Week 3: In Christ’s Glory
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 each participant answer the question, “What kinds of people do you have the hardest time extending compassion toward?” (For example, homeless, unemployed, emotionally needy, etc.) “And why?”
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes). Read Matthew 25:31-46
- OPTIONAL. Begin by asking participants if they took on a new activity to experience joy this past week. What did they learn?
- What would it feel like to hear verse 34 spoken over you?
- What is the difference between the sheep’s and the goats’ responses in verses 37 and 44? [Notice that the first response is longer and always positive; whereas, the second is shorter and in the negative – “did not take care of you?”.]
- What was the difference between how the “sheep” lived compared with how the “goats” lived? [The preaching notes observe that the goats lived in a way more about passing the test; whereas, the sheep lived a life of servanthood to any in need.]
- How does this passage connect with the previous two week’s passages? [The first week’s passage was about acting wisely with our time; the second week’s passage was about acting wisely concerning stewardship. Generally speaking, this passage is about seeing the needs of others (seeing all the people) and responding (wisely and responsibly) to the needs of all. It also connects with the first passage by the invitation of the master - entering into the joy of the master. Here the invitation is to enter the glory of Christ. In the second week’s passage, those who invested wisely were rewarded. In today’s passage, those who invest their lives wisely are invited into the glory of the kingdom.]
- A colleague is fond of saying, “The secret to life is paying attention.” Paying attention is easier said than done in a culture full of distractions and attention seekers. Paying attention is a muscle we need to exercise. When we are paying attention to the needs around us (Seeing All The People), we don’t think about what we’re doing; we just live out what’s in us. What activities and/or how can this group help you to pay attention to the needs of those around you?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). Ask for a volunteer to lead the group in prayer or read the following prayer in unison:
Compassionate God, we give you thanks for your abiding presence with us. Guide us to be more aware of opportunities to see you in the face and needs of those we encounter. Empower us to be focused on being your servants with and to all people that we might experience your glory. Amen.
Discipleship Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org
Engaging Your Community: A Guide to Seeing All the People, https://store.umcdiscipleship.org/product/engaging-your-community-a-guide-to-seeing-all-the-people-2/
Forming Disciples Through Worship, https://store.umcdiscipleship.org/product/forming-disciples-through-worship/
“Making the Most of Online Small Groups,” https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/articles/making-the-most-of-online-small-groups
Online Teaching Series – “How to Start Small Groups,” https://discipleship-ministries.teachable.com/courses/