Spend the majority of your time discussing the following prompts. You may have time to only discuss 3 or 4 of them, which is ok! Also, see “General Tips for Guiding Conversations.”
1. Discuss with the group the observations/curiosities/ questions that came up during the Listen and Read sections. People can share their one-sentence summaries.
Here are the questions from the LISTEN and READ sections that you can go over/share together:
What are your initial reactions to the sermon? Note any curiosities, questions, or interesting points (anything surprising? controversial? mysterious? life-giving?):
Themes (What were the main topics touched upon?):
My one-sentence summary of the sermon/text:______________
Objective: For group members to show what they have been able to identify, interpret, and summarize from both that week’s sermon and scripture passage.
2. Are there connections between this scripture and your life today? What are they?
Tip: You can use what people have already named as themes of the text (what stood out to them) as a jumping-off point to begin drawing connections.
Objective: For group members to identify and relate aspects of that week’s scripture text with aspects of their present-day life.
3. Are there connections between the themes of the sermon and your life today? What are they?
Tip: You can use what people have already named as the "main point" or what stood out to them as a jumping-off point to begin drawing connections.
Objective: For group members to identify and relate aspects of that week’s sermon with aspects of their present-day life.
4. Sermon-Specific Question
Week 1: Share your own experiences of inclusion and/or exclusion.
Tip: Saying “Thanks for sharing” can go a long way to fostering an environment where people feel comfortable sharing/listening.
Week 2: What leads to death (either literal or figurative/spiritual)? What leads to life?
Tip: Different people might have different answers to this question – that’s ok!
Week 3: Share experiences of both division and unity. What was it like to be divided? What was it like to be united?
Tip: If people are struggling to answer the “what was it like…” questions, try reframing the question as “how did YOU feel in the moment of division/unity?”
Week 4: In what way(s) have you experienced transformation personally? Can you name a way you hope to grow in maturity in the future?
Tip: The discussion from this question could be great to revisit during the RELATE section.
Week 5: In this passage, Paul is writing about what it means to be faithful to the vision of the Kingdom of God in a particular context. What does it mean to be faithful to the vision of the Kingdom of God in your own context?
Tip: This particular passage may generate a lot of feelings in people. Historically, it has sometimes been used in oppressive ways that do not fully honor the image of God in everyone – and it might even be helpful for you to explicitly acknowledge that. Be gentle in this discussion and always refer back to the Conversation Covenant if/when things get tough.
Week 6: How do you understand Paul’s final call at the end of this letter? What attitudes and actions is Paul encouraging the Ephesians to take? What do you think Paul would say to your community of faith?
Tip: Remember there isn’t necessarily a “right” answer.
Objective: For group members to identify, explain, and/or interpret aspects of the themes brought out in the sermon and/or scripture text.
5. Does this week’s scripture, sermon, or discussion shift/expand/change your picture of God? of others? of yourself? If so, how?
Tip: If there is something particular that has generated a lot of discussion within your group, reference that topic/theme and then ask if that has caused people’s view of God/others/themself to shift, expand, or change.
Objective: For group members to 1) identify aspects of the scripture text, sermon, and/or discussion and apply those aspects of their understanding of God, others, and/or themself; and 2) analyze and conclude if those aspects shift, expand, or change their understanding of God, others, and/or themself.
Discussions in small groups can often bring up some big questions theologically, personally, and biblically. Highrock pastors and staff are available to listen and talk through any of these with you and or your group. There may not be clear answers, but we are here with you on the journey! Don’t hesitate to reach out!