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Friend Me 2! 6 Get-togethers to Deepen Faith and Friendship Copyright © 2012 Group Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior written permission from the publisher, except where noted in the text and in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, go to group.com/customer-support. Visit our websites: group.com and group.com/women This resource is brought to you by the wildly creative women’s ministry team at Group. Choose Group resources for your women’s ministry, and experience the difference!  Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. ISBN 978-0-7644-7822-2 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 Printed in the United States of America.


Contents

Welcome to Friend Me 2!.............................................. 4 Week 1: Getting and Giving Love .................................. 7 Week 2: Getting Acceptance .......................................... 17 Week 3: Getting Comfort .............................................. 29 Week 4: Getting Comfortable With Yourself ................. 41 Week 5: Getting Through the Tough Stuff .................... 51 Week 6: Getting Committed.......................................... 63


Welcome to Friend Me 2! Are you ready to move from being acquaintances who wave or nod as you pass in the halls or on the street? Ready to move into true friendship with other women and, in the process, move deeper into your relationship with Jesus? If so, Friend Me 2! is just for you!

Are We Already Friends? This resource is a follow-up to the six sessions in the first Friend Me! book. You can use Friend Me 2! without going through the sessions of the first book, but we do recommend it as a great starting point!

Each week, women will gather for a session that includes food (how can you have a group of women without food included?), Bible, discussion, and prayer. Anyone can be the leader. (We call her the hostess, since that’s way more fun and friendly!) Just be sure the hostess reads the session ahead of time and gathers the supplies for that session. Each woman in your group will need her own copy of Friend Me 2! When you see this icon, the whole group will discuss this together.

Q: This icon means women will partner or get in smaller groups to share.

Tell Me More! Friend Me 2! is a flexible six-week series for small groups that compares our friendships with others to our friendship with Jesus. The purpose is to meet new friends in a fun, friendly, nonthreatening way and discover and grow a friendship with Jesus. These get-togethers work for groups of women who are just getting acquainted, for long-time friends, for special-interest groups (such as your scrapbooking group or your prayer team), coworkers, Bible study groups, new attendee groups, and any existing group! You can meet weekly, biweekly, or once a month. You could even supplement your existing weekly small group by experiencing a once-amonth get-together using this book.

Where Should I Use This? Friend Me 2! can be used for home Bible study groups, during the Sunday school hour, or for much larger Bible 4

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How Deep? Yes, Friend Me 2! is great for women who are already Christians. You’ll be challenged to go deeper in your faith! But it’s also a good starting point for women haven’t yet accepted Christ, for those who have expressed curiosity in spirituality, and for those who have put faith on the sideline. The sessions are created to allow conversations at various levels of faith so that anyone can participate and learn.


study groups that meet in your church. In more intimate settings one person can facilitate the get-together. In a larger setting, the hostess can facilitate from the front of the room, with the discussions taking place in smaller groups. Limit each small group to no more than eight people. A group of six to eight guarantees a positive experience and maximum participation by everyone. If you have fewer than six, that’s OK too. The experiences will work with smaller groups just as well.

If I’m the Hostess…What Do I Do? You can have one hostess designated for the entire book, or you may choose to take turns being the hostess. Or you might share the role, having one person prepare the snack while another prepares the experiences. The hostess of the week will need to review the Hostess Prep box at the beginning of each session, as well as the additional tips in the back of each session.

Share the Joy (and the cooking!) If you’re meeting in homes, consider rotating from home to home, and have each home hostess prepare the meal or snack for that week.

Each session has an easy snack recommended for your group. But if you’d like to get a little more involved or make it a meal, there are additional suggestions for more elaborate foods that still fit the theme.

More Hostess Tips… Be yourself. The best leaders are the ones who are comfortable with themselves and willing to be real, vulnerable, and authentic. You’re the best you for the job! Then remember that it’s not about you. It’s about letting God work through you. God has put you with specific people in this specific time and place to represent Christ to them. Be warm and hospitable. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to others and initiating conversations, join a group but don’t lead one. Be open. Be willing to honestly share your own life stories. Be willing to share the load. Find a co-leader—a friend who can partner with you.

Now, it’s time to Friend Me! 5


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Week One

Getting and Giving Love

Experience the love of Jesus and others Key Verse: 1 John 4:7-8

Hostess Prep

The bolded sections of text in each session are for you to read aloud. Feel free to change the wording to make yourself more comfortable. Or just use ours; that’s what they’re there for. Provide tissues for this session. For many, this will be a powerfully emotional time as they realize, maybe for the first time, that God has been showing love to them their entire lives. Invite women to get their food before they sit down.

: d e e n l l ’ u Yo ookies

heart-shaped c hone p r o , k c o l c , h c [_] w  at with timer [_] pens r o f 5 1 & 4 1 ges a p n o s p l e h s s e See the host eas! id d o o f r e h t o d n a s ip t l a n io it add

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Getting to Know You (about 10 minutes) Enjoy getting to know each other as you’re waiting for everyone to arrive. Be friendly and introduce yourself to others you haven’t met. While you chat, eat a snack provided by the hostess. For the next six weeks, we’ll be going deeper into ways we can grow closer in friendships with each other and with Jesus Christ. Let’s get started with some discussion!

Pass your books around the room, and have each person write her name, phone number, and e-mail address on the “Getting Connected” space (p. 13). You can do this either at the beginning or end of your time together.

What could the food we’re eating today symbolize about friendship?

What’s a loving gesture a friend has shown you this week?

Today we’re talking about the love that friends have for each other, so our food is heart-shaped. Even though it’s not Valentine’s Day today, we’re going to have a bit of a valentine theme. I hope it helps us think more about how we show love to others—and how God shows love to us!

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If you’re continuing this experience after doing the first Friend Me! book, take time now to share about your Getting Real challenges from your last session.


Getting to Know God (about 45 minutes) If your group has more than six people, get into smaller groups of four. In your small groups read 1 John 4:7-8 aloud.

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” —1 John 4:7-8

Think of how God has shown you love throughout your life. Be prepared to share with your small group. Take turns sharing your life story in 3-4 minutes per person. Be sure to include how God has shown his love to you. Your group may want someone with a watch or a phone with a clock to be the designated timekeeper.

Don’t rush through the stories, and don’t leave anyone out. You’ll need to keep an eye on the time, though, so you have plenty of time for the next activity.

When your small group finishes sharing, continue with the next section. You don’t have to wait for the other small groups to be ready. Have the person in your small group wearing the most blue read the verses below. Everyone else, get comfy and close your eyes as you listen.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Romans 8:35, 37-39 (NIV) Week

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Spend about 3 minutes silently reflecting on all the stories you’ve heard today and how each person has experienced God’s love in her life. Think about what God would say in a valentine to you. In the space below, fill in God’s message to you.

Dear ______________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________

Love, God

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When you’re done with your valentine from God, talk in your small group, using these questions as your guide. Feel free to jot down notes as you like.

Q: Why do you think God’s love for us is such a big deal?

Q:

How is experiencing love from another person like or unlike experiencing love from God?

Chat together until the other small groups are all ready to continue together as one larger group. The hostess will lead everyone at this time.

Getting Real (about 10 minutes) We’ve already taken one step by thinking about and sharing how God has shown us love. Now we’re going to look at how we can take what we’ve learned and act on it this week. Look at the options below, and select the one you’d like to take on this week—or come up with one of your own! When you’ve decided on a Getting Real action, share your choice with a partner, and write what you plan to do in the space provided. Make plans right now to connect with your partner sometime in the next week to check in and encourage each other. I’ll tell more of my “story” to a friend and ask to hear his or her story.

I’ll thank someone who has been an important part of my story. I’ll read about God’s story in the Gospel of John, especially John 3:16-21. I’ll set aside 10 minutes to talk to God about my perceptions of him and then ask God to help me discover who he truly is. Week

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Because friendship with Jesus and others is a priority, I’m going to: ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________

Closing

Stand with your group and hold hands while your hostess rereads today’s Scripture:

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”—1 John 4:7-8 Think of one word that describes your feelings in response to how God has shown love to you; for example, perhaps you feel humbled or excited. Go around the circle and pray, beginning with your hostess. When it’s your turn, say your word aloud, then gently squeeze the hand of the woman next to you so she knows you care and that it’s her turn to pray. Your hostess will close by thanking God for everyone in the group and asking God to help everyone become better friends with each other and with him.

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Getting Connected Name:

Contact Information:

___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________

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Week One

Helpful Hints for the Hostess

Especially for the first gathering, set the mood and create a relaxed atmosphere by playing appropriate background music. Consider light jazz, acoustic folk, light classical, or upbeat pop music. Make sure each woman feels welcome and at home. If you’re busy getting last-minute details organized or have a large group, find a warm, friendly woman to be the greeter. Remember, friend-making is a priority for this study! As each new person arrives, introduce her to those who are already there.  or extra impact: Give each woman a paper heart (you can make these F from pink or red construction paper) as a reminder to experience and share love in relationships.

Recipe Options The point of the food choice for this gathering is that women will find a variety of ingredients in their snack or meal. Each ingredient offers something unique to the taste. In the same way, each person brings something unique to a group of friends.

Easiest Option: heart-shaped cookies beverages Purchase heart-shaped cookies from a local bakery or grocery store.

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heart-shaped muffins beverages Use a recipe for berry muffins that you like. If you have heart-shaped muffin tins, use those. But if not, here’s a trick you can use. Use foil cupcake liners in your muffin tins. Spoon the muffin batter into the liner, so it’s about two-thirds full. Place a marble between the foil liner and the muffin tin. Bake as your recipe directs.

Week One

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Note: If you don’t have marbles, simply frost the muffins and use red candies to form a heart on top of each muffin. If you like, frost the muffins with this topping: Beat together 3 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon warm water, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 3 cups sifted powdered sugar. Tint frosting with red food coloring so it turns pink.

Make It a Meal: heart-shaped pizza heart cake beverages Use any recipe you like for pizza dough, or purchase pre-made dough from the store. Shape it into a heart on your baking pan, and add any pizza toppings your group enjoys. Share the responsibility for this by having each woman bring a topping to add to the pizza. Bake according to the dough recipe directions, and serve while hot! An easier option would be to top a frozen grocery store pizza with heart-shaped pepperoni. Use scissors to cut each slice of pepperoni into a heart shape. Or ask a pizza restaurant if they will make a heart-shaped pizza. For a heart cake, bake a pink cake using a store-bought mix or recipe that you like. Cool completely. Frost with purchased pink frosting. Use red candies and red decorator sugar to form a large heart shape on top of the cake.

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Friend Me Volume 2 Sample Chapter