Two weeks ago, on a Friday night, as I was reading through my small group curriculum (yes, AHEAD OF TIME) I noticed a giant red “prohibited” sign glaring at me from one of the pages.
Curious, I read ahead and discovered that in two weeks, after hearing the story of Onesimus, we would do an activity where SGL’s were to ask their students to draw a red “prohibited” sign on a card. Then, the students were to make a list of things that were keeping them from being useful to God. Basically, we were going to ask our group to write out their shortfalls, struggles and sins on a card to share with the group.
YIKES! Talk about being asked to jump in and go deep!
Then, I realized that if I was going to get my students to “go there”, I’d have to take them with me. When I ask my group to write the name of their favorite book or movie on a notecard, I often get blank stares, blank notecards or pictures of puppies or hamsters instead. So, expecting them to enthusiastically start writing a sin list would be like expecting a chicken to knit a cardigan.
As I looked at this activity, I realized that in order to get my group to go through this exercise, it would require me to “go first”. So, I spent the week praying for this lesson, praying for this activity, and most of all praying for God to show me things in my life that I succumb to and that get in the way of allowing Him to use me for His great glory. I prayed for the boldness to share and admit my sin in front of my group. I prayed I would be able to genuinely talk about the times in my life when sin has kept me from being used by God. I practiced simply and clearly explaining how I needed to confess my sin, ask God to help me overcome it, and make the changes I needed to make in my life so that instead of being useless to God, I would be prepared for Him to use me for the reasons He created me the way He did.
The big day arrived, and as I suspected, when I explained the activity (three times as my girls sat there like stones), I took a deep breath, asked God to give me Holy Spirit strength, and I went there. By the end of our few minutes together, each girl had a bunch of words written on each of their cards, and some even spoke up and shared!
I don’t know if life change happened in those few minutes for anyone in my group, but I saw them really think, go through some self-assessment, and write out a few things in their lives that they know aren’t what they want them to be—areas where they struggle and things they would like to change.
Many weeks are filled with fun games or Bible story reviews, but when you have a “deep week”, take the time to prepare. Be ready to “go there” and allow God to work in your group through you.