material for small groups
the next six weeks on Sundays and in groups we will be looking at themes raised
in Acts 2 v 42-47, through other parts of scripture, under the general title of
Community living is . . . .
BEGINNING 1ST JUNE
Getting to know you!
2. Then please read Genesis 17 v 1-9 and John 15 v 1-8
At the heart of
the Christian faith lies the fact that God is community, he exists eternally as
the relationship of love between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and he
created human beings to share in that relationship. The effect of sin was the
breakdown of relationship. The
breakdown of the relationship between human beings and God reflected in the
breakdown of relationships between human beings. (Think Cain and Abel)
contained in the Old Testament is about how God
These people are
meant to show the whole world what it means to be in relationship with God.
However they constantly fail to live out this calling and so in the New
Testament, God himself fulfils
perfectly what it means to relate rightly to God and other human beings. Being a
Christian is about having a relationship with Jesus, being filled by the Spirit,
so that we in our turn can begin to relate to God and others in the way Jesus
did. This is what is meant by the
language in John 15 where Jesus is described as the vine and we as the branches.
How does sin disrupt your relationship with God and other people?
How has being a Christian helped you to grow in your relationship with
God and others?
Our current vision as a church is:-
the Gospel as we are commanded to do
in the words of the Great Commission in Matthew chapter 28 and verses 19, 20 and
as we further reflect on the scriptures and especially Acts chapter 2 verses
we aim to be
fellowship (community) in which people can find God’s love and forgiveness
fellowship in which every member can be encouraged to grow
fellowship which serves the local community
church that is a support base for mission and wider ministry
28 and verses 19, 20:
go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I
have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Acts chapter 2
devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the
breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders
and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together
and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to
anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple
courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere
hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord
added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Here at St
Barnabas, we express our community both by meeting together Sunday by Sunday and
at prayers during the week, and by meeting together in small groups.
groups meet together for four purposes:-
to get to know God better,
to get to know each other better,
to share faith and
to serve the church (both locally and more
widely) and the local community.
As a group,
discuss how you will practically achieve these four purposes. Please note down
your ideas below and be as specific as possible.
At the end of
your session, agree with your group leader what ideas arising from your
discussion, he / she should take to the Group Leaders meeting on 8th June.
BEGINNING 8TH JUNE
Time to share
Please read Titus 2 v 1-15
The letters of 1
and 2 Timothy and Titus are commonly grouped
together as the Pastoral Epistles, and are thought to have been written around
65/66 AD while Paul was imprisoned in Rome.
Timothy we hear of often in Acts and it is most likely he was a first
century convert to Christianity during Paul’s first missionary journey, and he
was closely associated with Paul on his second and third journeys.
Who was Titus?
Titus is not
referred to in Acts but we find him mentioned in Galatians chapter 2 v 1,
3 where we learn he was a Greek and 2 Corinthians chapter 8 v 16 to 24, where
Titus is described by Paul as his partner and fellow worker and was obviously
trusted by many in the church. See also 2 Corinthians chapter 12 v 18.
Why was Paul
writing to him?
words in Titus chapter 1 v 5 his task now is to supervise the churches in
the reason I left you in
and in chapter 1
claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable,
disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
and in chapter 2
teaches us to say No to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live
self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age
Chapter 2 v 1-10
is therefore a response to the situation, giving instructions to Titus about
what to teach different groups of people
so that their actions will be consistent with their claim to know God. (see
chapter 1 v 16a)
Questions to ponder
There is an
underlying presumption that, living according to this sound doctrine Titus has
to teach, will challenge people’s thoughts and actions.
Are there parts
of scripture that present group members with particular challenges for the way
they live? Does this passage in
Titus or personal experience give help in how to meet these challenges?
What are the
important things of which Paul reminds Titus, in v 11-15, that will give
Christians the necessary motivation to face the challenges of Christian
(v 14 might help
Please share what
verses 13 and 14 mean to you personally.
BEGINNING 15TH JUNE
1. Time to share
Discuss your hopes and questions about Back
to Church Sunday on September 27th PCC
members discussed this matter at their meeting in May
read Ephesians 4 v 1-16
The Letter to the Ephesians is described by
some scholars as the gospel of the church. Here in this letter is a vision of a
renewed human community - a church, a place of light which stands out against
the sombre background of the surrounding world.
There are a number of contrasts that come out
from the letter.
This renewed church is characterised by:-
life not death
by unity and reconciliation not
division and alienation
by righteousness not corruption
by love and peace not hatred and
by unremitting conflict with evil
instead of compromise.
The reason we are studying Ephesians 4 is
because it is one of the major biblical passages that looks at the idea of the
growth of a church.
In Acts we see the story of the numerical
growth of the church as it spreads throughout the Mediterranean world, in
Ephesians 4, Paul looks at the spiritual growth of the church, it’s growth
into the kind of community that God desires for it.
Questions to ponder
What does it mean for the life of St Barnabas
church to “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace?”
Ephesians 4 v 3
What gifts of ministry has God given to this
church in order to build up our corporate life?
How might they be exercised more effectively?
Ephesians 4 v 14-16 paint a picture of the
growth of the church, as the Body of Christ. In
practical ways, how can we make this picture a reality here at St Barnabas?
BEGINNING 22ND JUNE
living is . . .
Time to share
Please talk about
“A Summer Delight” - making this an occasion of fellowship - sharing a
midday picnic together and a time of service and witness as we stay and welcome
invited contacts amongst us at 3.00pm.
Please read 1 Corinthians 11 v 17-34
letter to the Corinthian church letter address two issues:-
of the Corinthians to split off into small groups who were competitive and
judgemental with each other,
2. the propensity of the Corinthians to
wander away from the gospel Paul had taught, both in belief and behaviour.
Questions to ponder
regularly sharing Holy Communion together help in strengthening our life as a
Christian community? (see verses 23-26)
whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will
be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
What does this
mean for us today?
What sort of
spiritual preparation should we undertake before coming to a service of Holy
Communion? (verses 28,29)
BEGINNING 29TH JUNE
living is . . .
Time to share:
what the terms ‘healing’ and ‘wholeness’ mean to you as Christians and
how those outside of the Church fellowship may have a different understanding.
Are they concepts that apply only to individuals or can they also apply to
probably the brother of Jesus and a leader in the Jerusalem church, wrote this
open letter to Jewish Christians who had been scattered throughout the
Mediterranean world because of persecution and were living in hostile Gentile
expresses his concern that these Christians were professing to follow Christ and
to put their trust in God but that their actions belied this fact and did, in
fact, contradict the gospel.
In an energetic
style, James confronts them, and us, with the fact that it is not enough to talk
the Christian faith – one must also live out that faith on a daily basis.
Chapter 2 verse 14 says “what good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have
faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?”
In his letter,
James provides guidance on all aspects of Christian living and, in the passage
we have just read, James reminds us of the power of prayer and the link between
sin and sickness (verse 16), forgiveness and salvation (verse 20).
Questions to ponder:
When read in the
context of our being part of the Body of Christ, what picture is James seeking
to portray in verses 13 – 16?
‘Elijah was a
man just like us’ (v17). Why do you think James makes this reference to Elijah
and how does it reflect on our own expectations of prayer?
How do you think
that we at St Barnabas could seek to use the power of prayer more effectively to
bring the relief of God’s healing and wholeness more widely into our
yourselves of the differences you identified between a Christian understanding
of healing and wholeness and that of non-believers. How can the two be
reconciled in an honest and meaningful way without
BEGINNING 6TH JULY
living is . . . . sharing in fellowship
Time to share
Summer Delight” - an occasion of fellowship, sharing a midday picnic
together and a
time of service and witness as we stay and welcome invited contacts amongst us
at 3.00pm (Please remember there is no 10.30am service on 12 July) Please pray
for those who have been invited; Pre-school, Tots Club, Cradle Roll etc.
Share with your
group how you “chatter” the good news, so that we can encourage and equip
each other to be effective witnesses both now and through the summer as we think
about Back to Church Sunday.
Please read 1 John 3 verses 11-24
It is thought
that 1, 2 and 3 John were the last New Testament letters to be written down. The
writer was almost certainly the disciple John, responsible also for writing the
gospel of John and Revelation.
It is clear from
reading all of 1 John that its readers were being faced with a form of false
teaching which denied the incarnation - God made flesh in Jesus. In
refuting this and other associated teaching, John also seeks to bring his
readers assurance and a true knowledge of what faith implies.
His three marks
of a true knowledge of God and of fellowship with God are:
In verses 11-24
John encourages Christians to love God and each other and in a very practical
and down to earth way reminds Christians that it is no good saying you love God
if you hate other people. (verses 11-15)
3. Questions to
would you give if asked, by someone outside the faith, to show that those of us
who are Christians at St Barnabas love each other?
How does the
teaching in verses 17 and 18 apply to us here at St Barnabas?
Do we ‘receive
from him anything we ask’? (verse 22) If not, why not?
Why do you think
abiding in Christ is linked to keeping God’s commandments? (verse