Life in the Community
The Point: Loving Jesus means personally helping those in need.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to supplement Question #1.
Begin by sharing the following news story:
A man walked into Sweet Sammies ice cream shop in Ft. Worth, Texas, on April 8 to ask the employees if they could validate his parking pass. Unless a business validates the parking passes, parking along that street costs $20. The employees told the man, known only as Mr. Gary, that “yes” they could validate the pass. He was surprised and pleased, so to express his gratitude he offered to pay for every customer’s ice cream. At first, Mr. Gary said he would stop paying for ice cream when the bill reached $100. But as time passed, he kept raising the limit on what he would pay. Finally, after almost three hours, sitting at the counter by the cash register and paying for every customer, Mr. Gary had bought $1300 worth of ice cream for customers. He also gave each employee a $100 tip. By the end of the night, the receipt was 7-feet long. The security camera in the shop shows happy customers one after another giving Mr. Gary hugs and posing for photos with him.
Say: Mr. Gary’s kindness and generosity made a lot of ice cream customers happy that night.
Then read Question #1 (What’s the kindest thing someone has ever done for you?)(PSG p. 134) and invite volunteers to respond to the question.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
— Donna McKinney wrote this Leader Extra. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
Live It Out
Create handouts of the following and invite group members to complete this individually. Then, discuss the follow-up questions aloud with the entire group.
Because of our differing contexts, personalities, careers, and homes, every Christian has a different approach to and level of involvement in his or her community. Regardless of these variables, it’s clear God desires each Christian to effectively expand the kingdom exactly where they are.
Place a dot on each line below as the most accurate representation of where you believe yourself to be.
I know most of my neighbor’s names, who lives in their houses and what they do:
I participate in the community events where my immediate neighbors are to be found
Nope Of course
I spend most of my spare time with my fellow church members doing church things, keeping me from my community
Not at all Totally accurate
I would consider moving to a community in need instead of the top tier of my price range
That’s really hard for me I absolutely would
Looking at your dots, consider the following questions:
- What observations do you have regarding yourself and how you are or are not involved in your community?
- Which activities in your life might be replaced with ones that put you in community with lost neighbors? (A secular book club instead of a Christian one; a community softball league instead of a church league, etc.)
- Why might our neighbors feel hesitant to respond to our message and acts of service if we aren’t committed to day-to-day life with them?
Emily Jennings (M.A., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) lives in the metro-Atlanta area and teaches the Bible at First Baptist Church Woodstock. She is married to Brian, has three wonderful sons and pretends to be a runner. Find her on Instagram and Twitter: @emilyejenn
- What’s one of the best things somebody has ever done for you?
- What’s the kindest thing someone has ever done for you?
- What is the worst customer service experience you’ve ever had?
- What’s one of your favorite hangouts around town?
- If you could solve one problem in society, what would it be? Why?
- What are some reasons you think that it is hard to distinguish sheep from goats when looking at them on the surface?
- How are we serving Christ when we meet human needs?
- How easy or hard is it to treat every person we meet as if they were Jesus?
- Why do you think most Christians fail to see the needs of the poor and the outcast?
- What modern circumstances come to mind when you read these verses?
- What emotions do you experience when you seen an opportunity to meet a need?
- What emotions do you experience when others show kindness to you?
- How does our church minister to the different circumstances mentioned in these verses?
- What are some ways you can deal with doubt when it comes to your salvation?
- How should the fact that Jesus is coming back some day affect the way we live today?
- What are some things that might keep us from reaching out to those who need our help?
- What is wrong about the statement, “I love Jesus, but can’t stand the church”?
- How can we avoid running away when we are hurt by someone in the Body of Christ?
- How can we open our eyes and hearts to those who are hungry, thirsty, sick, and imprisoned?
- In what practical ways can we be more welcoming to strangers who visit our church?
- List some things the church can do to reach “the least of these.”
- What are some things your church does to seem welcoming to visitors? What can be seen as unwelcoming?
- With so many needs, how do we decide where to help?
- What is something we could do as a group to serve Jesus by serving “the least of these?”
- How do we choose between the needs in our community and the needs beyond?
- How would you describe your ideal method for serving others?
- What obstacles are currently holding us back from meeting the needs in our church?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional:
Here’s a brief five-minute teaching video about this session: Identity, Session 5.