Leader's guide for weekly discussion
Mercy Season, August 7 - September 25, 2023
Anybody can lead a Just Do It group with the discussion guide below. It's important to reinforce that by taking turns as the group leader. My 10-year-old granddaughter did fine when it was her turn. So can you.
Caution: the most common mistake of new leaders is to accidentally skip over some of the black print during the session without realizing what they are missing or why it matters.
Discussion guide for our Just-Do-It Group during Mercy Season
NOTE TO LEADER: Read the black print to the group. The red print is instructions for you only.
Before the meeting
Choose the next Bible reading from our Just Do It list or from any other list you have decided to use. Don’t read it yourself to prepare for the session because nobody else will, and you don’t want to seem like a teacher.
Find the list of “Just Do Its” that your group made last week so you can remind anyone who forgot theirs. Cheer people on even if they forgot.
You will lead three prayers during the meeting. They are supposed to reinforce the purpose and focus of your Just Do It Group. Decide whether you will do that by praying in your own words or using the optional wording for the prayers in the instructions below.
Decide now (or during the meeting if you prefer) which people to assign in questions 7 and 8. In most groups it is less awkward to assign someone than ask for a volunteer, but use your judgment about how your group works best.
Prayer to begin
Let's pray to get started. Optional wording (or use your own) --
Thank you God that we can get together today. Thank you that you masterminded a campaign to connect, heal, and bless the world and that you included us in it through Jesus and his Spirit. Help us listen well for our next assignments, and help us cheer each other on every week. In the name of Jesus and for the sake of his campaign we ask these things, Amen.
For more about the "campaign" idea, see the "God's campaign tab". God's public awareness campaign is a core idea in Just Do It Groups because all our "Just Do Its" are part of it. But don't try to "teach" the idea during a group meeting or the meeting may get off track. Tell people they can look it up for themselves when it is their turn to lead and they are using this leader's guide.
Let's review the group rules we agree on (good to read these every week till everyone automatically does them; the group will fizzle out if these get overlooked)
We want a better world, and it will get a little better if we listen to God together and cheer each other on.
Nobody is teaching anything or preparing anything for this group. We take turns leading the group by using the questions below.
We stick to the Bible verses we read; we don’t bring in other verses.
Our goal is to hear what God wants us to do this week, not to satisfy idle curiosity or to push our own opinion.
We expect that at some point God will nudge us to start other groups to get more people listening and cheering. When he does, we will just do it, even if it means we leave this group.
Catch up with each other and cheer each other on (10-15 minutes)
During this first section your job as leader is to make sure this doesn't go on for 30 or 40 minutes, which can happen easily if the leader does nothing or if the reports of last week's Just Do Its are too interesting. If these take too long, the rest of the meeting gets rushed or goes way over an hour.
1. In one minute or so, what is one thing you are thankful for this week? (Gently interrupt anyone who gets long-winded.)
2. In one minute or so, what is one challenge you are facing?
3. In two or three minutes, tell us how it went with your “Just Do It” from last week? (You have to skip this the first week, of course.)
Listen to the Bible and to God (20-30 minutes)
During this section your job as leader is to encourage all the others to talk but no one to talk too much. You also decide when to move on to the next question.
4. Now let's pray. (Use your own words or something like this) --
Lord, we are coming to you to listen for your voice in the Bible and through your Spirit. Give us whatever assignments you have for us this week as members of your campaign team, and make them clear enough that we don't miss them. Make your thoughts our thoughts and your will our will so we can just do it. In Jesus' name, amen.
5. This week’s reading is _____________. (Use the next reading in our suggested list or choose your own reading). This is what it says. (Read it to the group. Use your own Bible or the free site, biblegateway.com).
6. What stands out to you in what we just read? It could be a main point or just something that jumped out at you.
7. Now I’ll ask _________ to read the same verses in a different translation than I read. (If you need another translation, go to biblegateway.com and use the pick list. The two easiest translations are “The Message” and the “Good News Translation”.) After we read it this time, we will see how well we can summarize it together without looking back at it. OK, go ahead and read it please.
8. OK, I’ll ask ___________ to start us out with a basic summary, like you were helping someone who just arrived late and didn't hear the reading. Then the rest of us will add any other bits we remember. No peeking!
9. What are these verses telling us about God's campaign to bring the mercy of heaven to earth through Jesus and his Spirit? (You can look back at the Bible now.)
Just Do It (10-15 minutes)
During this section your job as leader is to pray silently that people will hear from God about their Just Do It. You want each person to leave the meeting with a Just Do It, but you can't force that to happen. God has to speak and each person has to listen. So pray for that and cheer when you see it happen.
10. Those Bible verses are supposed to help us see ourselves as mercy agents, showing God's mercy and urging people to take advantage of the grace period we are living in. Jesus gave us that role. As the director of God's mercy campaign, he showed us mercy, paying off our sin debt with his lifeblood. Let's show our gratitude by paying attention to whatever he wants to tell us.
What is the Spirit putting in your mind to do as a mercy agent, maybe something from the Scripture we just discussed? Is there someone you should talk to, listen to, apologize to, or forgive?
11. Let’s pray now about doing our “Just-Do-Its”. (Use your own words or something like this) --
Thank you, Lord, for giving us our assignments for the week. Now please give us whatever courage, skill, and spiritual power it will take to get them done. Please prepare situations for us so that people get connected, healed, or blessed as we do our "Just-Do-Its". Let them be our small contributions to a better world because we listened to you together in this group. In the name of Jesus, our sacrifice and our High Priest, we ask these things. Please let them happen.
12. Prep for next week:
Whose turn is it to lead? If nobody knows, assign someone. Encourage anyone who is reluctant.
How are we keeping track of all the Just Do Its so we can do ours and pray for each other during the week? You may skip this if everybody already knows.
Does anybody know they have to miss next week? Rescheduling gets really complicated and is not recommended. When people know they will have to miss, cheer them on. Make sure they know they won't get behind on anything. They just come back and fit right in again.
Let's wrap up with our group cheer about our Just Do Its. I'll say the first part; you join with the second part. Leader says alone: "Don't forget it, don't over-think it, don't avoid it." Leader says with group: "Just do it."