This session is the fifth in a series designed especially for all-age homegroups, those who meet intergenerationally with members from babes in arms to great grandparents included in the mix. The activities and discussion points are designed to include all members, as they feel able. The sessions are designed to work best in sequence, but you may prefer to dip in, or use the sessions out of sequence if that better meets the needs of your group.
This session explores what it means to belong to the church, in it’s widest sense. It is hoped that through this session, you will explore why it is so important to belong to the body of Christ, and encourage the members of the group to find that place within it. There is also a challenge to think about those who have not yet found their place within this body and what we do about that.
Where possible, begin your time together with a shared meal, or some light refreshments. This is a general time of fellowship for all members of the group to share together and conversation should try to be inclusive of the whole group. As well as a social time of discussion, you could remind the group of some of the things you discussed last time you met, and how these things may have helped shape their every day since you were last together. If you are following this series in order, the previous session was ‘The Bible: the how, what, where, when, why guide’ and at the end of the session, you may have sent families home with some daily Bible notes. It may be helpful to see how they got on with these, perhaps briefly reviewing those that were tried out and swapping around as appropriate.
This opening activity can be done in one of two ways, depending upon your group and the materials you have available to you. You could provide a large sheet of paper in the middle of the group and begin by drawing around a small prize. Then challenge the group to draw and label as many body parts as they can in the outline. Alternatively, you could provide a set of pictures or words of body parts and challenge the group to stick them on the right part of the body of a volunteer. Either of these two activities can be done as a collaborative exercise or as a competitive game, if you prefer.
Explain that during this session, we will be exploring what it means to belong to the body of Christ, the church. This image of all the different parts of the body can be a helpful one as we consider what it means to belong to the church.
Ensure that everyone has access to an appropriate Bible and read Hebrews 10:25. Explain to the group that we shouldn’t get the impression that being church is about going to lots of services and meetings, but rather that there is something very special and important about us gathering together as church, in many different formats. Turn together to 1 Corinthians 12, reading the whole chapter, or perhaps summarising verses 1-11 and reading verses 12-31.
Provide a story basket with a selection of different jigsaw puzzles.
Invite the group to discuss some of the following questions are as most appropriate. These are intended to be discussion starters which you can use to offer practical suggestions for people to try for themselves. Encourage members of all ages to participate in the discussion, intentionally inviting the children to share their responses. If children should drift away as the discussion continues, gather them back together at the end to join together in the praise and prayer sessions.
Some groups may be ready to go deeper in their study. In that case, reread 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 and explore how the group sees these different gifts at work in their own community. Take the time to explain and explore some of these different spiritual giftings, why they are given, what they look like, why they are needed, how they are implemented etc. It may be a useful time of helping the members of the group begin to see some of their own spiritual giftings and how they can use them in the service of ‘the body.’ Find ways that the group can explore and express these giftings further, perhaps within the homegroup or within the wider church community.
Some groups enjoy a time of shared sung praise together, whilst for others this is not helpful. Treat this time as optional, depending upon the needs of your group. For younger children, this can be a great time for joining together with the adults in praise, perhaps using percussion instruments, scarves or ribbons as you sing.
Some song suggestions for this session include:
Gather the group together and explain that we are going to take some time to pray for the members of the church, the body of Christ. Provide an old or blank jigsaw puzzle and ask each member of the group to write their name on a puzzle piece before building it into the jigsaw puzzle. As you do so, pray for the members of the group gathered, that they would know their place in the body of the church. Now ask each member of the group to take another piece of jigsaw puzzle and write the name of someone from the wider church family. (You could do more of these, or just one each as is most appropriate). Find the places for each of these pieces in the jigsaw puzzle, and as you do so pray for these people too, thanking God for the roles they play in your own church community. Now invite everyone to take a third piece of puzzle and invite them to write the name of a Christian friend who belongs to a different local church, or perhaps the name of another local church you are connected to, either nearby or elsewhere in the world. As you add these to the jigsaw puzzle, thank God for the rich diversity that exists in the church worldwide, and pray for those believers in difficult circumstances. Finally, invite everyone to take some of the remaining blank pieces and, as you fit these into the spaces left in the jigsaw, ask God to open your eyes to those who are not yet in the church, that you would have opportunities to share Jesus with them.
End the session by asking everyone to take home the jigsaw piece of one other person in the group and ask them to commit to praying for one another daily. If appropriate, you could also divide up the other pieces and continue to pray for those wider afield.