This session is the eighth and final session 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.
Session 6 explored what it means to live as salt and light, making a difference in the world, this session looks more specifically at what it means for us to share the good news of Jesus with other people; why we needs to share this good news and how we tell our own stories of faith.
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 ‘Where is God when life is tough?’ It may be helpful to talk about some of the things that may have come up since then, or recap the series as you draw to a close?
Explain to the group that you are going to begin by playing a ‘pass it on’ game. Depending upon the group, this could be a game of Chinese whispers, the traditional party game; ‘find the ring,’ or perhaps even pass the parcel. Explain that during this session, we are going to be thinking about what it means for us to ‘pass on’ our faith, our stories and the good news of Jesus.
Encourage the members of the group to have access to their own Bibles and read Matthew 28:16-20. Explain to the group that these are the last words Jesus spoke to His followers before He returned to heaven. They are his final instructions or goodbye speech; a message about what they need to do now He is no longer with them on Earth.
Provide a story basket with picture book stories which are well known or familiar to the children, which they can ‘retell.’ You could also include a number of play figures to help children relate to passing on a story from person to person, and perhaps a small globe for them to hold.
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 you could explain that sometimes we have the opportunity to share our faith story with people but are we always ready to do so? It’s a good idea to think about what we might say to someone when they ask us what it means for us to follow Jesus. You could take some time to discuss some of the opportunities people have had to share their faith and what they have done in those moments, or you could perhaps challenge the group to tell their own testimony in only one minute!
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:
Since this is the last session in the series, with a focus on going out, take the opportunity to pray for one another, perhaps in pairs or trios. Take some time to talk about the different opportunities each of you have in the course of an ordinary week, some of the challenges you face, the places you go and the people you see. Take some time to pray that you would have opportunities to share your story, and the courage to take those opportunities. Commit to praying for one another after the session has closed, perhaps finding ways to connect and update one another, as appropriate. Please note, it is really important that this is seen as the mission of every member of the group, so find safe ways to include the children in this journey.
As you draw this session to a close, take the opportunity to ‘commission’ your families as they go out into their world. You could reread verses 19-20 over them, and encourage them, as they continue on their faith journey, to be sharing Jesus and making disciples as they go. If your group respond well to something more tactile, you could end with a reflective activity. Make a set of paper dolls, by concertina folding paper, drawing a person on the front and cutting them out. On each person, ask the group members to write the name of one friend with whom they want to share Jesus and encourage them to put it on display, at home, as a reminder to keep praying for those friends.