During these last 18 months, we experienced an epidemic of loneliness and isolation which negatively affected our mental health. God created us to Belong. Community and connection are essential to thrive. God’s family allows us to experience His love and kindness through other people.
Work through the following questions and scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
1. Where are the places you feel like you belong? Do you have that feeling at church? What contributes to you answering that way?
2. What stood out to you from the message?
3. Read John 15:1-17.
a.) Make some observations about this passage (What does the text say)
who is talking?
what is the circumstance?
any repeated phrases?
what surprised you?
what stood out to you?
b.) Make some interpretations (What does the passage mean)
what questions do you have?
what do you think is going on in this story?
what do you learn about the nature and character of God as you read this?
What do you learn about yourself or the world around you?
c.) Now make some applications (what’s my response)
how do you respond to what you are reading?
what is the central truth that you could put into practice from this?
who could you share this with for the sake of encouragement?
4. Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. We belong to the gardener (God). How does thinking of yourself and “belonging to God” affect your perspective about your life, actions, purpose?
5. Reread John 15:5. What does “remaining (abiding) in Jesus” look like currently in your life? What fruit have you seen produced in your life in seasons where you stayed connected to Jesus?
6. Reread John 15:9-11. Jesus encourages us to connect obeying God’s commands with remaining (or abiding) in Jesus’ love and states the result is joy overflowing.
When you think about obeying God what thoughts or feelings come up?
Do the words love and overflowing joy come to mind?
Are there any areas in life right now where Jesus might be calling you to obey his commands that you are just realizing or maybe have been ignoring?
7. In verse 17 Jesus commands us to love each other. In order to do that we have to be connected to one another. How could you take steps this Fall to connect and belong more with others at Gateway? What might hold you back from taking those steps?
John 15:1-17 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
What is your next step to finding connection and belonging here at Gateway?
- Maybe consider signing up to serve on Sunday morning and get to know others through that.
2. Maybe you want to build a community of like-minded people who you can love and be loved by – groups are starting in the next few weeks
3. We have Networks at each campus. Go to the location tab and select your campus to see all the Networks available. Here is a list of the types of networks we have:
Hiking, mountain biking, women’s and men’s events, business, justice, and reconciliation, serving refugees, serving/ support for cancer, support/ serving foster care community, serving marginalized people groups, 20-30s (anchor), 35+, 40-50s, moms, etc
4. Join a class. We have classes to help you be restored and heal, grow in your faith.