- Ensure that all technology is in place and ready to view the video. If your church does not have adequate WiFi, this may mean that the facilitator will need to download the video before arriving for the session. Facilitators will also need to ensure that everyone will be able to hear and see the video as it is being played. Facilitators may wish to turn on closed captioning.
- Create a welcoming space to have a conversation.
- Place a table in the center or near the conversation space to create an “altarscape” of items that will help set the tone and keep the conversation focused on each Sign of Life.
What you need:
- Video viewing capabilities
- Conversation guide for the facilitator
- Practicing Signs of Life and worship handouts for each participant
- A table for the altarscape
- Specific items to create altar scape. For light, you will need a votive candle for each participant.
Gathering Prayer/Setting the Altarscape: (5 minutes)
Gather participants into the conversation circle. Invite a few moments of stillness, and then pray this collect:
Christ our True Light: when the lights of this world blind and bewilder and its darkness brings us no peace, train our eyes to behold your brightness and enfold us in the healing shadow of your wings, that we may love you by night as by day; who with the Father of lights and the Spirit of truth shine upon us, one God, through endless ages. Amen.
After the prayer, the facilitator or worship leader should give each participant a candle, and light the first candle. Each person lights their candle from someone else’ and then places their lit candle on the altarscape. Sit together in silence for a few moments with this scene as your focal point.
Setting Group Norms (15 minutes):
Because this is only a five-session small group experience, we recommended the following norms. Your small group will know what’s best for itself and may wish to change these norms, but these are well-established practices for fruitful small group discussion.
Read each norm and have a discussion about whether these are reasonable for the life of your small group. If they are not, adjust the norm as necessary. Ensure that these norms are visible each time you gather.
- Arrive on time.
- Turn mobile phones on silent.
- Respect the other small group participants. Don’t interrupt or talk over another participant. Don’t dominate the conversation.
- Keep confidence: Don’t share a story or other personal information from another group member unless you’ve specifically asked that person for permission.
Facilitators should feel empowered to reference the group’s norms if a behavior is becoming a distraction.
After you set your group’s norms, orient your participants to the session. Let them know that you will watch the video together, and then have a small group discussion, followed by worship.
Watch Video (15 minutes):
Before you start the video, read this script:
“As you watch this video, pay attention to the various ways light is explored, and think about how light is present in the life and liturgies of your worshiping community.”
Play video to the end. Invite the group to come back together for conversation.
Small Group Conversation (40 minutes):
Open the small group conversation with the following question:
“Where is light present in the life and liturgies of your own worshiping community? How are these symbols and practices similar or dissimilar to what you heard and saw in the video?”
After the opening question has been discussed, choose any of the following questions to discuss with your small group. The facilitator should use their best judgment to select the questions that they believe will elicit meaningful conversation for your context. The small group may spend the entire time on one question, or do several. How many questions the group moves through is less important than fruitful conversation for the group.
- How has light inspired you? How has light been a part of your spiritual journey?
- Brother Curtis talks about meeting God in the darkness instead of the light. Where have you met God in the dark? What did you learn there?
- What do you think it means that God created light before God created the sun and the stars?
- Jesus not only brings light, but Jesus is the light. How does Jesus enlighten your life?
- We are called to be the light of the world. What can you illuminate?
When there are about five minutes left for conversation, ask the following question:
“What do you understand differently about light because of this conversation?”
Wrap Up/Weekly Practice (5 minutes):
Remind the participants of the weekly practice. Distribute the Practicing Signs of Life handout for Light. Reiterate the instructions from the video:
“Here is a reminder of the daily practice for this Sign of Life. This week pay attention to light as you move through your day. Remember that Jesus is the light of the world.”
This is also the time when the facilitator should remind participants of housekeeping details for the next session.
Worship (10 minutes):
Pass out the worship handouts to each participant. The facilitator may wish to lead worship, or may invite another participant to lead worship. Groups may wish to use the altarscape as a focal point during their worship time.
After worship, the small group session has ended.