Community Group Leader’s Guide
For the week of September 23, 2018
- Drinks available
- Contact person responsible for snack/dessert
- Plan a social night with your group members, ideas can be found in your leaders guide
- Pray that your group will grow spiritually individually and as a group
- Announce that this week members will be filling out a survey for Community Groups emailed to them and to be sure to please respond as it decides what group they will be in for the next 9 week study.
- Encourage members to start an intentional prayer list for people they influence in their life
1. If you were appointed as an ambassador, where would you like to be sent?
2. The story of your own spiritual journey is one of the most powerful tools you have to share your faith. Knowing that we are all at different points on that journey, how would you describe your relationship with Jesus today?
If someone were to ask you, “What has God done for you?” or “What difference has being a follower of Jesus made in your life?”, what would you say?
3. This week we focused on the importance of having genuine spiritual influence on the people and world we interact with through sharing our faith courageously. What did you find most helpful, challenging or interesting from this week’s message?
1. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-13 gives us a great picture of what a spiritually influential relationship can look like. Read the passage and answer the following questions.
The bold sections in Scripture are meant to help in answering this question if your group is quiet. Follow up questions may include, “what does it mean to behave like that?” “Can you give an example of a spiritually influential person in your life that showed you love in this way?”
1 Thessalonians 2:1-13
You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure.  We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.  For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you.  On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.  You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed–God is our witness.  We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you,  but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.  We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.  Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.  You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.  For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,  encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.  And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. [NIV]
What do you think he meant by sharing the Gospel?
What do you think he meant by sharing his life?
Why does it work best to share the Gospel and your life?
List a few of the character qualities that Paul modeled as a spiritually influential person.
Paul saw himself as a spiritual father to these people, supporting them (v9), living a good example for them to witness his life as changed by his salvation (v10), and taking time to speak to them the truths that would help them grow in the Lord. Paul dealt with each of the believers personally through counsel and prayer. He encouraged and comforted them (v11-12) and charged them to continue in the walk with God (v13) in holiness.
2. Although most of us aren’t facing persecution when we share our faith, there is often fear of rejection, not feeling knowledgeable enough, or not having an answer. How could the following verses help give confidence to someone who is fearful of witnessing to others?
We must depend on the Holy Spirit knowing God promises us that He will complete the good work in us that we have been called to do. Since Christians in this world are the ambassadors of Christ, this means that the world is in rebellion against God. If sinners reject us and our message, it is Jesus Christ who is actually being rejected. What a great privilege it is to be heaven’s ambassadors to the rebellious sinners of this world! We are ambassadors for the King of Kings! Therefore, there is nothing to be afraid of, as he equips us and has given this privilege to share the hope of Christ’s redemption to all who will receive it.
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,  for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” [NIV]
But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,  for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. [NIV]
2 Corinthians 5:20
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. [NIV]
Reconciled means “to change thoroughly”. It refers to a changed relationship between God and the lost world.
3. The gospel is “good news”, or as said this week in the sermon, “God’s story” because it explains to people how they can experience a relationship with Christ. What do the following verses teach us about the gospel and how we communicate it with others?
Salvation is not something that we do for God; it is God who calls us in His grace (2 Thess 2:13-14). Our job is to speak as Paul modeled through three proofs; Proof 1 – standing firm in our salvation, Proof 2 – The Scripture in the Bible promised a Savior in the Old Testament and was seen by witnesses that all that was promised came to pass in the life of Jesus Christ. Proof 3 – We ourselves have given up our old ways of living; hiding sins and living in secret filth and now living open and honest lives because of the forgiveness of sins and being made righteous in Jesus. Oh, the freedom we have to live IN CHRIST!
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. [NIV]
1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,  and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. [NIV]
2 Corinthians 4:1-4
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.  Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [NIV]
TAKING IT HOME
1. As a result of this week’s teaching regarding where you start in terms of witnessing to people, do you sense God calling you to…
…change the way you care about those in your life?
…being intentional praying daily for your family members, friends, and neighbors who are unsaved?
…be a bit more open about going to church and your commitment to Christ?
…begin to invite some friends to church to come and see?
…ask your friends some questions about their spiritual background?
Back to church Sunday is next week. Ask them who are they going to invite to “come and see” next week to church.
2. If you could impact the spiritual life of anyone in your current circle of relationships and influence, who would you most like to see take a step closer to Jesus?
What could you do or say that might help that happen?
Spend some time praying for these specific people and God’s work in their life.
When you break up into same sex prayer time, use this last question to begin a time of prayer for and opportunity to share God’s story with their specific person. Encourage members to bring someone to “Back to Church” next week.
This is an added section provided for all CG members to practice sharing their God’s story. STF encourages each member to take time to reflect on the following questions and write out their answers so that we all will be ready to have a response to anyone who asks, “What has God done for you?” or “What difference has being a follower of Jesus made in your life?” from the MY STORY question.
We heard this weekend that every follower of Jesus has a story to tell about how they became a Christian. In anticipation of having an opportunity to tell someone your story, it helps to give some thought to what you’ve experienced so you can communicate your story clearly.
For most of us, our story naturally falls into three parts. Below are those parts and some questions under each one. Use the questions to help you think through your story. You may want to write your answers down to help you think them through.
As you think about your story, remember that some people have a sudden conversion experience, while for others it can happen over a period of time without a clear pinpointed date. For those of you who can’t remember the exact point in time you came to know Christ because you’ve been following Jesus from an early age, you’ll probably struggle answering the questions in the first two parts, so you may want to focus your story on part three.
Part One – My Life Before I Became A Christian
Whichever way your relationship with Christ began, try to recall what your life was like before you became a Christian. What attitudes did you display? What were your behaviors and feelings about life?
Include here what brought you to the point where you knew you needed to turn to Jesus. Did you have a need that Jesus met? Were you at the end of your rope and couldn’t go on? Was there a Christian whose life influenced you?
Part Two – How I Came To Jesus
What steps did you take to become a Christian? Did it happen at a specific time (like at a high school camp or church service) or was it a long process of giving Jesus the steering wheel of your life?
Part Three – What Being A Christian Means Now
What difference has being a Christian made to your life? What are the highlights of your relationship with Christ? How have your thoughts, attitudes and goals changed or been affected by being a Christian?
“Live a life that demands an explanation.”
Saturate Tampa Bucs & Pizza Party!!!
Packing event Sunday Sept 30 immediately after the 11am service in the Fellowship Hall at the BP campus. Come watch the Bucs, eat pizza, and pack bags for Saturate Tampa. We have packed 6K bags…get in the sport spirit and we challenge you to pack twice as many during the game!
For The Ladies:
Bible Study – Kelly Minter’s “No Other Gods ~ The Unrivaled Pursuit of Christ.”
Our Monday evening sessions will meet from 7:00 – 8:45 p.m. at the BP campus from September 24 – November 12. Our Tuesday morning sessions will meet from 9:30 – 11:15 a.m. at the BP from September 25 – November 13.
Fall Women’s Conference
October 26-27 The conference will kick off Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. and conclude Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are $39 each. At registration, you will see the opportunity to purchase a scholarship.
For The Men:
Bible Study –
Wednesday mornings from 6:45-7:45 at our BP Campus, Pastor JJ, or occasionally one of the other STF pastors, leads men of all ages through a time of prayer and Bible study.
You can find more events and ways to serve at https://stfchurch.com/serve/ and https://stfchurch.com/events/