By Cameron Silsbee 

Begin with prayer

Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Take a moment in silence, in the presence of Jesus and each other. Have one person read Matthew 12v46-50 over the group and then pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. 

Debrief the teaching

  1. What stuck out to you about the teaching?
  2. Does being a part of God’s family feel like a positive thing or loaded? Perhaps a mixture of both?

Read this overview

So much of the way we read the Scriptures is through the individual’s perspective. We read stories about individual characters, poetry that speaks to an individual’s experience, and even focusing on the individual’s salvation. But we can easily miss the consistent theme within the Scriptures of family: individuals who are a part of a family and saved into God’s family.

Talk through the following discussion questions:

As you discuss these questions, we can demonstrate respect and care for each other by listening well. It’s usually best to avoid correcting, “teaching,” or attempting to fix a person’s problems unless they invite the group to respond in any of those ways.

  1. When you think of your family, who do you consider to be a part of it?
  2. Spend a moment reflecting on your family life as you grew up. How did your family handle conflict? (e.g., passive–aggressiveness, avoidance, conversations and apologies, big fights, loud arguments, etc.). Did your family practice forgiveness?
  3. In what ways do you feel you behave, speak, and think differently in your Community versus your family?

Talk over this coming week’s Practice:

This week, prayerfully reflect on the following questions about Community. As you work through these questions, write down any answers, thoughts, or goals that come to mind.

  • What about your Community do you hope to continue together into the next year? What do you hope will change?
    • What do these hopes say about your expectations of Community?
  • Do you have any hurts, frustrations, or disappointments from Community that you are carrying into the next year together?
    • If so, is there anything you can or should do to address it directly or indirectly? (e.g., working toward acceptance, a conversation with someone, prayer, help/wisdom from someone trusted, etc.)
  • What could you do to show self-sacrificial love to those in your Community?
  • What concrete ways is God using your Community to grow your love for him and others?

Be prepared to share some or all of these answers with your Community next week as you collaborate on how to be in Community together in the coming year.

Close in prayer

End in prayer by having one person read the Nicene Creed over the group.

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.