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: HELP HEAD OFF RABBIT TRAILS AND GOSSIP.
Some rabbit trails are inevitable in a discussion. The trick is getting it back on topic before the whole meeting is off the rails. Instead of waiting for the group leader to have to step in and bring everyone back, offer a helpful comment that gets the discussion back in the right direction.
The prayer time can also easily slip into gossip if we’re not careful. Help the group leader out by not going there yourself, and also help others see when it’s starting to take place. The leader hates always having to be the “bad guy/gal” in those situations.
-How can we as a group collectively ensure that our discussions remain focused and productive and also occasionally (and gently) redirecting the conversation back to the main topic when we notice it starting to veer off course?
-How can we differentiate between healthy tangents that contribute to the discussion and unproductive rabbit trails that hinder progress, and how should we handle each scenario accordingly?
The disciples were afraid of what they thought was a ghost. Share a story or time you were scared or freaked out by something you thought was one thing, only to discover it was something you had no need to be afraid of.
SPECIAL NOTE: Read Mark 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. When Jesus went back to his home region, his religious teachings became the center of attraction. But instead of welcoming him, people took offense at him. This passage reminds us of the expression, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Those who knew Jesus best refused to follow Him. Jesus included His “own house” among those who dishonored Him.
-Why do you think it was difficult for the people in Nazareth to recognize Jesus as a prophet or a someone even greater than a prophet?
-When has your pride prevented you from learning from someone you know?
2. Mark says that Jesus “could not do any miracles there” because of their lack of faith.
-Why would this prevent Jesus from doing more than a few miracles (see 6:5) in Nazareth? Why do you think that made such a difference?
3. To multiply his ministry, Jesus sends out his twelve disciples in pairs.
-What is significant about the instructions he gives them in 6:7-10?
-How are they to respond to being unwanted and why?
-Is there any lasting application to the idea of sending people out together to fulfill Great Commission?
The disciples had been watching Jesus teach and perform miracles for some time. Now it was their turn. Jesus modeled this form of discipleship for all of us to follow.
-Have you ever considered taking someone under your wing and discipling them? Why? Why not?
-Is there someone you know that could benefit from a discipleship relationship with you?
4. The disciples’ act of shaking the dust off their feet was in part a recognition that God’s work was important and there was no time to lose. There is a sense in which even today, part of Christian discipleship is the spiritual sensitivity and discernment to know when it is time to “shake the dust off” and move.
-How you ever felt like it was time to shake the dust off your feet? When? Why?
-Do you see situations in the church that need our urgent attention?
-Do you see situations in the church that we need to “shake the dirt off” and leave behind?
-What about in the world?
5. This flashback to the execution of John the Baptist interrupts the account of Jesus’ sending out the Twelve to preach and heal. It tells the story of Herod arresting John previously because of John’s opposed Herod’s marriage to his brother’s wife.
- Why do you suppose Mark recounts it here?
-Why do you think John make such a fuss over this act?
-What are things you would be willing to put your life on the line for should it ever come to that?
6. After the disciples return from their mission and hear about John the Baptist being executed, it would be natural to think that a rest, a break, and time to recover and regroup would be natural. And it seems that this is exactly what Jesus had mind for them. And yet things don’t go as planned.
-How does Jesus respond to this interruption of his break?
-What differences are there between Jesus’ approach to the crowd and that of his disciples?
-Why do the disciples want to send the people away & what is Jesus’ challenge to them instead?
-When has tiredness blunted your desire to care for others?
-When have you willingly let your plans be interrupted for the sake of others?
-How can you show compassion and help others even when people interrupt your plans?
7. Contrast the leadership “styles” of Herod & Jesus.
-How does their leadership & shepherding of Jesus contrast with the kind of leader we saw Herod?
-Where do you see “Herod-Style” leadership in individuals & institutions you interact with?
-Where do you see “Jesus-Style” leadership in individuals & institutions you interact with?
8. Imagine yourself as one of the disciples in the boat.
-How would you respond to seeing Jesus walking on water?
9. The disciples insisted on interpreting Jesus as a ghost rather than recognizing him as God.
-What lessons can we draw from the disciples' experience?
-How can we learn from the disciples' experience and avoid letting preconceived notions or hardened hearts hinder our understanding of God's presence in our lives?
10. Do you believe in ghosts? Why? Why not?
11. Mark tells us that the disciples “didn’t understand the loaves” because the hardness of their hearts.
-What do you think they should have understood?
-What seems to have led to this hardness of heart & why would it contribute to their lack of understanding?
-When have you experienced a lack of understanding due to hardness of heart?
-What steps can we take to counteract this?
Take a moment as a group to reflect on the themes you have discussed from Mark 6. Consider how you can deepen your trust in Jesus and strengthen your commitment to following him as his disciple. Take time to pray for the grace to emulate Jesus’ character as you see him in Mark 6. Pray too for soft hearts that are open to seeing Jesus for who he truly is & make a commitment to dismantling any false versions of him you have sometimes believed in.