Week 5: Abide in Me
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, play “Would You Rather.” Have participants choose one of each of the opposing pairs of questions: “Would you rather sit still for thirty minutes or run constantly for thirty minutes?” “Would you rather read for thirty minutes or do chores for thirty minutes?” “Would you rather watch television for thirty minutes or walk for thirty minutes?”
Ask the group if there are any observations that came up in response to participants’ answers?
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
Read: John 15:1-8
- How does the image of Jesus as “true vine” illuminate who Jesus is? [Source of our fruitfulness.]
- This image is both comforting and convicting. Jesus notes that pruning takes place (v. 2). Since the vine was an often-used metaphor for the people of Israel in the Old Testament, we know that Jesus’ words are both for individuals and for the community. To truly abide, we all need pruning. Pruning is necessary for growth. Ask someone who is familiar with pruning to give insight into why and how pruning helps foster growth. [Some plants need pruning to grow.]
- How might your church practice pruning? What ministries need to be pruned so that the church’s focus can be on fruitfulness to the community at this time?
- What activities might God be asking you to prune? Even during this time, we have many options clamoring for our attention – news, social media, entertainment, people, and so on. How might we prune some good things for the better activity of abiding in Christ?
- How can this group help you abide in Christ?
- What is a practice you’d be willing to try this week to help you abide in Christ? (Being still, silence, meditation, listening to inspiring music, practicing attentiveness, reading Scripture, prayer, journaling, fasting, or something else.)
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or a similar prayer:
Covenant-keeping God, we are thankful that you are faithful, even when we are faithless. We confess that we are easily distracted, and like sheep, we wander due to our limited gaze. Give us your vision to see new, abundant fields of opportunity and new life that you are calling us toward. Empower us to let go of all that would hinder our growth. Amen.