Stewardship in the Gospel of John – A Sunday School or Small Group Lesson
Preparation for the teacher:
Read the texts (found below) ahead of time.
Watch the Video – it may stimulate additional questions appropriate for your context. Make certain you have tested the equipment necessary for showing the video –it helps to keep the technical gremlins away!
Do a little homework about your church and community. Where are good works being done that heal and transform life in your area? Are there faith-based counseling agencies that help people who are struggling with grief, depression, marriage therapy, or health recovery related issues? Does your community have drug and alcohol related treatment programs, not only for abusers but also for families impacted by addiction? Is there a shelter for battered women and or children? Is there a prison re-entry program to assist offenders’ transition out of prison and into society? Is there a program for habitual gamblers or their families? Perhaps a low cost health clinic to help those without medical insurance? Where are the “points of light” in your community that are working toward bringing healing and wholeness against those powers that destroy and disrupt freedom and abundant life? How is your church connected or supportive of these ministries through its mission? If it is not involved, how might it understand the need to engage in these actions as stewards of the “in breaking” Realm of God?
Pray for your students as you prepare this week’s lesson.
Teaching the lesson
As the class begins, welcome the class and engage in your usual opening exercises (taking attendance, collecting an offering, prayer concerns, other announcements, etc.)
Ask the class if they believe God is still engaged in the world today? If so how? Have them identify ways in which they think God is being revealed in the world today – either in your congregation, the community, or globally. Why does that matter? Is there something about their life or the activity of their congregation that is one of the ways God is being seen in the world – where heaven is “breaking into” the everyday common experience?
Read the following texts:
- John 1:1-5, 10-13
- John 3:16-21
- John 13:34-35
- John 14:8-14
Ask the class to wrestle with the following questions:
For John, Jesus reveals God and heaven in the midst of the world. Stewards are “mini-revealers”. Describe a circumstance in which you can (or have) revealed God’s love for a person or community?
We in the church are often pretty good at being stewards of love for one another. Yet, John emphasizes that not only does God love Jesus’ followers, but God loves the world. Name an aspect of the world that you can, as a steward of God’s love join God in loving.
Think about your own congregation and John’s world view. What does you congregation most need – love, a sense of life, peace, freedom, joy, a sense of abundant life?
How can you be a steward of the resources of heaven that are already present to help that quality (those qualities) become more prevalent in the congregation?
What are the things “in the world” that you find hardest to love, that none the less, you believe God loves? Does it matter if you try to love these things? Why or why not?
Dismiss the class with prayer.