Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, have participants answer, “What are some ways you prepare for upcoming situations? Or What makes you feel ‘ready’ for upcoming situations?” (i.e., for your busy morning, before you leave, preparation for disaster?)
- Who is the greatest example of suffering for doing what is right? [Jesus] Can you think of other examples?
- “Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated.” (1 Peter 3:13-14, NRSV) Have you faced this situation? What does it mean to be blessed if you suffer for doing what is right?
- The Preaching Notes say, “Our audience is God. Our measuring rod is faithfulness to the call of God. God will take care of the response. Our task is to always be ready to give a defense to anyone who sees the hope within us.” What comes to mind when considering God as your audience? How might it look to be ready to give a defense to anyone who sees hope within us?
- “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18, NRSV) In your community and around you, who needs to hear the hope of Christ?
- “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.” (Psalm 66:16, NRSV.) Are you prepared to share your faith story? How can our churches help members feel more equipped to share their stories? Take time this week to fill in the blanks:
- My life prior to following Christ …
- My relationship with God brings me …
- Now that I follow Christ, I can see God’s presence …
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End with the following prayer, a similar prayer or the Lord’s Prayer:
Faithful God, the depth of our faith is revealed through the good and the bad we encounter. In all our circumstances, help us turn to you, trust you, and then share our hope in you. May we be ready to tell our stories about you. Amen.