Take time to welcome any newcomers and catch up on the past week (over drinks or snacks if possible). Then ask groups members to:
Over this term, we’re looking at how knowing Jesus gives his followers strength to face the common pressures of life in a way that nothing else can.
This session concerns our fears and anxieties. We all worry about something. Work hard to create a welcoming atmosphere where people will comfortable to share if they want to. Reassure group members that if they need to go and get space, they should feel free to do so.
Pray a short prayer asking that, however much group members have previously come to know God, they’d know him better as a result of your time together.
In this first section, we’ll consider what wider society says about where we can find peace in the presence of real fears.
Now we’ll consider what the Bible uniquely says about how we should relate to our fears.
Read John 16:33.
Jesus has recently announced that he will be leaving his disciples. Within 24 hours, he will be crucified.
To ‘overcome’ means to successfully overpower.
Jesus is speaking in the past tense. He is not speaking about something that has already happened, but emphasising the certainty of what will occur through his death and resurrection. The outcome of this fight is certain. Jesus will show that he is able to defeat anything that threatens him or his people.
There may be people in your group (including yourself) who are currently experiencing chronic anxiety. As we have seen, a degree of fear is healthy and constructive; however, those with chronic anxiety feel fearful most or all of the time. This can be a debilitating experience. God has given us each other, so allowing group members to share their experiences should be welcomed.
It’s appropriate that any group members who are facing chronic anxiety find help beyond the CU. They might start by talking with a parent, your CU Staff Worker, the university welfare team, chaplaincy or counselling services, and a GP. The kindest thing you can do is lead a struggling group member to long-term, sustainable help. If possible, anyone struggling should also seek help from mature Christians within their local church.
As a CU leader, don’t feel that you need to carry their struggle alone. If you are feeling overburdened, ensure that you also get the support you need, asking for help from someone at your church or from your Staff Worker.
The Greek word translated ‘overcome’ means to defeat or to win a victory. Jesus’ claim is that his death makes all the world’s opposition pointless and insubstantial. Through his death and resurrection, he has fought and won the decisive battle.
The world may continue its attacks on Jesus and his people - and we still live in a world bearing the effects of human sin and curse - but those who are in Christ share the victory he has won (see 1 John 5:4). They cannot be harmed by the world’s evil - and they know who will triumph in the end.
Knowing this can cause us to take heart - and begin to share Jesus’ peace.
Listen to the song Take Heart [3 minutes]:
As you listen, write down your own fears or anxieties (or post-it notes or on your phones). As you feel able, share these with each other.
Jesus invites us to be encouraged by the completeness of his overcoming work, displayed on the cross. Spend time praying together. Bring your groups’ fears and anxieties to Jesus and ask that you might know his peace.
If you’re able to sing in your group time, there are several songs that will help you know peace in the light of Jesus’ victory, including: In Christ alone; He Will Hold Me Fast and God, I Look To You.
When we’re feeling anxious, we can worry that we’ll discredit Jesus in some way if we expose our vulnerability.
Author Becky Pippert shares these words for those feeling weak:
“Yes, you’re inadequate. But when you accept that you’re a dependent creature with a mighty Creator, you’re in the place where God can use you. We are weak, yet he is strong.”
Spend time praying by name for the friends you’ve mentioned. Pray that God might provide opportunities this week where you can speak of your experience of Jesus’ lasting peace.
Thank You – Thank everyone for coming, and ask someone to thank God for your time together in prayer.
Ask – Ask those who are new to reading the Bible if they’d like to explore Uncover, a set of sessions in Mark’s Gospel, allowing them to investigate one of the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life alongside one of you.
Church and CU – What does the CU have planned ahead? And what help would group members value in finding a local church?
Others – Who else could you invite to join your CU Impact Group next week? These friends don’t need to be followers of Jesus and may really appreciate being invited.
See You Soon – Tell the group where and when you’ll meet next week, and arrange who will bring snacks. (You might like to alternate healthy and less healthy weeks!). See if anyone would be up for sharing a meal or just hanging out in the meantime!
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