In this session we explore the need to be a good listener in evangelism, to hear people’s stories, ask good questions and find the connection points between their story and God’s story. Being a good friend is about really understanding someone, hearing their worldview and the experiences that have shaped them and being genuinely interested in who they are.
By the end of this session group members should be able to:
Read: Story Bearer – Chapters 8
Offer an opportunity to anyone who wants to show off their homework, having practised their story, to share what they have done with the rest of the group.
Take the listening quiz on pages 75-76 of Story Bearer as a group. Take each question one by one and discuss each one, but don’t take it overly seriously. It is meant as a light-hearted opportunity to self-reflect on our listening skills and is an opportunity to laugh at ourselves. Here is the quiz in full for reference:
John 4: 1-29
This is an opportunity to think about our friendships. Ask each group member to take a piece of paper and put their name in the centre. Draw a circle round your name and then draw a number of concentric circles around the central circle so that there are 4-5 layers and the sheet looks a bit like a target. Encourage the group to think about the friendships they have and how deep those friendships are.
Begin to populate the paper with the names of these people , the closer you feel a friendship is, the closer they are to the centre. Encourage the group to prayerfully consider where God is asking them to deepen their relationships with friends on their paper and mark these names with an arrow pointing inwards to the centre of the circles. The group may also like to ask God where the connection points are with individuals who do not know Him yet and these could be added to the paper.
At the end of the activity, invite group members to share if they want to.
(There is a bit of swearing at 1:12 you may want to mute at this point)
Phil writes about this video later in Story Bearer – pages 126-128 – and uses it as an example of how God uses us in the world to make a difference in the lives of our friends. The encouragement is that God is always at work in our friends lives before we even get there, our job is to observe where he is at work and join in. Listening, sharing our story and the relevant bits of God’s story are a great way of doing this.
Using the Coldplay video as a prompt, encourage the group to think about what their sign would be to God to join in with what he is doing in the world, and especially the lives of our friends. On a new piece of paper, or even better, on the other side of the one used
Returning to the names activity, encourage group members to write down where they feel God is calling them to be active with him and commit to something new – this could be . Here are some potential examples:
Again, people can choose whether they share these or not with the rest of the group and if feeling particularly expressive, can hold them above their heads like the boy at the Coldplay concert!
Close the session with a time of prayer for each group member that they would be able to do what they have felt challenged to with God’s help.