The BIG IDEA:
Starting a conversation is the first “sound barrier” to break when seeking to have an impact for Christ in a person’s life.
It can be hard to start a conversation with someone.
Trust God for the grace to step beyond ourselves and step conversationally into another person’s life.
A roller coaster is an exciting ride with a lot of ups and downs. While the risk keeps some people from even starting, most of us would agree that it’s a ride well worth going on. Starting conversations with people with the hopes of getting into the gospel is the same way. It is risky, and you never know when the ups, downs, turns, or jerks will happen, but it is well worth the ride.
- What I want the group to know and understand: Starting a conversation is a key step in having an impact for Christ in another person’s life. Jesus reproduces his initiative in my life when I trust him to fill me with his Spirit.
- What I want the group to experience: Excitement at the thought of starting and having good conversations with people God brings into our lives.
- How I want the group to respond: By taking steps of faith in the power of the Spirit to start conversations with those God brings into our lives.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
It’s been said that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a first step. When it comes to having an impact for Christ in another person’s life, one of those first steps is starting a conversation with someone. For some of us, that can be really scary. The only way to get outside ourselves is to look to Christ. He left the comfort of heaven because he cared enough to step into our lives. When we trust him to fill us with his Spirit, he reproduces that same heart in us that leads us to take the sometimes uncomfortable step of starting a conversation with someone.
This study and the next two in this series focus on the same Bible passage, where Jesus is having a conversation with a woman about himself. Each study focuses on a different aspect of Jesus’ conversation with this woman that we can learn from and put into practice as we talk with people.
The idea box is a place where you can find some creative ideas for leading this study. You might find videos, activities, or great illustrations that really bring the main point home. The ideas come from small group leader like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
Ivan has been in Jon’s math class for the past couple days. Ivan is new in town and new at school. Jon noticed that Ivan has been sitting in class but not getting to know anyone. Jon would like to reach out to Ivan, but he feels awkward about that because the only thing he knows about him is his name. What would you say to Jon to coach him in starting a conversation with Ivan?
1. Read John 4:3-6. What’s happening with Jesus in these verses?
Jesus is going from Judea to Galilee (parts of modern-day Israel). He has to pass through a region called Samaria and stops at a town named Sychar. Jesus is tired from his trip and is sitting by a well about the sixth hour (noon).
2. Read John 4:7-9. How does Jesus start a conversation with a woman who comes to get water from the well?
Jesus asks the woman to give him a drink.
3. What can we learn from the way Jesus starts a conversation with the woman?
Allow the group to discuss. He starts a conversation based on something they have in common: water. He’s thirsty, and she’s there to get water. He is also direct in the way he starts the conversation with her.
4. What does the woman’s response to Jesus say about the barriers Jesus needs to overcome to start talking to her?
Allow the group to discuss. It is a barrier for him as a man to talk to her since men in that culture (in Jesus’ time) don’t associate publicly with women. It is also a barrier for them to associate ethnically since he is Jewish and she is a Samaritan.
5. Who do you think God is calling you to start a conversation with as a first step to helping them know about Jesus? Why is starting a conversation so important if you want someone to know about Jesus?
Allow the group to discuss. If they seem stuck, help them think about friends, family members, classmates, teammates, co-workers, or neighbors. Encourage your group to see that this is one of the first key steps in pointing this person to Jesus. Pointing people to Jesus happens in relationships. Starting a conversation is a key step toward beginning or growing a relationship.
6. What is something you have in common with this person that could help with starting a conversation?
Allow the group to discuss. It may also be helpful to split your group into pairs or triplets. If they seem stuck, help them think about common friends (people they both know), common interests (like sports or music), or common experiences (like being in a class or club together).
7. Based on how your group answered the last question, brainstorm with each other some ways you could start a conversation.
Allow the group to brainstorm different ideas for starting conversations with the person each one identified.
8. What barriers will you need to trust God to overcome to start a conversation with this person?
Allow the group to discuss. Help your group think about things like being a different gender, coming from a different ethnicity, having different interests or personalities, or not feeling like we know what to say.
9. Read Acts 1:8. How can the Holy Spirit help you take the first step in being a witness (representative) for Christ to this person by starting a conversation with him or her?
Allow the group to discuss. The Holy Spirit helps us see that people really are lost without Jesus. He helps us care about people the way God does. And he helps us know what to say to start conversations with them.
10. When do you think God wants you to start a conversation with this person?
Allow the group to discuss. Encourage the people in your group to take a step of faith and start a conversation as soon as possible with the person they identified. Pray with your group that God’s Spirit would empower them to take these steps of faith in starting conversations.
Our review cards are an excellent way to review your past lessons with your students before each study. Not every lesson has one yet but if we have them, you can find them on the PRINT page. Check them out and use them each week to help your students grab hold of the truths in these studies.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.