Leader’s Community Group Study Guide
For the week of November 15, 2020
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
⇨ FOOD BOX GIVEAWAY DAY – Sunday November 22 each campus will have a fresh food box giveaway where we would like each member of STF to take two boxes to giveaway to a family in need. It may be a neighbor, a co-worker, or someone you met in line. Your fresh food boxes will available as you exit church with an STF staff member to assist you placing the boxes in your car. If you do not have someone in mind to deliver to, we have a list of those in need for you to deliver. Questions? Email email@example.com
⇨ 30 DAY COUPLE PRAYER CHALLENGE – Please join us for the STF Couples’ 30-Day Prayer Challenge. Sign up to receive daily prayer prompts via email or text and use them to pray together with your spouse/significant other. The Prayer Challenge runs from Sunday, November 22, to Monday, December 21, and you can register any time during the 30-day period. Register
⇨ OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD – We have shoeboxes that need to be filled for children all over the world so that they may have gifts for Christmas. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Please return the boxes by November 20th.
⇨ Nov 22, regather preschool and nursery reopens for 9 &11 service at the BP Campus. Reservations are required. stfchurch.com/kids
⇨ Dec 6 – Elementary age kids return at 11 am service on the BP campus.
⇨ WOMEN’S NIGHT OF GATHERING – Our gathering will include worship, a message from biblical counselor Michelle Horton, a Q & A session, and more. As in past years, we’ll be blessing one of our local schools by collecting donations for teenagers in the after-school program. If you would like to participate, please consider bringing a cash donation of any amount or one or more Walmart gift cards, valued at $5, $10, or $15. (This is completely optional.) Register
⇨ LAST WEEK OF COMMUNITY GROUPS – The last week of Community Groups is Nov.29-Dec 5th. Our last week of CG, we will take communion together. Please be thinking of your social as well.
Submit your group’s attendance by replying to the email you receive on the day of your meeting.
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or something that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
1. Can you think of anyone who reached out to you to tell you about Jesus? What do you remember about what they said and/or did that was helpful to you?
Most people will have at least one person who had an influence on them coming to Christ.
2. Is there someone you are currently influencing?
This week we are going to work together on how to share our own testimony. The following questions will help you develop your story.
A Christian testimony is given when Christians relate how we came to know the God of the Bible through the moving of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Most commonly, we are sharing how we became Christians by God’s miraculous intervention and work in our lives through specific events. Often we can only see that in hindsight, but sharing that experience is vital. Also, when giving this testimony, a sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is always a necessity. Though we can include specific information about how we came to accept Christ as Savior, those details should not be the focus of the testimony. The focus should be about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
1. An effective testimony is one that conveys both your own experience and the Gospel of Christ. Start by writing down the details of how you came to trust in Christ to save you. Answering the following questions to help you:
- Who told me about Christ?
- What events led up to me trusting or believing in Christ?
- When did I trust Christ?
- Where was I when I first believed?
- How has faith in Christ been a blessing to me?
A Christian testimony should not end with the conversion experience, but should also include the ways in which the Lord has worked in our lives to sanctify us for His service. As an example, a testimony could include how He brought us through a difficult time in our life (such as a loss or some sort or a severe illness) and built our faith in Him through that experience. We should also be able to describe the continual process by which the Spirit who now indwells us leads, guides, molds and shapes us into mature Christians.
2. Take what you have written from the questions above to write your story. Try to be as concise as possible. As a goal, try to make the length of your testimony so that it can be effectively shared in three minutes or less. Use the space below to write it out:
3. After writing out your story, review where Scripture can be added. Remember, that it is Scripture that is authoritative because it is God’s Word. As an example, your testimony should consist of your becoming aware that you were separated from God by your sin (Romans 3:23), the realization that you would spend eternity away from God if you did not receive forgiveness (Romans 6:23), the understanding that God sent His only perfect Son Jesus to die and pay for your sin (Romans 5:8), and finally your receiving forgiveness by trusting alone in Christ’s payment for sin (Acts 16:31). Your turn! What scripture would you like to add in your testimony? Work as a group to help one another.
TAKING IT HOME
1. How we became believers is one part of our story. The other part of our story is the lessons God has taught us through joys, disappointments, mistakes, and pain. It is often in our vulnerability that we are invited to share these life lessons. Who at work, in your neighborhood, family friend is going through a season you can relate to?
How do we go about sharing our faith in the workplace? First, there is the “quiet” testimony—the one that speaks volumes with no words at all. It involves being a loyal and faithful employee, not bad-mouthing our employers or our co-workers. No one works with a perfect boss or perfect colleagues, but if we work with the attitude outlined in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,” we will bring honor to God by doing all things for Him, the only truly perfect Boss. When we are working for the Lord, our ability to handle on-the-job stress and treat others with kindness and patience will make us stand out among our co-workers. When others notice our attitudes, they will invariably comment on it, giving us the opportunity to explain whom we really serve and how He has impacted our lives. In other words, sometimes we need to “walk the walk” in order to get the opportunity to “talk the talk.” When the doors do open to share our faith, we must “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). This means being diligent about our Bible study in preparation for those open doors. If we “let the Word of God dwell in [us] richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16), we will always be ready. Finally, pray for God to open up opportunities to share Christ with others—those “divine appointments” with people whose hearts have been prepared by God to receive His truth from us.
2. Pray for one another to have the boldness to reach out to the name the person has written above.
Among the many reasons to share our faith are three imperatives:
1) Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ commands it. During His last moments on earth with His disciples, Christ could have said anything. What He chose to tell them was that they were to go with His blessing and power to preach the Gospel so that others could come to know the saving power and blessed relationship with Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).
2) Duty demands it. If we have been redeemed by Christ, then we have been given something that is not our own. Without God’s grace we would be lost for all eternity. Chances are most of us came to faith and salvation because someone shared with us; how can we then not do the same for others? Jesus said that as we have freely received, we should freely give (Matthew 10:8). We have been entrusted by God to be His messengers to the lost (Acts 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:4).
3) Gratitude prompts it. An attitude of heartfelt gratitude is one of the many things that mark a true believer in Jesus Christ. The more we honestly examine the depravity of our own hearts, the more we recognize how great is the forgiveness that was and is extended to us, and the more we are thankful to God for redeeming us. This thankfulness expresses itself in giving Him credit for what He has done for us—that which we could not do for ourselves. The best way we can thank God is to give Him all the glory for what He has done for us and tell others of His great love and mercy.
“Live a life that demands an explanation.”