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 images come to your mind when you hear 'yoke’ or ‘taking the yoke’?”
- Abraham trusted God’s provision and gave the task to his servant to find a wife for Isaac. His servant prayed for God’s guidance to find her. Rebekah said “yes” to leaving her homeland to marry Isaac. How do you understand the concept of “faith”? How is faith demonstrated in these stories?
- “There might be many approaches we could take to twining these stories (Gen 24 & Matthew 11), but one direction might be for us to acknowledge that despite our cultural proclivity to turn everything into an individual enterprise, the life of faith and/or being a disciple by design involves other people. And these other people are not just objects to act upon, but subjects with whom we are to develop relationships. Making disciples is about being in relationship. We may want it to be about leaving tracts or making good arguments or convincing folks and then leaving them to find their way on their own. But that’s not how it works. It is about commitment and relationship and partnership.” (From the Preaching Notes.)
- What might it look like to be in relationship to make disciples? What area of your life do you need to work on being in relationship? (i.e. church, work, home, community, leisure, etc.)
- What might it mean to come to Jesus and find rest? (Matthew 11:28-30) What kind of rest is Jesus offering? How is this like and not like a day at the spa? Or a nap? Jesus offers a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light. How might this contrast with the burdens we often carry in life?
- How might we apply Jesus’ invitation to rest in our daily lives? What does it mean to surrender our burdens to Jesus? How might we find true rest in him? How might you develop a personal relationship with Jesus? Which of the following would you like to work on this week?
- Spend time in prayer, pouring out your heart, concerns, and burdens to Jesus.
- Meditate on God's words from the Bible, seeking God’s wisdom, guidance, and promises. (You can find the daily Upper Room Devotion here.)
- Seek the Holy Spirit through worship, praise, and quiet reflection.
- Find a supportive Christian community that encourages and supports you.
- Prioritize time for self-care, physical rest, and nurturing your spiritual well-being.
- Something else?
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:
Gracious and Loving God, as we learn the path of discipleship, we humbly take upon ourselves Your yoke. Teach us, guide us, and help us grow in faith and obedience. May our lives reflect Your love and bring glory to Your name. Amen.
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Does your church have an international discipleship path?
We at Discipleship Ministries invite each congregation and worshiping community to develop an intentional discipleship plan in their local context. There are resources and mentors that you can access on our website to help you develop and implement your plan. Please call upon us to help you if you have not already begun such a journey (https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/discipleship-system-example).