What does it take to be an overcomer?
As you launched your groups at the beginning of this year, you likely had certain goals set—solid ideas of what success would look like and hopes for conversations, relationships, or service opportunities that your group would progress toward as meetings continued. Then, challenges—as they always do—arose.
Yet, the challenges of the past several months have exceeded even the typical trials of life. A pandemic is causing chaos. Many are dealing with the long lasting economic consequences. Churches are facing difficult decisions for reopening and are seeking how to best serve as the body of Christ. Groups are facing childcare challenges amid social distancing. Mental health is a growing concern. Relational dynamics are being pushed to their limits.
Yet in the midst of this difficulty, we all have opportunities to overcome. As your group members work through external challenges that often pose internal struggles, here are three ways you can step in to help.
- Ask Core Questions
As circumstances around us reveal deeper realities transpiring within us, you have the opportunity to have crucial conversations with members of your group. They might realize they are struggling in particular areas: relationally, emotionally, or spiritually. Questions they’ve grappled with beneath the surface about God, purpose, or their identity might now be on the forefront of their minds. Asking questions such as “What are you learning about God in this season?”, “What sin is God revealing to you during this time?”, “What thoughts and questions are taking up a lot of your time?”, or “In what areas of your life do you feel defeated?” can lead you towards Christ-centered conversations, gently helping your leaders dive deeper into how the truth of the Bible can help us overcome weakness.
- Remember Brokenness
Many group members may feel discouraged, defeated, overwhelmed, purposeless, or tractionless during this time. In a lot of ways, many of us are coming face-to-face with the simple reality that we are not in control. Even though we might have believed we could control our next hour, day, week, or year, it has been made clear that so much is beyond our grasp. This can make us feel helpless and broken, unable to succeed in loving others, in our jobs, or in our ministries as we once did. However, we can remind our group members that this brokenness is human and points us to the Perfect One—Christ. He can show us the way to overcome. Instead of focusing on our failures and brokenness, we can overcome through turning our eyes to the truth of what Christ says about us and how He enables us to face each day.
- Pursue the Overcomer
Even when much seems out of our control, we can still choose how we spend our time and where we fix our thoughts. Encourage your group members to overcome the challenges of this time through pursuing the Overcomer by spending time in the Word and in prayer. Challenge them to join with one or two other group members (even if virtually) for prayer, Bible reading, and accountability whenever possible. Encourage them to memorize key verses that can fill them with hope and strength throughout the day. Challenge them to set reminders on their phones to stop and pray throughout the day for their own situations and for others in their group. The best way to overcome is to consistently seek out the Overcomer who sought us first.
Even though this season is challenging, there is hope. Overcoming is possible. Through whatever means possible, encourage your group not to lose sight of this.
If you’d like additional resources on core questions of who we are and how to Overcome (where some of these ideas are expanded), check out the two Bible study resources below. These are available as DVD kits with teaching sessions for group use or as digital video sessions for group or individual use.
Many people feel they are less than who God says they are. We get our identity from our careers, our political positions, our roles in the family, and a number of other lesser things. However, when we understand who God is, we more fully understand who we are. This small group study uses clips from the film Overcomer to examine how we determine our identity and how we can find our true identity in Christ (5 sessions).
When you introduce yourself to someone for the first time, you have an opportunity to define yourself. You disclose your name, profession, and interests. These factors help our culture define us, but are those answers enough? There are bigger answers our culture can’t answer: Who am I? Why do I matter? And before asking, who am I? You must first answer, who is God?
The Scripture teaches that we are all made in the image of God. We do not define ourselves–the Creator does. We were all created to be known and loved by God. Once the answers are clear, we can move forward and discover all God has called us to be (8 sessions).