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: LOOK ENGAGED IN THE DISCUSSION.
Speaking in front of a group is one of the most intimidating things in life for a lot of people. It’s especially difficult if the people in the room seem disengaged in the discussion. One of the best ways you can help your group leader out is to be fully present in the moment. Don’t constantly check your phone for the latest scores or stare out a window the whole time. Occasionally give visual cues, like a nod of the head, that you are fully engaged in the conversation.
DISCUSS: Have you ever been in a situation where you were speaking to a group, and it felt challenging because the audience appeared disengaged? How did you handle it, and what impact did their engagement (or lack thereof) have on you? Are there any techniques or non-verbal cues that you find helpful in conveying your active participation in a conversation or presentation?
Kyle mentioned in his sermon that he has been a part of BCC for 17 years. How long have you been part of BCC or another faith community? What keeps you coming back?
SPECIAL NOTE: Read Mark 4 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. Kyle talked about Jesus coming on the scene kind of like a new boss. He drew attention to the fact that Jesus would teach with authority and then take care of the people.
-How do you view Jesus’ authority in your life?
-How has your understanding of his authority over you evolved over time?
-How do you view Jesus’ care in your life?
-How has your understanding of his care for you evolved over time?
2. In Mark 4:3ff Jesus tells the parable of the soils. Reflect on your own life.
-Have you ever experienced different “types of soil” in your heart when it comes to receiving and applying God's word? Share a personal example.
-How can we ensure that our lives are like the good soil, bearing fruit in our relationship with God and others?
-What are some challenges you've encountered when trying to share your faith or God's message with others?
3. The parable emphasized that the seed is thrown out by the farmer but that the growth of the seed is ultimately in God's hands. Kyle pointed out that the farmer’s role is to plant the seed. It’s not to sweep the seed that fell onto the path or pick all the thorns and weeds.
-How does this concept change your perspective on your responsibilities in evangelism & God’s responsibilities in evangelism?
-How does the idea of “seed that doesn’t grow” strike you? If God wants everyone to be a part of his Kingdom & his family, why doesn’t all the seed grow?
4. In Mark 4:11-12 Jesus tells why he speaks in parables. It is not to explain & help people understand but rather to confuse & keep people from understanding. As we have seen in Mark 1-3, Jesus has already attracted a good deal of negative attention. He has been challenged by the authorities about forgiving sins, his attitude toward the sabbath and feasting with sinners. His family has said he is out of his mind and the religious leaders have said he is possessed by the devil.
-Seeing Mark 4:11–12 in this context, why might Jesus not want some listeners to understand what he is saying?
-What did the disciples do to get an explanation that others did not?
-What does a willingness to ask indicate about a willingness to hear?
-When you read something in the Bible or in the teachings of Jesus that is confusing to you, where do you turn? What do you do?
5. Mark 4:21-25 is summarized by, “the measure you give will be the measure you get.” This has inspired all sorts of reflections on the meaning of justice. Yet here Jesus seems to be telling his followers that the level to which they pay attention to (i.e., listen & obey) what he’s teaching them, that will be the level at which they will receive the benefits of the Kingdom.
-What are the promises and the warnings found in Mark 4:21-25?
-What significance do you see in these for the Christian life?
-How would you describe the measure (or amount) of attention you give to Jesus’ teachings?
-How would you describe the measure (or amount) of benefit you have received from Jesus’ teachings? NOTE: “benefit” does not mean earthly & material blessings but rather heavenly & spiritual blessings.
-How can we go more deeply into Jesus’ teachings to receive maximum benefit from them?
6. In Mark 4:30 Jesus asks, “To what can we compare the Kingdom of God?”
-Come up with your own modern version of a “parable” of the Kingdom of God then explain to the group why you chose that particular image/analogy/example.
7. When Jesus calms the storm in Mark 4:35ff, the disciples are filled with awe and fear.
-Have you ever experienced a moment that made you deeply aware of God's authority, inspiring awe or fear? Share your experience.
8. Kyle concluded by mentioned that some hearing the sermon need to rediscover the authority of God while others need to rediscover their awe of God.
-Which do you sense you might need more at this time in your life? Why?
-Whichever you chose, what steps can you take to achieve this?
-How can you trust God to “cause the growth” in your life & heart as you rediscover his authority and awe?
Close your small group session with prayer. Use the prompt below to guide your group’s prayer time.
Thank God that you can participate in his kingdom. Then ask him to help you tell others about him and his coming kingdom in such a way that they will want to be part of it too.