By Cameron Silsbee
Begin with prayer
Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Take a moment to sit in silence in the presence of Jesus and each other. Have one person read Matthew 11v6 over the group and then pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.
Read this overview
In the current culture of American Protestantism, a mainly white demographic of the church is rejecting their once-held faith in Jesus. The word “deconstruction” has become ubiquitous for trendy millennials detailing their deconversion as a new conversion over social media. In the lesser-seen corners of this phenomenon of deconstruction are the people who quietly step away from faith in Jesus with a resolution not to return.
Deconstruction is heralded in public circles as the death knell of Christianity – celebrated as something authentic and noble. For many, though, deconstruction signifies the pain, disappointment, and confusion of friends, family, and people we look up to turning their backs on Jesus.
While what we term “deconstruction” may be troubling to us in our present cultural moment, it certainly isn’t new. The Scriptures paint portraits of humans, both groups of people and individuals, struggling with faithfulness to God. The Old Testament recounts Israel’s cyclical faithlessness to Yahweh. Jesus’s own friend and disciple, Judas, betrayed him. And Paul, one of the most prolific figures of the New Testament, with his death by execution impending, wrote with relief that he had persevered and remained faithful to Jesus – he did not take it as a given that he would. In his own words, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Talk through the following discussion questions:
As you talk through these questions, we can demonstrate respect and care for each other by listening to one another 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.
- Take a moment to reflect on your life with Jesus, all of the ups and downs that it entails. What was one of the high points of your life with Jesus?
- What has been the hardest point or season of your life with Jesus regarding your faith? What were some of the factors and details of what and why you were struggling?
- Why are still following Jesus? Who or what was helpful through your struggle?
- What did you learn about yourself and God through your hard point?
Read over this coming week’s Practice:
This week, take time to reflect on Paul’s words in his letter to Timothy. Read 2 Timothy 4v6-8. Once you’ve done that, with pen and paper, or the Notes app on your phone, journal as you reflect on your own life with Jesus. Use the following questions to guide your reflection time:
- What were some of the dominant emotions you experienced in your hardest point with Jesus? How did those emotions affect your experience of God (e.g. God felt distant, he comforted me, I was afraid of him, etc.)?
- What has God’s faithfulness looked like to you even as you’ve struggled with faithfulness to him?
- Think back to specific verses or stories from the Scriptures that have been encouraging or comforting to you. In what situations did they help you through?
Be prepared to share with your group next week about how this Practice went and any insights that would be appropriate to share.
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.