Connection Group Discussion Guide | Week 6 “…in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” Luke 17:21
Connect (5 to 10 minutes) Come together to build relationships through fellowship and sharing about this week’s worship. • Take a few minutes to share your thoughts about worship this week. What aspects of worship did or did not connect with you? What story or illustration made an impact on you? • Icebreaker: What is the most lasting thing you have learned from this series and why?
Context (30 to 40 minutes) Dig deeper into the videos and scripture for this week through questions and discussion. Watch the video for this session on your Connection Group DVD or online. • Do you believe the church has the ability to create or shape culture? How do you think God is calling St. Andrew, and you, to create culture that reflects the Reign of God? • Do you ever struggle with living as a Christian in the current culture? • What are things that you are interested in or passionate about that you think God gave to you for a purpose? How have you seen God use your passions and dreams as a form of ministry? How do you think God might want to use these things for ministry in the future? • Share about a time in your life when you have truly felt fulfilled in God. Describe your feelings and connection to God in that time. • How do you respond to the idea that Christianity calls us to constantly change and adapt? How do you typically respond to change? Does this idea challenge you?
Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 • How do you see Paul creating culture through this Paul faced a very challenging ministry, bringing scripture? Jews, who had a long-standing history and • In this scripture, Paul holds freedom from sin and tradition, together with Gentiles, who had no submission to Christ in a very complicated understanding whatsoever of the Hebrew relationship. How do you wrestle with the idea that scriptures or Jewish traditions and beliefs. you are given freedom through Christ, but you also Through his ministry, Paul ends up creating a have “obligations” to follow Christ in some way? new culture: the culture of the Christian church. • Paul has no attachments to traditions or worldly definitions of success. He sees himself as belonging to God’s people above all. What is challenging about the idea of belonging to God’s people? (hint: who are God’s people?) How does this shift in thinking help to grow your faith? Read Luke 17:20-21 • How do you feel about the idea that Christ has already brought the kingdom of God to Earth? • When have you witnessed someone impacting culture and building for God’s kingdom (Christ’s presence) in the world? How did that impact your faith? • This scripture shows us that the Kingdom or Reign of God is an “already and not yet” concept. Christ brought it here, but it is not fully realized yet. How do you struggle with this idea? What does this mean for how we’re called to act in the world? In this teaching, Jesus reveals that he is actually the embodiment of the Kingdom of God. Rather than thinking it is a physical or even a heavenly place, the Kingdom of God is God incarnate, Emmanuel, or God with us.
Call (10 minutes) We believe that God not only shows us who God is but invites us to participate in God’s ministry by answering unique calls in our own lives. Join together in discovering how we can respond to scripture and God’s presence as a church and as individuals. • Give different group members an opportunity to share the mission statements they wrote for themselves and why they chose the statement. • Throughout this series, we have discussed missions and how important it is to focus on our mission as a church and as individuals. What can you do to remind yourself daily of the mission statement you wrote last week as well as the other mission statements we have discussed during this series? What can this group do to support you in following this goal? • Discuss some actions you want to take this week and the coming weeks to live out your mission statement for the Kingdom of God.
Closing (5 minutes) God calls us into community by sharing our joys and concerns together in prayer and supporting one another in our walks with Christ. As we share testimony and stories of our lives, let us listen to where God is working within our community and how we can build each other up in Christian love. • Share joys and concerns with one another. • Close in prayer, either by inviting a group member to pray or by using the prayer provided below. Closing Prayer Gracious, loving, and creative God, as we move out of this series, don’t let us forget that we are a people with a mission. You have entrusted us with the words and deeds of the gospel, that we might help others see and feel your presence in their lives. Help us to remember we are not simply traveling to a heavenly kingdom, but that you have established your kingdom here on Earth through the love and grace of Christ. Help us have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the hearts to love your people, that we will live out this mission of grace every single day of our lives. Amen.