The BIG IDEA:
Overcoming the fear of awkwardness or losing a relationship and bringing up spiritual matters is the second “sound barrier” to break when seeking to have an impact for Christ in a person’s life.
It feels a lot easier and safer to talk about lighter topics like sports and the weather than it does to talk about spiritual matters. Sometimes a less mature love for God and others makes it difficult to bring up spiritual topics with people who desperately need to know Jesus.
Trust God for the courage to bring up spiritual matters when talking with people.
A glass of water quenches thirst. It’s what a thirsty person really needs. In the same way, people don’t need more shallow conversations, they need deeper conversations full of spiritual truth. They need spiritual conversations that lead to Jesus.
- What I want the group to know and understand: The importance of bringing up spiritual matters in conversation and some ideas about how to do that.
- What I want the group to experience: Excitement about bringing up spiritual matters and conviction about the need to do so.
- How I want the group to respond: By taking Spirit-empowered steps of faith to bring up spiritual matters in conversations.
The SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
It’s typical and comfortable to focus conversation on sports, the weather, and other “light” topics. However, the most important thing we can talk about with someone is a relationship with God. A key step to that end is bringing up spiritual matters. That requires trusting God. It can also help to have some practical tips for bringing up spiritual matters.
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!
Jon started a conversation with Ivan by asking him where he’s from. Since then Jon has been asking him more questions, and they’ve been getting to know each other better. They even started eating lunch together after math class. Jon doesn’t know anything about Ivan’s spiritual background. He’d like to find out, but he doesn’t know how to bring it up. If you were Jon, how would you bring up spiritual matters with Ivan?
As you listen to responses from your group, emphasize the importance of bringing up spiritual matters in conversations. This is the gateway that helps people hear about Jesus. It starts the transition from everyday subjects like sports and the weather to the most important subject: Jesus and a person’s relationship with him.
Help your group see that this study continues in the same Bible passage as the last one, focusing on breaking an important “sound barrier” to influencing people for Christ: bringing up spiritual matters.
1.Read John 4:10-15. What does Jesus do to bring up spiritual matters with the woman?
Jesus brings up spiritual matters by making a connection from something common they had been talking about (getting a drink of water) to something spiritual (the need for “living water” that he can satisfy).
2. How does the woman respond to Jesus’ statement in verses 11-12?
She can’t believe what he’s saying because at first she thinks he’s talking about literal water (verse 11). Then she starts to wonder if he’s making a spiritual connection. So she asks him a question to try to figure out who he is and if he is greater than Jacob, a famed spiritual leader of their community (verse 12).
3. What does Jesus say in verses 13-14 to keep the topic focused on spiritual matters?
He contrasts the ordinary nature of the water from the well with the supernatural nature of the “water” he gives. He claims that his water actually brings eternal life to people.
4. How does the woman respond in verse 15 to the claims Jesus made about himself?
She asks him for this “water,” which is a metaphor for the true life that only Jesus offers. She is interested in the true life Jesus offers her.
5. What does Jesus focus on during this part of the conversation (verses 10-15)?
Allow the group to discuss. He is focused on “living water,” but really he keeps the conversation focused on himself and what he can do in the life of a person who trusts in him.
6. Why is it important to try to get into spiritual conversations with people? Why is it hard to do?
Spiritual conversations help you grow deeper in your relationships. If God is important in our lives, we should be sharing that with others. People can’t learn about Jesus until we open up spiritual conversations with them.
7. This week we want to challenge each of you to start a spiritual conversation with someone you know. Who is someone you know that you’d like to bring up spiritual matters with?
Allow the group to discuss. Possibilities might include friends, family members, classmates, teammates, co-workers, or neighbors. Name specific names, and encourage your group to do the same.
8. What do you know about this person? Based on these things, what are some ways you think you could bring up spiritual matters with this person?
Allow the group to discuss. You might want to break up your group into pairs or triplets to discuss this question. Lead your group in brainstorming if they seem stuck. For instance, if someone in your group says a friend’s parents have recently gone through a divorce, you could suggest asking the friend if that experience has drawn them closer to God or pushed them away. If someone in your group says a friend is stressed out a lot, you could suggest asking the friend if he thinks God could play a role in reducing their stress level.
9. Look at the list of questions below. Which one do you like the most as a way to bring up spiritual matters?
- Have you gone to church a lot growing up? If so, what was that like for you?
- At this point in your life do you think you’re moving closer to God, further away, or staying in the same place? Why?
- On a scale of 1-10, where would you rank your desire to know God personally (1 is low; 10 is high)?
- If you could ask God one question, what would you ask?
- Have you heard of Cru? It’s a group on campus that talks about how God relates to our lives. Do you think about God much?
Allow the group to discuss. We realize these questions won’t work for everyone, so the next question will help your group come up with their own ideas.
10. Try to brainstorm 10 more questions as a group that would help you bring up spiritual matters with someone you know.
Allow the group to discuss. You might want to break up your group into pairs or triplets to discuss this question. You might also want to suggest categories for them to think about like the following:
- When you and friends are talking about relationships
- When Christmas or Easter or another holiday is coming up
- When a friend asks you what you did over the weekend or break and you participated in a Cru or church event
- When a friend confides in you about a problem or difficulty he or she is facing or working through
Leader, write these questions down somewhere as your students come up with them, and text them to your students after your small group.
11. Based on all the ideas we’ve talked about, which question do you think God wants you to ask the person you identified in Question 6? When this week would be a good time to try out this question with your friend?
Allow the group to discuss. Close by praying by name for the people your group identified, asking that God would fill you all with his Spirit and give you boldness to ask questions that he would use to bring up spiritual matters.
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.