THE WESLEYAN WAY | Connection Group Discussion Guide | Week Six 1 “We connect with God by engaging in the practices that allow God to have the biggest impact on our lives…These means of grace open us to the transformation that the Holy Spirit will bring about in our hearts and lives.” Scripture and the Wesleyan Way
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?
Share with the group about a recent experience you have had of feeling connected to God.
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 DVD or online. •
Consider the way you currently spend your time. If you were an outsider looking at your schedule, what would you say your priorities are? – Do you struggle to make faith a priority in your schedule? Why or why not?
In your previous faith experience, which has been made a higher priority: feeling the presence of God, or consistent faith practice as Scott and Arthur discussed? – Which do you think is more important, and why? – Share about a time in your life when you did not feel God’s presence as you hoped to. How did others encourage you during this time?
Do you agree that our attitude affects our experiences of God? Why or why not? – What would you say your attitude typically is when you step into worship? Into this small group?
John Wesley taught that Christians are given “means of grace” which are “outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace.” In other words, they are tangible means by which we can experience God’s loving kindness.
Some questions and content are from Scripture and the Wesleyan Way: A Bible Study on Real Christianity, Scott J. Jones and Arthur D. Jones (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2018). 1
If you have had a powerful experience of God’s presence, how would you describe it to someone who has not shared that same feeling?
If a volunteer has read John Wesley’s sermon for this week, ask them to give a report on the sermon for the group. – What was Wesley’s central point? – What were the highlights of the sermon for you? Read Galatians 3:26-29: Baptism. •
What does this scripture tell us about Baptism? – What change does the Holy Spirit perform in Baptism? – How have you seen this change happen in your life or in someone else’s as a result of experiencing God’s presence?
Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26: Communion. •
Baptism and Communion are two special “means of grace” that help us connect with God in unique and powerful ways. They are gifts directly given by Christ and enlivened by the Holy Spirit.
What does this scripture tell us about Communion? – What change does the Holy Spirit perform through Communion? – How have you seen this change happen in your life or in someone else’s as a result of experiencing God’s presence?
Means of Grace Check Up.
John Wesley and small groups of Methodists would regularly examine their spiritual lives to see how they were pursuing greater spiritual transformation, much like an annual exam with a doctor to evaluate one’s health. When was the last time you chose to sit and evaluate your spiritual health?
Pass out the Means of Grace Check Up worksheets to your group.
Ask each group member to work on this sheet alone for a few minutes. Give time for each person to complete their sheet. Share the following instructions: – Each means of grace listed here is considered an “ordinary” means of grace: consistent ways that we can experience God’s presence, given to us by Christ. – Consider what questions you have about each practice and list them. – Consider what scriptures have taught you about each practice and list them. – How are you currently practicing this means of grace in your life? Be honest. – How can you set an intention to grow in this means of grace in the future?
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 actively respond to scripture and God’s presence. •
After completing your Means of Grace worksheet, share your responses with the group. – Which practice are you most comfortable with at the moment? Why? – Which practice do you see a need for growth in? – Share at least one of your intentions for growth with the group.
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 God, we know that You desire consistent and deep connection with us. We confess that many times we do not take time for the practices that You have given to us to help make that connection, and we are sorry. Help us to realize transformation is not only a promise, but it is actually within our reach as Your disciples. Help us prioritize these things that will bring resurrection to our hearts and lives, so we might teach others how to connect with You. Amen.