Theme One

Theme One: Surfacing Blockades

Advantages of this session:
It shows them that we value their insights and experiences
It gets them talking about easy things, so it will be easier to talk later about
harder things.

Format for this session
Ask them to form groups of three with their nearest neighbors.
After four or five minutes, have everyone share together
Repeat this process for each set of questions below.

Question set one: How does the word “witness” make you feel?
You can get them started in their small groups by suggesting possible
answers, such as: Nervous – Joyous – Challenged – Guilty
After a few minutes in small groups, continue the discussion as a group of the
whole.   Ask if anyone would share ideas that came up in their group.
Accept each person’s contribution without feeling you need to comment on it.
Some contributions will bed the same as points you were going to make, and
you can enlarge upon them.

Question set two: Why do people in my church have a hard time witnessing?
Again, you can get them started with common answers, such as: Not sure what to say – afraid of rejection – afraid you won’t be able to answer objections
After a few minutes in small groups, continue the discussion as a group of the whole.  As they contribute, you can tell them when a point they bring up is one that will be covered during the workshop.

The following points often come up during this sharing time.  If they do not come up, I add them before I continue on.
Role. God’s role is to change hearts; since that’s not in my job description, I should not feel like a failure if the person does not agree to have faith in Christ.
Witness. I cannot help being a witness, because everyone who is watching me gains an impression about me. Witnessing therefore is not beyond my reach.
Non-threatening. I can avoid a defensive reaction by talking about the gospel in terms of myself and my own reasons for faith.

Goals activity:
I tell them my goal for them: Acts 4:20 We cannot refrain from telling what we have seen and heard.  I personalize this goal to them by sharing how I have had difficulties with this goal, to show them our workshop is not just about learning techniques but requires spiritual help.  My difficulty arose from a phrase I heard once in a workshop:  If something is real to you, you would be able to talk about it. This sentence hurt me at the time, but God helped me to see that his accepting me was based on his love and promise, not on my performance, so as an end result I grew in faith. You may hear something today that hurts you, but God may use that to help you grow in faith.

Final small group activity.
We then break into small groups again, and I ask them to each tell a goal they would have for this workshop — that is “what would you hope God would do to you by the end of this workshop?”
I then invite them to pray for one another in the small groups, each person praying that the goal of the person to his/her right would come about.

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