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, invite participants to respond, “When you hear the word ‘call,’ what image comes to mind?” (i.e., Getting a phone call? Call to ministry?)
- How old was Abram when he left Haran? (Gen. 12:4) [seventy-five years old] If you are younger than seventy-five, imagine leaving everything behind to follow God’s invitation at the age of seventy-five. If you are seventy-five or older, what do you think would happen if you leave everything behind at this age?
(Story) One of my classmates was seventy-five years old when I was in my seminary. He was a successful businessman, had a nice retirement home and a car, and was living in Hawaii, enjoying his retirement life. God called him one day to go into ministry, so he left everything and followed God at seventy-five.
- What would your reaction to such a call be? What might you do if God calls you to do something that requires you to change the way you live?
- Jesus said, “follow me.” More often than he said, “believe in me” (from the Planning Worship notes). What is the difference? How do you describe “following Jesus” and “believing in Jesus?"
- What was the social status of the woman who touched Jesus' cloak? [She was most likely an outcast or someone seen as ritually unclean since she suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years.]
- How do these scripture passages (the woman’s healing and the raising of the girl) reflect the compassion and mercy of Jesus? What does it say about Jesus that he has authority and also extends compassion and mercy?
- “The other thing that is important to keep reminding folks is that hearing a call from God is not something reserved for the clergy. It comes to us all—to all who want to follow this path; to all who want to become disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. It might be a call to a place, to a task, or to a way of living.” (From the Preaching Notes) Have you felt a call from God to do certain things? How might we fulfill God’s call to ministry in our everyday relationships?
(Story) Mrs. A has been attending church for a long time; she especially enjoyed the church craft group. After attending the Walk to Emmaus (a 72-hour spiritual retreat), she discerned what God was calling her to do. She decided to start a quilting ministry since she knew how to quilt. When she saw an article about the Garden of Innocence (a nonprofit organization that provides dignified burials for abandoned and unidentified children), she felt God had called her to make quilts for those children.
- What are the gifts God has given you? Do you hear God’s call in any areas of your life? This week, let us continue to listen to what God is calling us to do. Remember, we want to follow Jesus, and it does not matter if we are clergy or laypeople. Jesus uses us all to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!
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, thank you for calling us. Give us the strength and courage to answer Your call and follow Jesus. Like the characters from today’s scriptures, we need your help to trust you fully. Guide us to discern what we are called to do in our community, so you can use each of us as your instrument of love. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
Note: 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.