READ-ALOUD SMALL GROUP TIP
A Small Group is only as good as its members. To help you and everyone in the group be great Small Group Members there will be a tip to read aloud & discuss briefly as a group.
TIP: OFFER TO START A NEW GROUP.
One way to fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission of disciples making disciples is by starting new groups for new people. As we begin the Winter/Spring Small Group Session, begin considering whether leading a group might be a step you will take.
Have you ever considered leading a Small Group? Why? Why not?
If you have lead a Small Group, what would you say to encourage someone to give it a try?
Zechariah is shown a strange vision that he doesn’t understand. To which he asks the angel, “What does this mean?” If you could get one straight to-the-point answer from God to any question, what would you ask?
SPECIAL NOTE: Read Zechariah 4:1-14 and Haggai 2:3-6 together as a group. This can be all at once or the group can read the relevant sections of the chapter based on the story or section being discussed.
1. The Devil’s Dictionary defined Christian as: noun. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.
-Where do you see the truth in the definition?
-When have you experienced hypocrisy in the church?
-Does “grace” excuse or ignore hypocrisy? Why? Why not?
2. Eric said the antidote to hypocrisy is vulnerability.
-Do you agree? Why? Why not?
-How can individuals and the church as a whole cultivate an environment of openness without fear of judgment?
3. The passage from Zechariah describes a golden lampstand with seven lamps, symbolizing the meeting place of God and humanity. The passage also emphasizes that the work is not by our power or might but by the Spirit.
-How can this imagery be applied to the church today?
-What role does the Spirit play, as you see it, in being a light to the world?
-How does this perspective shift the focus from human effort to divine intervention?
-In what ways can individuals and the church rely on the Spirit in their actions?
4. Zechariah 4:10 indicates that there were some in Zerubbabel’s day who thought the work God was doing in Jerusalem was inconsequential, small, and of little significance to the broad scope of world history.
-How do you see the work of the church & Christians in our world today? Do you tend to see it as inconsequential, small, and of little significance to the broad scope of world history? Why? Why not?
-The Bible records God working over and over again through (seemingly) small & insignificant things. In light of the discussion so far, how can this reframe how we see our efforts to make a difference? Where can it give us hope?
5. The sermon made the point that to become the kind of church that “lights up the darkness of our world”, we need to rely on the work of the Holy Spirit. But that does not let us off the hook. We don’t simply say, “Only God can do that!” Rather, we have to participate in the work.
-How do you understand or imagine we as a church & as individual Christians can join in the work God is doing without relying on our own power and might?
6. The concept of unmerited favor (aka grace) was mentioned.
-How does the idea of grace change the way we perceive our own shortcomings and the imperfections of the church?
-How do you or have you extended grace to others, both within and outside the church?
7. Eric offered a few suggestions for how we can avoid hypocrisy by admitting that we don’t measure up. He mentioned parents apologizing to their kids, giving ourselves grace, giving grace to those here & not here.
-What has extending grace looked like in your life this week?
-What has hypocrisy looked like in your life this week?
-What other ways have you discovered to help you model humility instead of hypocrisy?
-Is there a person or situation that you are experiencing where you need to give more grace to yourself? To others?
8. The church is disappointing AND it points to something better.
-How do we join with those who have been disappointed by Christians and the church to both reconcile expectations of the church while acknowledging its shortcomings?
-Given this reality, how can the church & Christians still serve as a beacon towards something greater?
9. Eric challenged you to light a birthday candle and pray that the Holy Spirit would empower you while it burned.
-Did you do this? What was it like?
-If you have not done it yet, do you plan to? When?
PRAYER PROMPT: As a group, take time to pray the prayer Eric encouraged you to pray. Light the candle & then as a group pray that you would each be made a participant in His work. Then, as the candle gets near the end, pray that God would put His light within each of you so that you can light up the darkness in your places of influence.