Hello everyone and welcome to the first mailout from this blog site – Growth Group Resources. These emails are aimed to help you and not to bog you down with extra work! The aim is to feed timely information to your email inbox in order to prepare for your upcoming Growth Group meetings. It is not mandatory information! It is here to help if you need or want it.
I expect that most groups will be getting back together in this first week of February. Since it is a new year it is a good opportunity to restart your group. Even if all of your members are the same from last year, it can be very helpful to welcome the group and go over some basics to make the year feel like a new beginning.
Orientate your group to the group’s culture.
I have found it helpful in the past to talk to the members of my groups about what they expect for the group – what they expect of themselves, of others in the group and of the leaders. You may help the group to uncover areas like growing in gospel maturity, growing in number and in caring for one another pastorally.
Make everybody feel at home. See if you need to organise a supper/morning tea roster. Discuss what you will be doing each time you meet. Discuss how you might follow each other up or pray for one another.
I think it is always a good idea at the beginning of the year to begin the group again. A fresh start!
Beginning a new book of the bible
We will be reading through the book of Romans all year as a church – this is unusual because we would normally divide the year up between Old and New Testaments and between books of the bible and topics. I’m excited to be devoting the bulk of this year to studying this one book because it has been such a life changing book for so many people – maybe you have a story of how it has helped your faith.
In your first study for the year, you may like to help the group get an overview of the whole book of Romans. You could do this in three steps 1) chat about what you know about the book 2) Read Romans 1:1-15 and ask a few observational questions 3) take a helicopter tour through the whole book via a list of memorable verses. You may not have time to do all of what is suggested in this post, so think through what you want to get out of the time together and how you want the meeting to end.
Firstly – Talk about what you know about the book of Romans
Discuss what you all know about the apostle Paul who wrote it. Summarize some points from an introduction to the book from a study bible, or from the New Bible Dictionary. You might discuss some stories of famous people who were influenced by this book (see an article by The Influence of the Letter to the Romans on four theologians – also make use of a discussion of The Theme of Romans_morris).
Secondly – Read and discuss Romans 1:1-15
Read Romans 1:1-7
What do these verses teach us about Paul, the gospel and about Jesus Christ?
Read Romans 1:8-15
What do these verses tell us about the relationship between Paul and the church in Rome? Ie, what is he thankful for? What does he hope for?
What does Paul see as his primary job description?
Thirdly – Look up some memorable verses in Romans.
You might just look up the verses in the first 8 chapters and then let the group read the rest on their own during the week.
3:10-12, 3:20, 3:23-24
4:25, 5:8, 6:14, 6:23, 8:1-2, 8:16, 8:17, 8:28, 8:38-39
12:2, 12:9-10, 13:1, 13:10, 13:11, 14:8, 14:17, 15:20
Prayer for the week:
Dear Father God, thank you for the good news that you have promised from ancient times – the good news regarding your Son who is our Lord by faith. Help us to serve you by knowing the gospel in order to share it with others. We look forward to all that we will learn from Romans and ask for your Spirit of understanding and encouragement. May we also be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith this year. Amen.