For everyone to understand what being ‘lost’ is. To see the effects of the ‘fall’ and to grasp God’s plan to bring people back to Him. To identify a number of friends and commit to demonstrating the value of ‘heart for the lost.’
some kind of music for the Worship section – use an instrument like a guitar if you or someone in the group can play, or use phone/iPod if not.
Everyone needs a Bible for the Word section. And you will need to write some scriptures on A4 paper. You may want to get some large sheets of paper for the brainstorming in the Witness section.
Go around the room taking one minute each to say what you think the most surprising/overwhelming aspect of God is and why. It could be something about God that you noticed as you were becoming a Christian or something more recent. Whatever it is, encourage your small group to think about their answers, making it real, personal and as honest as possible.
The first small group value is ‘Jesus at the centre’. Use the next 20 minutes to think about what Jesus at the centre means and to invite Jesus in. Play a worship song and ask everyone to listen and to reflect. Get everyone in the room to pray out loud one at a time, inviting Jesus to be at the centre of the meeting and their lives. The focus of this time is to confess our need of Jesus and to identify ways in which we can live out lives with Jesus at the centre. People may also want to pray out and identify things that keep Jesus from the centre of our lives. When you have done this, play a song and praise together, expressing faith and thanks that Jesus is and will be at the centre of the small group, and its members’ lives.
This word section is designed to help you think about what it is like to be ‘lost.’ You will be using the Bible and people’s own experiences as resources. There are 6 key scriptures representing alienation and 6 scriptures which correspond to reconciliation. Write the letter A in the top corner of 6 sheets of paper and a letter B on the back to help people know which scripture to start with. Write the reference to the Genesis scriptures on side A of each sheet. Write the corresponding references to reconciliation on side B.
What does the Bible say is the reason for people being ‘lost’? Ask someone to read out to the group Genesis 3:7-19. It describes the fall and the alienation it has brought about. We can identify 6 types of alienation. You will need to make a summary of these 6 forms of lostness/alienation. Hold up the A4 sheets as you identify each one.
[a] self alienation [v7]
[b] spiritual alienation [v8-10]
[c] relational alienation [v12-13]
[d] physical alienation [v16]
[e] ecological alienation [17-18]
[f] vocational alienation [v19]
[a] Romans 12:3 [self reconciliation]
[b] 2 Corinthians 5: 18-20 [spiritual reconciliation]
[c] John 13: 34-5 [relational reconciliation]
[d] Isaiah 53: 4-5 [physical reconciliation]
[e] Romans 8:12-22 [ecological reconciliation]
[f] Colossians 3:22-24 [vocational reconciliation]
What does being lost feel like? What effect does it have on people?
Give each person/pair a sheet of paper with one form of alienation to think about. Allow a few minutes for looking up the relevant scripture, and thinking/discussing and then ask each person/pair to describe to the group how this particular alienation affects people.
What does God want to do about it?
The person/pair keeps the A4 paper. Ask people to turn the paper over and ask the person to read the scripture out to the group. You will need to explain that all of the verses refer to reconciliation, which means ‘to restore something to its original condition’.
Ask each person to think about one of the above areas of alienation, which they can identify with. When they have got an area in mind, ask them to think about how God has reconciled them to Him and His original plan for them in that area. After a few minutes thought ask people to share with the group which they chose and why they picked it. To avoid trite answers and to get the most creativity, ask the members of the group to imagine they were presenting this to someone who had never heard anything like this before [an alien from another planet?]
What are you going to do about it?
If what we have just read is true – that people are lost and alienated from God and that God has a plan to restore them back to a relationship with Him – how should we respond? Many of us believe this to be true and many of us will be able to pinpoint changes that have taken place since we became a Christian. However, many Christians are happy to keep this to themselves.
How far are you prepared to go? Read this quote of Martin Luther King out to the group. Ask them to close their eyes and weigh it up. Martin Luther King said
“you haven’t found what you are living for until you have found what you’ll die for”
To make sure that people don’t take a downward spiral as they think about these things, ask them to make a commitment to one specific step forward in the area of witness and ‘heart for the lost.’ Make the step manageable and realistic. This question may help: “What one thing could I change in my attitude or my actions that would make my Christian life count?”
Thinking on a small group level, rather than a personal level, take a look back over the previous weeks and ask each person to give an example of how your small group has demonstrated a ‘heart for the lost.’ What evidence is there of prayer, preparation and outreach going on? You could get a big sheet of paper and scribble the contributions down.
Now take a second sheet of paper. Get each person to see their part in the small group, and identify things that relate to ‘heart for the lost’ that they can commit to doing or seeing happen over the next week. An effective way of getting people to be accountable to the group is to get them to identify between 3 and 5 people they have regular contact with. For each person write down one practical way to bless them and one prayer to pray for them. Get people to put themselves in the shoes of the other person, asking “what would that person want/need?”
To close the meeting, pray into the goals as a group and be prepared to review them next week.