The aim of these studies is to help you reflect on living as Christian in Australia in the twenty-first century.
What the studies are about
These six studies will help you to reflect more deeply on living the as a disciple of Jesus Christ today in the light of your own experience. The studies will also assist you to reflect on how our understanding of church might enrich your understanding of that experience.
Broadly the themes are:
Becoming a disciple of Jesus (Conversion and Baptism)
Sustaining a relationship with God (Worship and the Lord’s Supper)
Living as a disciple in daily life (Living the Christian life and Peacemaking).
Guidelines for the leader
The role of the group leader is not to be the “expert” who provides answers for the group, or to ensure that the participants’ answers are “correct.” The role is rather to facilitate the group’s exploration of the issue and allow the members to shape the direction and focus of the discussion.
At times, if the group has lost focus, or the discussion is being dominated by one point of view, the leader may need to make suggestions about a way forward.
If participants do not already know each other well, the leader may introduce an introductory exercise encouraging members to introduce themselves, sharing personally at a level they feel comfortable.
Please remind the group members that honest and respectful interactions are expected. People may disagree on an issue and individuals may express that disagreement, but respect for the other person must be maintained at all times. No one should feel that their views or experience make them unacceptable to the group.
Also remind people of the importance of confidentiality in the group. What is said in the group stays in the group and is not shared with anyone else. This particularly includes spouses and partners.
At subsequent meetings the group may begin by individuals recollecting their experience of the previous week, sharing any significant experiences especially those that may relate to insights generated by the previous week’s study or the result of the “road testing” exercises.
The material can simply be worked through in the order it appears. The leader should invite different people to read several paragraphs each, pausing from time to time to invite brief comments or observations, without allowing these to deflect the group from the flow of the material.
Group leaders should allow the Bible and other texts to ask their own questions of the group, as well as encouraging people to seek contemporary meaning in those texts as they interpret those texts for the life of discipleship.
When it comes to the questions and discussion sections, divide into groups of no more than five or six people each. If there is time, invite each group to bring back to the larger group two or three insights they found particularly helpful or challenging. These will need to be brief.
Please feel free to adapt the material to the needs of your group.
The group leader will need to be alert to any pastoral issues that emerge for an individual and offer appropriate opportunity to have these addressed.
Allocate about 90 minutes to 2 hours for each study. People will expect you to keep fairly strictly to the agreed time.
Session 1 Considering conversion: Whom do you serve?
Session 2 Baptism: Remember who you are
Session 3 With glad and generous hearts: How worship nurtures our life in Christ
Session 4 The Lord’s Supper: Eating and drinking with Jesus
Session 5 Living the Christian life: Leading a life worthy of the calling
Session 6 Committed to peacemaking:
A discipleship imperative