Thrive Studies

Community – Leader's Guide

Thrive Studies

Community

WE'RE BETTER TOGETHER

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The BIG IDEA:
When God’s people come together and center their lives on Christ, people see Jesus, come to Him, and find him to be more than enough for all their needs.

The PROBLEM:
We feel that our part in God’s family is not important. We want to go it alone and not be vitally connected to God’s family through a Christ-centered local church or small group.

Our RESPONSE:
Live out our faith in Christ by connecting with other believers through Bible studies, a local church, and encouraging others locally and globally in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The IMAGE:

In a puzzle, there is a place for everyone and the puzzle is not complete until all the pieces are in place. In the same way, God has designed us each to function best when we are plugged into a Christian community. We need them, and they need us. We’re better together.

Learning Objectives:

What I want the group to know and understand: We were created in the image of God and reflect him best when we play our part in his family and live in connection with other believers in Jesus Christ.

What I want the group to experience:
The joy and encouragement that comes from serving and learning from other believers as we live out our life in Jesus Christ.

How I want the group to respond: Become a part of a Christ-centered local church, connect with other believers (in particular in a small group) for learning and encouragement, and see ourselves as a vital part of the global body of Christ.

Launch

Tia placed her faith in Jesus last month, and she’s already felt the difference he’s made in her life. She has a joy and peace she never had before. She finds herself thinking about others when her life used to be pretty self-absorbed. And she’s been growing in meaningful friendships with other followers of Christ that have been really refreshing to her. But she’s wondering how God wants her to relate to these friends who share her faith in Christ. She’s heard people say that going to church is important, but it seems like there should be more to it than that.

What advice would you give Tia?

Explore

1.  Read Acts 2:42-47, which is a snapshot of the Christian community that existed in Jerusalem in the days shortly after Jesus’ death and resurrection. What kind of things stand out to you about their community?
Allow the group to discuss. They were devoted to the apostles’ teaching, being together, and praying together. God was working powerfully among them, particularly through the apostles. Love for each other was more important than holding on to their stuff, so they were generous with each other. They were together in large- and small-group settings. They were glad and were praising God. God was adding more new followers of Christ to their number day after day.

2.  Verse 42 says they were devoted to the teaching of the apostles (the leaders of God’s people at this time), living life together (some translations say “the breaking of bread”), and prayer. Why do you think they were devoted to these things?
Allow the group to discuss. Learning more about Jesus, spending time with people who shared a relationship with Jesus, and connecting with Jesus in prayer are all things that fuel life’s most important relationship – a relationship with God – so it makes sense that they would want to focus on them.

3.  Verse 43 says they kept feeling a sense of awe and that God was doing great things among them. How do you think this fed their desire to be together?
Allow the group to discuss. Having the sense that God was at work among them and seeing him do great things right before their eyes made them want to be together all the more so that they could continue to experience more of that together.

4.  Verses 44-45 show that people were more important to them than possessions. How do you think this kind of generosity affected their relationships with each other?
Allow the group to discuss. Experiencing this kind of generosity likely drew them closer to each other and to Jesus, the ultimate example and source of this kind of generosity.

5.  Verse 46 shows that they continued regularly in the temple (a large-group setting) and in homes (a small-group setting). Why do you think both were important for their growth with God?
Allow the group to discuss. Coming together in a large-group setting likely reminded them their relationship with God was so much bigger than one person alone with God. Coming together in a small-group setting contributed to building relationships and caring for individual needs.

6.  Verse 46 also states they did common, everyday things together, like eating meals. How do you think this contributed to growth with God and each other?
Allow the group to discuss. It increased the bonds with God and with each other. Seeing God in each others’ lives likely helped them appreciate God even more.

7.  Why do you think that praising God (verse 47) was a regular part of their lives together?
Allow the group to discuss. God was doing so many amazing things among them on a regular basis that it must have been hard not to praise him!

8.  What difference do you think it made for this community that new followers of Christ were joining every day (verse 47)?
Allow the group to discuss. It must have added to the excitement of what God was doing. It likely gave fresh perspective to those who had been followers of Jesus for a longer time. It gave opportunities for older believers to take younger ones under their wings.

Apply

9.  How do you think God would use this kind of community if it were a regular part of your life?
Allow the group to discuss.

10. What’s a step you think God wants you to take in his power to experience more of this kind of community in a large-group and small-group setting?
Allow the group to discuss.


Find more resources and ideas for teaching this study online at thrivestudies.com/community or cru.org/highschool

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