Session for Week 4 - The meeting together

Welcome and introductions
The leader welcomes group members to this Study. With only two more sessions to go ask how members are finding the study and the group. It is not too late to make some changes!



Opening Prayer (2 minutes)
God our Creator
when you speak there is light and life.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit
so that we may listen to one another,
speak the truth in love,
and bear much fruit in the service of your kingdom;
through Jesus our Lord. Amen (APBA


Getting started (7 minutes)

* Share your experiences about meetings. What they are like?

* Is it a positive or frustrating experience?

* If you have any comments on the introduction to this study on Pages 24 & 25, share it with the group.


Read the Scripture passage

Acts 15 : 1-19

* Luke in these verses tells us of the first Council of the Church. The Jerusalem Council resolved the status of Gentiles in the Church.

* Gentiles were increasingly becoming Christians and were to be regarded as full equals with Jewish Christians.

* The Council was a watershed event and paved a way forward. It became a model of how the Church would meet to resolve major challenges.



Questions for reflection
(40 minutes)

1. What would you describe is the point of meeting with others?

2. In what ways do you believe meetings are a way of helping the Church to meet [the??] challenges it faces?

3. How do you believe we actually encounter each other when we meet? Is there trust, openness and a commitment to listen to each other?

4. What do you think of the quote from John Howard Yoder in the Introduction to this study on meetings?

5. How does your church resolve issues over which there is disagreement?

6. Describe how you would change the structure and process of meetings you attend based on this study.

Then at the end of each week is a thought provoking 'extra' (consider this) if the groups wish to go down that trail

The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) gives to us a model of the Church dealing with conflict. It is a community willing to listen to one another, taking time to weigh up the issues. It is a community willing to seeking to empower and help others, setting minimum boundaries only. It is a community willing to subsume personal convictions within the greater goal of seeking to discover God's will in any situation. I recall just such a situation in my previous church where an able group of leaders met to decide who should fill an important post in the church. Opinions varied greatly and a common mind seemed an impossibility. We stopped to pray, in silence, for five to ten minutes, seeking to submit our wills to God's 'ill and discern the mind of God. The result, as we went around the room one by one, was that everyone identified their first choice as the same person. (Robert Warren).

Discussion highlights
Appoint a scribe to jot down (after the discussion), two things that you would like to be included in a report either to the parish or to a joint meeting of a number of study groups that may be meeting in your congregation/parish.

Alternatively, you may like to do this individually and share your points by meeting for a sixth session.


Closing prayer (5 minutes)
The Group may like to use this prayer or add their own prayers.
Heavenly Father, you have promised through your Son Jesus Christ, that when we meet in his name, and pray according to his mind, he will be among us and will hear our prayer. In your love and wisdom fulfil our desires, and give us your greatest gift, which is to know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ our Lord; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.


Enjoy your pancakes. Maybe you could all join the cook in the kitchen and share them there as you help butter them or add jam etc.



Your last study. Plan a small Party! Everyone is to bring something to eat or drink. Think of something special and different.

Read the preparation material for Study 5 on pages 30 & 31

Think and pray about what really matters most to us as a nation and Church.