A Leader's Guide for Group Study
So that you make the most of each session, this study guide is designed to be used after the chapters assigned for each session have been read. Whether you are studying The God I Never Knew as an individual or in a group, the goal is for you to think a little more deeply, contemplate and pray about what you are learning, and apply the truths of Gods Word to your
The study guide has eight sessions. However, if your group wants to move more slowly, just adjust the reading assignments and use of questions accordingly.
Read the Chapters Prior to Each Session
Each session covers designated chapters of The God I Never Knew. As you read the chapters, make notes and highlight passages in the book that speak to, challenge, or apply to you personally. In your reading and reflection, ask the Lord to reveal insights so that when you come to the study-guide section, you will be equipped to benefit the most from the questions.
Introduction and General Feedback
At the start of each group session, ask about answers or updates to prayer from prior sessions. Then spend some time in prayer together. Next have someone read the brief introduction aloud to remind everyone of the focus of the discussion. The leader should then invite the group to share any questions, concerns, "ahas," insights, or comments arising from their personal time with the material.
The God I Never Knew is about the wonderful person and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. As you might imagine (and as the author readily admits in his personal testimony), its possible that your group members represent a variety of backgrounds and teaching about the Holy Spirit. Thats okay! There are only three prerequisites for group participation:
(1) a humble desire to grow in Christ and learn from His Word, (2) hearts and minds truly open to what God may reveal through the authors insights into His Word, and (3) a commitment to interact gently and respectfully with one another and with the material presented.
Group facilitators and participants need not be afraid of the topic or of differences of opinion. A healthy approach for handling disagreements or concepts that may be new to someone is to say, "Lets see what Gods Word has to say," and then review the pertinent scriptures referenced by the author. If after discussion its obvious that a participant continues to struggle with a
concept, consider moving on by saying, "Lets agree to take this concept to the Lord in prayer this week and report back, okay?" This will not only help keep discussions calm and on-target, but it will also help the group refocus on the Bible as the final word on an issue.
Above all, there should never be any pressure or browbeating for others to see things in a certain way. Youre on a journey of discovery together. Gentleness is the keytrusting the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and, if necessary, change hearts and minds. You just never know: the heart or mind He changes might be your own!
Go Through the Questions
The reflection and discussion questions are designed to focus on how each person relates to the main topics of the chapters. Most questions are designed to serve the group and encourage discussion, not to elicit a particular answer. With that mind, dont race through the questions. Take your time and allow the Holy Spirit to work. It isnt necessary to go around the circle before moving on to the next question. The best discussions occur when people feel free to speak into the discussion. Group discussions are actually opportunities for Gods Spirit to minister uniquely through one believer to another in very specific ways. If you dont get through all the questions for a session, no worries. Relax and trust God to take the discussion where He wants to take it.
Each session offers a theme verse that connects to the sessions content. Groups should read the verse out loud, and if someone in the group has a different Bible translation, ask him or her to read it aloud so the group can get a bigger picture of the meaning of the passage. Encourage participants to memorize these verses to enrich their understanding and appreciation of the personal ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
Close Each Session in Prayer
Praying together is the most powerful way to make your discussion effective, authentic, and relevant. Do not leave too little time for prayer! Be sure group members have opportunity to share their requests. In several of the sessions, we also suggest that you begin the prayer time with a few minutes of silent prayer, in which each participant can talk with God personally regarding anything He may be telling them.
Assign Chapters for the Next Session
Prior to session 1, group members should read chapters 1 and 2 of The God I Never Knew. Then, as you wrap up each session, remind participants of the book chapters to be read before the next meeting.