Church of Small Things: Being Faithful in the Small Things

Live in Me. Make your home in Me just as I do in you… I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with Me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. — John 15:4-5 MSG

Getting Settled

The following paragraphs will orient you to what’s coming in this session. Have a group member read them aloud.

When we read the Bible, we can get the impression that life is all about the big moments when God communicates audibly and dramatically with someone and changes his or her life forever. Like when God told Abraham to leave his country and go to a land that God promised to give to Abraham’s descendants. Or when God told Abraham he was going to have a son named Isaac the following year.

What we often fail to notice is the long stretches of time that passed between these big moments Abraham was seventy-five years old when he finally left his country to go to the Promised Land. Seventy-five! What had his life been about all those years before then? He hadn’t been raising a family — he was childless. He had been raising sheep and goats, keeping them from tumbling into ravines or getting eaten by wolves (sheep are stupid and helpless). He had been on the move constantly to find water and grazing land for his herds. He had been doing the small daily things of a herdsman.

Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he got the huge news about Isaac. What went on in his life for twenty-four years between Genesis 12:4 and Genesis 17:1? A few big moments, including a really dumb decision to have a child with his wife’s maid, but mostly a lot of caring for sheep and goats.

Few of us will have the kind of dramatic moments with God that Abraham had. Instead, we will know God — or fail to notice Him — in the mundane work of herding sheep or goats or children or office colleagues.

Our life is full of small moments and small wonders that God is using in such a big way. And I think the small moments in our lives are no less holy than the big moments. Maybe it’s the small moments that are even more holy, because those are the million little pieces of our lives that God uses to make a difference right where we are. — Melanie

In this first session, we’re going to think about the small things in our lives that shape the people we are becoming. We’re going to look for the small ways we make a difference in others’ lives — not despite our daily routine but in the midst of it. We’re going on a treasure hunt through our very ordinary lives. Your life matters far more than you think.

Checking In

Give each group member one minute to share an answer to this icebreaker question. Your group leader can go first.

What was one small thing you did today for someone else?

Watch the Session One Video:

Video Notes

Watch the video teaching segment for session 1. Use the outline below to fill in your thoughts about what you get out of the video.

Round Top, Texas

“There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.” — Dwight L Moody

The feeding of the five thousand

God’s will

The possibilities are endless

Vine and branches

In the grocery store

Kicking It Around

Discuss the following questions in your group. If there are more than twelve of you, consider dividing into smaller groups for discussion. Or select those questions that seem most compelling to you.

  1. Which of Melanie’s thoughts from this session’s video resonated most with you, and why?

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. — John 6:5–11

  1. Think about John 6:5-11 What if the person who packed the boy’s lunch never learned that five thousand people were miraculously fed by that lunch? How is this like or unlike the situation you find yourself in most days?
  2. Do people tend to thank you for the small things you do during your day? Why do you suppose that’s the case? How does that affect you?

We’re in God’s will when we wake up every day with a willingness to say, “God, I’m going to go where you lead me to go today. What do you have for me today? Where can I be faithful to you today? This family that you’ve given me, this job that you’ve given me, this life that you’ve given me—where can I show up and be faithful today?” It may not be the glamorous thing, but it’s the faithful thing. — Melanie

  1. What was the faithful thing for you to do today?
  2. What helps you notice and do the faithful thing? What gets in the way?

We can spend so much time wondering and worrying if we’re ful lling God’s primary will for our lives. Yet, ultimately, God’s will isn’t about the things we achieve; it’s about the people we become. — Church of the Small Things, page 12

  1. What kind of person do you want to become?

How does someone become that kind of person? What role might small actions play?

Trying It Out

Pair up with a partner. Take five minutes to talk about your day, and let your partner help you see where God was at work in the small things. Then switch and spend five minutes talking about your partner’s day. Your leader will keep track of time.

Below are some discussion starters Use any of them that are helpful.

The main things I remember about my day were _____________________________.

God may have been at work when _________________________________________.

One of the challenges I faced today was ____________________________________. God helped me through that by ______________________.

* * *

Your Turn

Come share your thoughts on Church of Small Things with us on our blog! The study begins October 22nd, so register today!

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Church of the Small Things
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Melanie Shankle

Melanie Shankle writes regularly at The Big Mama blog and is the New York Times bestselling author of three previous books, including Nobody’s Cuter than You. Melanie is a graduate of Texas A&M and loves writing, shopping at Target, checking to see what’s on sale at Anthropologie, and trying to find the lighter side in every situation. Most of all, she loves being the mother of Caroline, the wife of Perry, and the official herder of two wild dogs named Piper and Mabel. The five of them live in San Antonio, Texas.

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