1. Blindfold Maze
Set up an obstacle course ahead of time with different objects in the way of the path. Leader also provides enough blindfolds for the whole group. First, blindfold each person in the group and instruct them to walk through the maze without bumping into any of the objects. (Leader ensures that group members are all safe and do not injure themselves.) Then, have half of the group keep their blindfolds on and the other half of the group pair up with them and help lead them through the maze safely. Afterwards, discuss the importance of community and having someone else walk alongside you through life.
2. Presidential Trivia
Give everyone in your group a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. Give them 3 minutes to write down the names of as many presidents as they can. (No cell phones or resources allowed!) After the three minutes, have group members tally how many names they recorded. Then, pair your group up into teams of 3-4 people. Again, give them 3 minutes to try to create a list of all the presidents. At the end of the time, have each group tally how many names they recorded. Finally, have your entire group work together for 3 minutes to see if they can list all the presidents. Tally how many names they recovered in the time. Discuss how much easier it was to work together as a team and in a community than on your own.
3. Community Meal
If your group does not typically eat together, plan a simple potluck-style meal together. Everyone can contribute something. Dine together like the believers in the book of Acts and enjoy each other’s fellowship.
1. Read Genesis 3:1-8, particularly verse 8. Describe what happened to the relationship Adam and Eve had with God. What was the culprit? How can sin affect our wiliness to gather with others?
• Sin, specifically rebellion against God, (See Romans 5:12-14) separated Adam and Eve from God. They were ashamed and tried to isolate themselves from God. Sin causes us to isolate from others. Remember, Satan works best when we are isolated and reclusive.
2. Read Acts 2:42-47, which describes many characteristics of the early church. Which one stands out to you and why?
• The listed characteristics are devoted to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread (probably meaning communion), prayer, sense of awe, signs and wonders, were together, had all things in common, sold possessions to share with those in need, of one mind (unity), at the temple, having meals together in homes with gladness and sincerity, praising God, having favor with all, and people being saved day by day.
3. (A) In what ways is fellowship distinct from socializing? (B) Describe a time when you experienced fellowship.
• The Greek word for fellowship is koinonia, meaning a communal fellowship-- all participate, contribute and share with each other. The early church understood this so well that they would sell their possessions to provide for another who was in need. Socializing does not have this communal mindset and sharing of everything.
4. What societal trends, modern conveniences, and personal beliefs work against a Christian remaining in fellowship with the Lord and other Christians?
• Examine American individualism and materialism against the practices of believers in the passage. Consider also the cultural spin-cycle in which we live.
5. Tuesday’s Pathway Devotional focused on the miraculous work of God witnessed by a small group that consistently gathered together in fellowship. Some aspects of fellowship with other Christians are highlighted in Hebrews 10:24-25. What are they? Based on verses 22-23, what is the driving force to this fellowship?
• Our driving force is the assurance of faith, a clean conscience, and our hope in Christ. Our fellowship flows from this to a desire to express our faith and love for the body of Christ outwardly; coming together to motivate and encourage one another.
6. Acts 2:43 describes the awe brought about by the miraculous work of God in signs, wonders, and regeneration. When have you been awed by something the Lord did? How do we retain that sense of awe in the day to day of life?
• Consider: What causes us to lose the awe of God in the first place? Could it be lack of fellowship, encouragement, devotional time, distractions etc.? Have we drifted away from those disciplines, do we lack focus, are we too busy? Which is more real to us, the world around us or the full assurance of our faith?
7. Why do you think it worked for all the believers to have everything in common?
• Discuss how selflessness and the fruit of the Spirit make this possible. See Gal. 5:22-26. The desire to accumulate wealth can often inhibit our generosity and can affect our willingness to give up time and resources.
8. (A) Why do you think they had "favor with all the people"? (B) What can you do to have favor with others? (C) Since our goal is to please the Lord, not others, how should we act when standing for righteousness that may not be popular?
• The fruit of the Spirit applies here as well. Our love shines through, (John 13:34-35).
Think of a member in your small group who may be drifting away and isolating themselves from other Christians. As a group, pray for this person to return to the group and pray that the Holy Spirit will lead each member to embrace, love, and support this person as they rekindle their relationship with the group.
1. Recall your answer to discussion question #2. What can you do to help make this characteristic more of a reality at Bethel?
2. The early church was in the habit of having meals together in their homes. Why is this important? This week, make it a priority to invite someone you recently met to dinner and share the gospel with them.
3. Take a look at the “One Anothers” (just below this application point). Consider and pray this week about how you might implement some of these through your interactions with the body of Christ.
• Consider using this handout as an ongoing weekly self-check for the group. Pick one of the one anothers each week and ask the group how it is going in this area of their walk.
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. Titus 3:3
But Jesus said…
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35.
And the authors of the New Testament, by the Holy Spirit, said…
Be devoted to one another... Romans 12:10
Honor one another above yourselves... Romans 12:10
Live in harmony with one another... Romans 12:16
[Be] willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited... Romans 12:16
...Stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way... Romans 13:8
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7
…instruct one another... Romans 15:14
Greet one another... Romans 16:16
…agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you…perfectly united in mind and thought... 1 Cor 1:10
…serve one another in love... Gal 5:13
[Bear] with one another in love... Eph 4:2
Be kind and compassionate to one another... Eph 4:32
Speak to one another with Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs... Eph 5:19
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ... Eph 5:21
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you... Col 3:13
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom... Col 3:16
…encourage one another and build each other up... 1 Thes 5:11
Spur one another on... Heb 10:24
Let us not give up meeting together…but let us encourage one another... Heb 10:25
Do not slander one another... James 4:11
Confess your faults one to another and pray one for the other that ye may be healed… (KJV) James 5:16
…live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 1 Pet 4:9
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin… 1 John 1:7