to salvation and eternal life (vv.12, 23-24). He revealed the Father to the people (v.19). He spoke what the Father wanted Him to tell the people (vv.26-28). By keeping mission clear, mission focused and mission true, Jesus brought glory to His Father (Jn 17:1-4). How can we do likewise in our life and ministry as disciples of Jesus Christ?The word “ministry” comes from the Greek word diakonia69, which can also be translated as “service”. Our work in the marketplace is our service to God and to the people whom our work touches. Our work and the interactions with people that it entails are therefore rightly to be considered our marketplace ministry. Christians are during the workweek primarily marketplace ministers, or God’s servants in the marketplace. In all that we do and say, we represent God and serve God. In our interactions with people, we are to (just like Jesus) tell them the Father’s plan of salvation in the Son, reveal the Father and speak the words that the Father wants us to tell them. If we do none of these in the marketplace, we are not mission clear, mission focused and mission true. For Jesus sent His disciples to continue His mission until He returns (Jn 20:21).
69 For example, Ephesians 4:12.
Application:

What must I do now so that at the end of my present life I can also say (like Jesus) to the Father, “I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave me to do” (Jn 17:4)?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for Outreach/Missions/New Life leaders: To always seek to please and glorify God in their life and ministry
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self

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