Fellowship Group, Week 5
Gathered in Christ for Mission: “So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere” (Luke 9:6)
(10 minutes) This is the last Fellowship Group meeting in this 40 Days of Prayer series. This does not mean your gatherings should come to an end. Spend several minutes at the start of this week’s session visiting about the possibility of future group meetings and formats. There are many wonderful small group resources for your group to consider. In the spirit of prayer, read this week’s Gathering Passage from Luke 9:1-6.
(15 minutes) During this series we have explored and experienced the rich blessings of being “Gathered in Christ” and “Gathered in Community.” The daily devotionals this week focused on our final theme: “Gathered for Mission.” Review this week’s readings and journal notes. What fresh insights have you gained from this week’s devotional readings? Which queries were the most meaningful to you? What action steps did you undertake this week?Invite group members to share insights.
(25 minutes) Invite a member of your group to read the following group reflection: I am the son of a master carpenter and over the years I spent many hours watching my father working in his woodshop. My father viewed these times together as opportunities to pass along his skills to me. This began in small ways, by fetching tools and sanding boards. I soon graduated to more advanced tasks like selecting stock, cutting wood, forming joints, and finishing projects. While I do not possess the skills or patience to be a great carpenter, from my father I gained the love for woodworking and many tidbits of woodshop wisdom that I apply to many aspects of my life. This week our Scripture reflection reminds us that we who are “Gathered in Christ” are also “Gathered for Mission.” Like my father passing his woodworking abilities to me, Jesus was intentional about passing along his ministry to others. In this passage, Jesus called his disciples together, anointed them with his authority, and sent them out to do the work he was known for: healing the sick, casting out demons, and proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God. The mission of the Great People to Be Gathered involves both openness to receiving Christ’s authority and courage to be sent out to proclaim the Kingdom’s message of love in word and deed. As we examine our rich heritage we find many testimonies of unstoppable Friends: George Fox, Mary Dyer, John Woolman, Elizabeth Fry, Arthur Chilson, the list goes on and on. Each in his and her way embodied Christ’s authority and courage. Through the global connections of Friends United Meeting we have opportunities to see these qualities in contemporary Friends as well. Yet, we are not being called to just reflect on our history and witness the missional spirit of others. Christ is gathering Friends across the globe for a new and vital mission. During the close of the 2011 Triennial Sessions, Friends received the following commission: The members of Friends United Meeting have an opportunity in this present moment to proclaim a powerful, life-changing message to the world, that Jesus Christ is here, now—available to us all. Our testimonies of simplicity, peace, equality, community, and integrity, speak to a world: hungering for an end to war, violence, and the polarized politics of our day; desiring healing of our environment and healing of fractured relationships, and needing the affirmation of a life lived with God at the center. (Closing Minute, 2011 Triennial Sessions, Wilmington, Ohio)Christ is passing his ministry along to us, anointing us for his mission, and sending us out to proclaim the Kingdom’s message. Queries for reflection and group discussion: • Are we open to receiving Christ’s authority for this mission? What may hinder our openness? • Do we possess the courage to be sent out by Christ? What limits our courage? • As a community “Gathered in Christ for Mission”: Where are we being called? To whom are we being called? In what ways are we being called to proclaim the Kingdom’s message of love with our words and deeds?
(10 minutes)As your Fellowship Group session draws to a close, share community concerns and praises. Give thanks and pray for one another.