how to use the leader guide
Discussion and the acquiring of knowledge is not the end goal of any Missional Community. Rather, it is the starting point. We desire for our Missional Communities to be discipleship environments that are primarily connect and live environments. What do we mean by that? We desire to make disciples that not only have a head knowledge about the teachings of Jesus, but have transformed hearts that lead to obedience and action, being the hands and feet of Jesus. Our Missional Communities are environments where we seek to connect in gospel relationships and live out the gospel in the world around us. We hope for our discussions as Missional Communities to lead us to care for each other better as family and to be on mission in third places in our neighborhoods and community (places that are not the church building or our homes).
As we think through discipling holistic followers of Jesus, we look through three lenses: head (know), heart (connect), and hands (live). The majority of our discussion guides will follow this framework with the content we produce. We will begin looking at the truths of the gospel we need to know in our head. We will then look at the emotions/affections we should feel with our hearts and the actions we should take with our hands as a result of that truth. Each step is explained further below.
KNOW | HEAD
the goal of this section
The goal of this section is to get an overall feel for the text, while highlighting the truths found in the discussion guide.
This is the truth and doctrine that we must know and believe about either God or ourselves. We start here because untruth will lead to wrong emotions and wrong actions. We protect this piece more than others because right belief about who God is and who we are will lead to right emotions and right actions. If there are wrong emotions or actions taking place, we must first get to the root of our unbelief (or belief in untruth) if we want true transformation to happen. The enemy will attempt to get us to believe lies about God (e.g. He's not in control) or ourselves (e.g. we are inherently good people) to distract us and take us off course. He can even use a twisting of Scripture to promote these untruths. This is why we must speak the truth about the good news of Jesus to each other, founded on Scripture and led by the Spirit.
HOW TO LEAD in THIS AREA
Because this piece is vitally important and must be protected, we will aim to provide clearly the meaning of the text and the direction we wish for you to take your Missional Community in each guide. The guide is meant to be used after the Sunday teaching, so there is a clear and unified understanding of the text. As you lead this discussion piece in your Missional Communities, do not be afraid to guide your group into the truth of the gospel. During this area of discussion, you will take more ownership and provide more direction as you speak the truth of Jesus.
Confess our need for the Spirit to guide us into all truth. He is the Truth, and without His working on cold hearts, no amount of eloquent teaching and intelligent logic will transform our beliefs and actions.
connect | heart
live | hands
the goal of this section
The goal of this section is to disciple both the heart and hands by using the truths of the gospel to lead people to godly affections and actions. The order of discussion during this time is not as important as making sure heart and hands are both discussed.
CONNECT | HEART - What we feel about the gospel in our hearts is vitally important. Often, we can ignore our emotions and affections because we think they are unimportant, but they are given to us by God and play a crucial part in our growth as followers of Jesus. The emotions we feel about truths reveal our affections and wrong desires. The key is to not allow our emotions to lead us, as they will distort the truth. Rather, we lead our affections and emotions by growing in our knowledge of the truth, mainly Jesus. This is why we need each other in this journey as we follow Jesus and His teachings.
LIVE | HANDS - This could easily be the most impactful piece for each Missional Community every week. This is where the rubber meets the road, and the truth lead us to take action. We desire to make disciples that are not only hearers of the word, but are doers of the word as well.
HOW TO LEAD in THIS AREA
*You will have different members of your group that will be more comfortable discussing one area over the other (heart & hands). For those that tend to jump straight to action, encourage them to think through what they feel that is leading them to take that action. If they tend to only talk about how they feel, encourage them to think through how God might be calling them to act on that emotion.
CONNECT | HEART - This time will be more broad and open to discussion. The ideas and questions provided in the guide are simply to get you started, but depending on what truth is taught, emotions could vary (e.g. one person could feel security while the other could feel doubt). Here is where we continually point back to the truth and lead our affections and emotions to know and trust God on a deeper level. Jesus is better than our emotions and He is faithful, even when our hearts struggle to believe.
LIVE | HANDS - We also want to encourage following the Spirit in the actions we should take as individuals and as a community. The Spirit is the chief disciple-maker and will lead us to the proper next steps. This could be something as simple as repent and believe, or as meaningful as putting something on the calendar to do as a group or individual. We recommend to immediately follow through with as much of the action piece as we can (e.g. pray and repent immediately, put something on the calendar, etc.). This will provide accountability and will begin modeling trust and obedience in the Spirit for our groups.
Confess our need for the Spirit to grant us right affections, emotions, and desires.. Our hearts are prone to chase false gods and ideologies of this age, and we cannot perform or force our way into godly affections and desires.
Confess our need as a group for the Spirit to guide us into right action. Confess our need for the Spirit to give perseverance and courage to obey what it is He is calling us to. Without Him, we will only think about obedience, but will not actually follow Him in what He is leading us to do.
*If you have any questions at all, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.