Running a discussion group

Appendix One

How to run Amazing Acts—act one discussion groups

This Appendix One is to help you organise, lead, promote or participate in an Amazing Acts—act one Discussion Group.

At the end of each of the 21 chapters of Amazing Acts—act one are three set questions (Questions A, B and C) for your further personal consideration. Each question contains additional Bible references to help. Those three set questions are also the basis of the Discussion Group (and also of the Amazing Acts—act one Advanced Correspondence Course—see Appendix Two, below.)

Although the 21 chapters together cover all of Acts 1:1 to 9:31, each chapter of the book is also complete in itself. Even if he or she has missed earlier chapters, a newcomer to the Discussion Group will be able to understand any chapter, and find it helpful and enjoyable.

The Discussion Group can run consecutively for 21 weeks.

It can just as easily be split up into smaller clusters of Sessions, with a break between the clusters. The clusters can consist of as many or as few Sessions as you like.

To run an Amazing Acts—act one Discussion Group, you need the following:-

1. Someone to run it regularly who will spend time to go over the course carefully before teaching it.

2. Somewhere nice and accessible to run it.

3. People recruited to join in it, either few or many. (You can even run it as one-on-one sessions.)

4. A Bible for each person participating, to look up the Bible references in the footnotes and in the questions.

5. A copy of the Amazing Acts—act one book to be provided to each person participating.

6. A CD player, in order to play to the group the Amazing Acts—act one CD covering the chapter studied, or alternately listen to the relevant chapter from this website:

7. Pens or pencils and some paper to encourage those present to make notes. This is not essential, but will help.

8. An ongoing list of participants and where you can contact them if you need to.

9. Sticky label badges and a felt-tip pen. Make it easy for everyone to know the name of the others in the group.

10. Amazing Acts—act one Standard Correspondence Courses to recommend and, hopefully, to give to your group members.

Helpful hints on how to run Amazing Acts—act one Discussion Group Sessions:-

1. If it would work well, why not sit people in an informal circle?

2. Warmly welcome everyone. Encourage them to take part, without pressing them to do what they prefer not to do.

3. Begin by praying that everyone there will understand, enjoy and be helped by the discussion together.

4. Explain that the book of Acts covers the birth, growth, mission and service of the early church, despite persecution.

5. After playing the complete chapter on the CD or online, ask volunteers to read twice again the chapter’s Acts Bible reading.

6. Check that everyone in the group understands the main points of the passage and the explanation given.

7. Discuss together each set questions (A, B and C), using also the Bible references in the footnotes and questions.

8. Ensure that no-one monopolises the discussion.

9. Do not ‘milk dry’ each question. Move to the next when appropriate. Dwell on a question if it is helpful to do so.

10. Avoid and reject irrelevant questions unless those questions really merit discussion. Keep quiet but firm control.

11. Before ending the discussion, summarise and apply the points learned. Help any wanting to trust Christ to do so.

12. Close in prayer, or ask someone else to do so. Sometimes a time of group open prayer together seems right

13. Urge the group to review the chapter discussed before the next Discussion Group and to read/listen to the next one.