This session is the sixth 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 be ‘salt and light’ making a difference in the world. When we live as followers of Jesus, it makes a difference to the way we live. This session helps to unpack the difference that Jesus makes to our lives, not just in our words, but in our actions too.
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 ‘Being together: what’s ‘the church’ all about?’ You may wish to recap some of that, if it helps the discussion.
Prepare a number of bowls of differently flavoured crisps, making sure that you know which flavour is which, but the rest of the group do not. (Depending upon how you share food together, you may like to do this activity during the refreshments time). Set out the different bowls of crisps and invite everyone to sample them (checking for allergies first). Challenge the members of the group to work out which flavour is in each bowl, before revealing the real answers. Explain to the group that today, we are going to be thinking about the way that we ‘add flavour’ to the world, by the way we live our everyday lives.
Encourage the members of the group to have access to their own Bibles and read together Matthew 5:13-16, explaining that this short passage comes from a large block of teaching which Jesus delivered, often called ‘the sermon on the mount.’ This is the largest section of teaching Jesus delivered, focussed on teaching people how they should live.
Provide a story basket with different lights which are safe and appropriate for young children to play with. Depending upon the age of the children in your group, you could include flashing bouncy balls, glow sticks, light sticks, short lengths of battery-operated fairy lights, etc.
Invite the group to discuss some of the following questions are as most appropriate. Be intentional about including all ages in this time of discussion, so far as you are able, rather than expecting them to listen quietly while the adults talk. If the 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 which case look together at James 2:14-26 and discuss how this passage helps to explain how and why we can be salt and light in the world. There are some very real examples here of what it looks like when we put our faith into action, shining like lights in the world, as well as the very real challenge that ‘faith that does nothing is dead.’ (v 26). As a group, you could discuss some of the following questions:
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:
Give each member of the group a candle or tea light to hold. Ensure that the younger members of the group are supervised by parents or other adults within the group and safely light each candle in turn. Pray together, perhaps inviting one or two members of the group to pray aloud, that you would take your light out into the world around you and live your life in a way that shines Jesus’ light.
Invite the group to take their candles home with them, and to take a few moments to light their candles as a family, perhaps each day as they share a meal together. As they do so, perhaps they can talk and pray about what it means for them to be salt and light, in the places they go each day.