Here we get to the centre of Christianity. This meeting focuses on the gospel message - the problem with humanity and God’s solution through Jesus. Our first objective is to ensure that everyone knows and understands the basics of the gospel. Our second is to move beyond understanding to application and response in our lives.
Give everybody a bit of paper on which they write where they are from, their favourite music and their favourite food. Each person attaches their paper to their chest and then the group wanders round making conversation with different people about what has been written.
As a group go round and each say what we have learnt about God or what he has done for us this week. Then use this as a basis for praying and worshipping God.
An explanation of what Jesus has done for us would contain these elements:
- the problem with humanity, our selfishness, living for ourselves (Romans 1:21-23)
- why Jesus came into the world and died for us, what happened on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:18-19)
- what his resurrection achieved (Colossians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15:12-19)
- the implications for us, how we should respond to him and live as we are waiting for him to return (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; most of Romans 6-8!)
Imagine as a group you have been asked to explain all of this to someone who has never heard it before. Go through each point (spend a good five or so minutes on each) discussing what you would say, using different bible verses.
Remember there may well be people in your group who have not got a clear understanding of what Jesus has done for them so keep checking that everyone is Understanding what is being said. In addition, there is a danger here that those who have been Christians a long time will dominate the discussion, so make sure that everyone is taking part. A few bible verses have been given at the end of each point in case you need help, but there are lots more as well to find! As people speak, make notes on what is said and then feedback at the end, giving a summary of the gospel message. It would be good at this point to move away from the theoretical and make it more personal.
Ask a couple of people if they would share how they became Christians - maybe start off with yourself to set the tone.
The great banquet using this parable:
- what are some of the things that can stop us living for Jesus?
- how does this apply to the student world?
- the question God is asking us is ‘who are we living for?’
- is there anything in our lives that is in the way of our living for God?
Give the group a few moments to reflect and then ask people to share. It is important when asking people such personal questions to remind one another that the group exists to support and help each other and build community. Therefore, encourage everyone to be open and not to worry about what others will think of them if they share a weakness. As always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and be aware of any needs or difficulties that are being expressed. Be prepared to get the group praying for the group members who open up about such things.
Take this time to pray for your university again. Ask if God has spoken to anybody about anything specific. Identify another five issues for university (they can be the same as, or different from, before) and pray for these things and anything else that has been said.