Between Easter and the summer holidays is our BLESS season. It’s time for our whole church to step out in faith and make a collective effort to bless the world around us.
Every Christian desires to share the good news of Jesus in word and deed, but sometimes it can be a challenge to know how. BLESS is a very helpful model to guide our attempts and to make it a lot more practical, bite-size and enjoyable.
John decided to devote every day of the week to pray for an opportunity to mention Jesus at his film college. The day after he began praying, the teacher set an interview exercise for the class and John’s question to answer was ‘tell us why you believe in God’!
Annie had a friend coming round for fish n’ chips. She decided, rather than limiting their conversation to merely small talk, she would ask her friend a new question; ‘tell me about where you grew up’. That evening, they went deeper in their friendship than ever before.
Rather than grabbing lunch at his desk with his headphones in, Darren asked a colleague if he fancied a walk to the park for their lunch break. It became a weekly habit for them both and the basis for some amazing conversations.
Janice had a lonely neighbour who often sat outside his front door with Rex, the dog, and a bottle of lucozade. She would walk past him on the way to the shops most days. One day she decided to buy him a pack of lucozade as a small act of kindness. They’re no longer strangers who say ‘hi’ occasionally. Now they are good friends who regularly run errands for one another and share presents at Christmas.
Mark was a new Christian and lacked a bit of confidence. But after encouragement and prayer from his Life Group, he felt a bit more courageous. He texted a friend to meet up for a drink. Part way through, Mark’s friend asked ‘so, what’s new?’ and Mark said, ‘well, funnily enough I’ve had a kind of life-changing moment – I’ve become a Christian’. Rather than dismissing this, like Mark thought he would, the friend asked, ‘oh really? What does that mean?’. The chat carried on for a few hours.
Doing BLESS on your own is fantastic, but we think it’s even better done in community. That’s why our Life Groups are going to be focusing on it for this season. Early in the term, each group will decide which of the two options below they want to proceed with.
Meeting weekly either in-person or on Zoom, to work through the sermon-related notes that our preachers will produce. These discussions will have a strong ‘BLESS feel’ to them.
We would like every group to come up with at least one joint activity that reaches out to non-Christians in some way. We have a list of ideas below that might interest you, but we’d really encourage groups to chat, pray and decide together on something that everyone can get excited about and give their support to.
We would strongly advise that you look first to use the gifts, skills, and opportunities that you already have in your group. Maybe someone lives in a neighbourhood where they could run an event with your group’s support. Or someone might have a particular interest or project that you could give your support to. Utilise whatever connections God has given you already.
This is perhaps a more radical break from the normal Life Group structure. If your group wants to devote their time to a more regular outreach activity then you can treat this as your regular meet up, instead of the weekly discussion sessions.
It’s likely that your regular meetings will not allow much time for deeper conversations about spiritual health. So we would like the leaders of groups that have chosen Option 2 to ensure that they find ways to catch up with all members semi-regularly (at least twice per term).
We’d like everyone in Life Groups to attend this event, where we will hear what’s coming up, get inspired by real life stories and commission one another, by prayer, to go out in boldness.
This will be the first session back together for a while. So there will be time to catch up, but we’d also love all the groups to start chatting about the BLESS season ahead and beginning conversations about which Option to choose and what kind of a project to do together.