I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that we are firmly into the Christmas season, which means that another year is coming to an end. While a lot of the focus is rightfully on the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the closing of another year provides all of us with a reason to reflect on this past year.
And as small group point people, what better way to do this than in small groups with the people we have hopefully journeyed the closest with throughout the year. One way to do this is through the celebration of communion (or whatever word your church prefers, i.e. the Eucharist, the Lord’s Table, the Lord’s Supper, etc.) in small groups.
Small groups are a great avenue to celebrate the Lord’s Supper as they provide an environment that allows for more reflection and sharing that usually cannot happen on a Sunday morning.
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Let me offer you 8 steps on how you can set up your small group leaders to do this in their small groups.
- Talk with your senior leader to make sure he/she is okay with this, and be respectful if he/she says no.
- The small group leader will need to provide the elements, namely a loaf of bread/wafers and a glass of grape juice/wine (again depending on what your church does).
- At the outset have a person in the group read a Bible passage about the Lord’s Supper: Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-23; or 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
- Tell the group that as they pass the elements, they are each going to answer a question. With the bread, the question is “How have you seen Jesus sustain you this past year?” And with the cup, “Where have you experience Christ’s forgiveness in your life this year?” Allow a few minutes of reflection for people to think about their answer.
- The small group leader needs to be prepared to share first to set the tone. The group will hopefully follow the vulnerability demonstrated by the small group leader.
- As the bread is passed and each person takes a piece, have each person answer this question: “How have you seen Jesus sustain you this past year?” After each person has shared and has a piece of bread in his/her hand, pray a blessing over the bread, thanking Jesus for sustaining us. At the end of the prayer, you can say, “The body of Christ broken for you, do this in remembrance of him.”
- As the cup is passed (whether you do a common cup or individual cups), have each person answer this question: “Where have you experienced Christ’s forgiveness in your life this year?” If they are doing a common cup, have each person take a sip after sharing. Have the person to the right/left pray for that individual. Or if they are doing individual cups, wait until everyone has shared, and drink the cup together.
- Close the time in prayer, and afterwards allow a little time to debrief the experience, especially if the group has never done this before.
These are some simple guidelines. Please tweak and use your imagination with how to make this fit your church’s culture and what you want to accomplish in your small groups. May this help you and your groups reflect on the past year in the midst of the Christmas season.