Discovery and Development

Discussion leads to discovery.

by Cindy Scott on April 18, 2019

Message-based small groups serve as a vehicle for personal growth through discovery and development. At Worship Center, our mission is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus, helping them find their purpose in him.

When people share their lives and faith journey with each other in small groups, they dig deep into real-life situations and apply God’s Word in a way that transforms their everyday lives. They discover what God has for them and develop a deeper walk.

Message-based discussion differs from a Bible study or a curriculum-based program in that it focuses on the Sunday message and personal application. Regular personal Bible study done alone comes out within the group as individuals process how God is speaking to them. Message-based groups do not replace Bible study but rather encourages people to have personal devotional time in God’s Word.

Discussion is where transformation begins. Discussion leads to discovery and development.

Listening to and loving a message only touches the surface. Agreeing with a message does not necessarily mean application is happening. As a small group discusses the potential options for personal application regarding Sunday's sermon, they do life together. That’s why discussion is where transformation begins. Discussion leads to discovery and development.

When people talk out their thoughts about the message, discovery and development are the outcomes. Verbalizing our thoughts about application possibilities clarifies the discovery process and offers forward movement through personal application.

“Finding our purpose” in God is not a one-time event but rather a lifestyle of being centered in God’s will for our current life situations. This is our Now Story – whatever God is doing in our lives in our present place.

Good discussion questions ask us where we need transformation in our lives and prompt us to decide how God is calling us personally to respond.

“Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." Proverbs 3:6

Message-based groups provide a place to share our thoughts and to hear the thoughts of others. When we have to verbalize our thoughts our personal engagement level goes way up, and when we listen to others process their thoughts we can often see different facets of the same gem.

Oftentimes, there are not necessarily uniform answers of what we should do, but options. The best choices are made by first seeking God individually, and then working through what we believe we hear with others – doing life together.

It’s easy to think that we should find someone who has been through what we are going through, then just have them tell us what to do. But there are times when we are supposed to do things differently than before. Jesus modeled this throughout the New Testament.

Recently at a staff meeting, Pastor Matt read this passage, and it sparked several thoughts regarding the shift to message-based groups.

Walk with me through Luke 5:33-39:

"One day some people said to Jesus, 'John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?'" (v. 33).Just like Jesus, we each need to discern what God is saying to us in the season we are in. Discerning what we are to do in our real lives comes best in sharing our lives with others.

Just like Jesus, we each need to discern what God is saying to us in the season we are in. Discerning what we are to do in our real lives comes best in sharing our lives with others."Jesus responded, 'Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast'" (vv. 34-35).

"Jesus responded, 'Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast'" (vv. 34-35).So, are we supposed to fast or not? I love that the answer to this question is not especially clear. However, if we use the context of all of Scripture, we see that we are supposed to discern what we are supposed to do in faith! The answer then becomes a question, “What is the Spirit of God leading you to do in the season you are in?”

So, are we supposed to fast or not? I love that the answer to this question is not especially clear. However, if we use the context of all of Scripture, we see that we are supposed to discern what we are supposed to do in faith! The answer then becomes a question, “What is the Spirit of God leading you to do in the season you are in?”"Then Jesus gave them this illustration: 'No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins.  But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say" (vv. 36-39).

"Then Jesus gave them this illustration: 'No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins.  But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say" (vv. 36-39).

Old wineskins are not what is needed for new situations. God wants us to interact with him in each situation. In small groups, we can ask questions like, “What it would look like to know his presence and his answer for me right now instead of relying on what worked in the past?”

Most of us want tried and true pathways, but God may have something new. Leading people as they learn to hear from God builds confidence.

Message-based discussion helps people learn:

  • How to hear from God for themselves.
  • Answers may not come quickly but are worth small group care and celebration!
  • They have to choose their own path and the consequences that come with their choices.
  • The Holy Spirit can be trusted to work within them.

New wine and new wineskins are kingdom values. God is offering new wine to us all the time. New can get crazy. New can be unpredictable. But God is in the adventure! When God is offering something new, we don’t want to miss it!

In a small group, there is space to talk about what needs to be talked about for that particular meeting. The leader discerns the direction of the conversation.

Agreeing with a message does not necessarily mean application will take place. That’s why listening to and loving a message is just the beginning. Application through discussion is where transformation begins. Discussion leads to discovery and development.

Message-based small groups are a great leadership adventure, and it’s often easier than other types! Preparing for a message-based group is as easy as choosing where your group might go from the questions offered and then following the Leader (the Holy Spirit) during the session. Sharing your lives together then becomes the norm.

The adventure is priceless!

Tags: discussion, questions, small groups, talk

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