Water: Small Group Guide

Set up:

  • 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 water, you will need a pitcher full of water, and a bowl.

Gathering Prayer/Setting the Altarscape (5)

Gather participants into the conversation circle. Invite a few moments of stillness, and then pray this collect:

Ever-creating Spirit, who brooded over the waters of chaos and brought forth all life from them: We thank you for the wondrous gift of water through which we die with Christ and are raised by you to the new life of grace; and we pray that we may ever be faithful stewards of this gift and make it available, clean and pure, to all living beings, that in so doing the springs of living water promised by Christ Jesus may well up in every human heart; through Jesus our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

After the prayer, the facilitator or worship leader should stand up, go to the table or altar and pour the water into the bowl. Pour the water aggressively so that the sign of water can be experienced. Sit together in silence for a few moments with this scene as your focal point. 

Check-In (15)

Orient participants to the rhythm of this session. Let them know that you will do check-in, watch the video, have a conversation, and then close with worship.

Invite participants to answer the following question:

Last week we discussed light. How did you notice the presence of light this week?

Facilitators may wish to practice mutual invitation (see Small Group Facilitator Guide, above) or they may wish to simply go around in the circle. Participants who pass should be invited to share after the other participants have shared.

Watch Video (15)

Before you start the video, read this script:

As you watch this video, pay attention to the various ways water is explored, and think about how water 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)

Open the small group conversation with the following question:

Where is water 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 water inspired you? How has water been a part of your spiritual journey?
  • At the wedding at Cana, Jesus turns water into wine. Brother James said, “God uses ordinary things like water, and turns it into really fabulous wine. And I just think if God can do that with water, what can he do with me?” How have you seen God turn the ordinary into the extraordinary?
  • In the wilderness, the people of Israel learn to rely on God for the water they need to survive. How has God sustained you in times of drought? 
  • Br. Keith reflects on the spiritual journey: “There are moments on the journey that are profoundly baptismal but we don’t name in that way, those moments where you come to a juncture, and you can absolutely say: “Something about me has now died. And I am now different, and from this moment I’m moving forward into a direction that is completely unknown. But at my core I am still a beloved child of God.” Have you experienced a moment like that? What died, and how did you experience new life?

Wrap Up/Weekly Practice (5)

Remind the participants of the weekly practice. Distribute the Practicing Signs of Life handout for Water.
Reiterate the instructions from the video:

This week, when you wash your hands, notice the water. Really feel the water as it moves over your hands.

This is also the time when the facilitator should remind participants of housekeeping details for the next session.

Worship (10)

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.

1 Comment

  1. Becky Winn on March 7, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    This particularly relevant due to looming Coronavirus…try singing a hymn or prayer as you wash your hands .,.

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