Love Where You Live
When was the last time you stopped to think about the influence you have in your life? At home, at work, at the school pickup line, at a child’s sporting event or band concert, where there are people who need to hear that God’s love is for everyone. When you serve others, not only do you honor them, but you honor God, and your influence expands in ways you might never expect.
Weekend in review
In week 1 of this series, we were reminded of the way Jesus was strategic about making an effort to CONNECT with people who were far from God. In week 2, Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan taught us to SERVE our neighbors and love them by helping to meet their needs. Last Sunday, we began a united effort to demonstrate the love of Jesus by launching “21 Days of Serving.” In the 3rd week of the series, we learned 6 ways our various personalities can be wired up to SHARE the Good News about Jesus. In this study, we’ll dive into the Biblical examples of the various styles of sharing Jesus with people.
Begin with some conversation, checking in on how people in your small group are doing. In addition to sharing how your past week has gone, here’s a question to help prepare you for this week’s study together.
What are your greatest fears when it comes to sharing your faith?
- I haven’t been a Christian long enough to know what to say.
- I’m just not an expert at addressing the difficult questions people have about Christianity.
- I’m afraid something I try to say will come out wrong and I’ll turn people off.
- I’m afraid of rejection.
- I’m afraid I won’t effectively communicate the urgency of their putting their faith in Jesus.
- I’m afraid I won’t make the case for Jesus clear enough for people to put their faith in Him.
Select 3-5 styles of sharing one’s faith from the list below to guide your discussion time.
- Peter was an example of an “In-Your-Face” or a confrontational style of sharing one’s faith. Read Acts 2:22-23. What did Peter boldly accuse the Jews of doing? Do you think he was afraid of hurting their feelings? If Peter had any fears, which fears listed above might he have had?
- Read Acts 2:40-41. What 2 things did Peter do as he spoke to the crowd that day? What was the result of his sharing?
- The formerly demon-possessed man is an example of “Life Story” or testimonial style of sharing one’s faith. Read Mark 5:18-20. Where did Jesus direct this man to share his faith? What did Jesus ask the man to share? How much training in evangelism did he have? How many Bible studies had he attended? Nevertheless, what was the result of his sharing?
- In his message this weekend Gene shared, “The world was not turned upside down in the first century by experts, but by everyday people whose lives had been changed by Jesus.” What’s your reaction to this observation? How does it make you feel?
- Dorcus was an example of a “Servant Style” of sharing one’s faith. Read Acts 9:36-42. What kind of reputation did Dorcus have according to verse 36? According to verse 39, what talent and ability did she have, and what was presented as evidence of her servant-hearted lifestyle that caused her to be such an influence on others?
- In the list of fears above, what fears would Dorcus’ serving style of influencing others be able to overcome? (This is one of the reasons our “21 days of service” is so important!)
- The Apostle Paul is an example of an “Intellectual Style” of sharing one’s faith. Read Acts 17:16-17. How is Paul’s Christian witness described in verse 17? In what 2 locations did he use this approach and how often was he trying to help people see the reasonableness of the Christian faith? Paul faced so much opposition to his proclamation of the Christian faith but yet, he seems to be fearless in his witness for Christ. What help did Paul seek to enable him to overcome his fears? Read Ephesians 6:19.
- Matthew represents the “Relational Style” of sharing one’s faith. Tax collectors like Matthew and Zacchaeus were outcasts in their Jewish culture. Nevertheless, Matthew still had a lot of friends with whom he had some influence. He threw a large banquet with Jesus as the guest of honor. Whom did he invite to fill the seats at his banquet? Read Luke 5:27-29. He invited these friends to meet Jesus.
- The woman at the well represents the “Invitational style” of sharing one’s faith. Read John 4:28-30 and John 4:39-42. What happened as a result of one woman’s simple invitation to “Come and see?”
- Which style do you resonate with the most and tell us why?
- Which additional style do you want to develop in order to become more effective in sharing your faith?
- Gene said that only a small minority of us are wired up with the “In-your-face” style of being a witness for Christ. What percentage of Christians do you think could be used by God if they would practice an invitational style of sharing their faith?
- Who could you invite to our Easter services? Make a list!
- We have 2 more weeks left in our “21 days of serving.” What are some specific, doable, simple, ways over the next two weeks that you could be a witness for Christ through acts of service?
wrap up | prayer
Share prayer requests and spend time praying for each other. Let’s specifically pray for open doors to be a witness for Christ and for our acts of service to bear fruit in God’s timing!