11 Oct Discussion Guide: The Art of Neighboring Week 5
What “Next Steps” did you take over the past week in attempting to connect with your neighbors? How did that go?
Take some time to pray for your neighborhoods/neighbors as we begin this series. Ask God to open doors and give you a heart and a desire to love your neighbors as you love yourself.
To begin the discussion, watch The Art of Neighboring video for week 5.
What was your big take away from this week’s reading and/or video? What stuck out to you? What did you like? What was difficult or confusing?
Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”
How often do you tend to ask for help from someone outside of your immediate family? Why?
How do you feel when you have to ask for help, or when someone offers to help when they see you need it? Why is that?
Why do you think feeling weak, or feeling like you can’t do something on your own, has become such a negative thing in our culture?
How does the Gospel empower us to be ok with our weakness and ask others for help in those areas?
1 Kings 17:8-16
”Then the word of the Lord came to him, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.”
Why do you suppose God didn’t just give Elijah what he needed? Why would God want Elijah to have to ask for help from a non-Jewish widow?
What was the result of Elijah’s asking the widow for help?
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
”Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
How does a common weakness, or common need, help bridge the gap between being a stranger and being a friend?
What are your neighbors knowledgeable and/or passionate about?
How could you enter into their world and allow them to use that knowledge/passion to serve you?
At the conclusion of each gathering we will do 3 things. Often groups lose track of time and end up rushing through the second half of the content. We strongly believe that these 3 exercises are the most important part of this study. If you only have time to do one section each week…do this one!
Do the Block Map – Take out the block map and fill it in right now… just start with the names of your neighbors. Download Block Map here.
Go around the room and share how many of the names you knew? Did you have any epiphanies as you did this exercise? What did you learn or feel as a result of doing this exercise? Most people naturally feel a little guilty when they realize how little they know about their neighbors. Allow people to feel what they feel, but this is definitely NOT the time to try to make people feel guilty or that they are not doing enough. Allow God to work on people in HIS timing. As a host you might feel like you should know more of your neighbors since you are a host. Avoid that temptation. We are all on this journey together and we all have room to grow. Let people see you are real and honest and that you don’t have it all figured out either. Your group will trust you more for your honesty! Write the names of your neighbors by listing out the names of the adults and children of the 8 closest houses or apartment units next to you. Pay attention to the blank spaces Take a second and identify each of the neighbors and decide if they are a stranger, acquaintance, or relationship.
Identify one neighbor that you are going to pray for during the next week. Take time to pray in the group for the neighbors that were mentioned.
Share one small “next step” that you feel God is calling you to take in the next 7 days.