Conversatio Divina

Part 1 of 7

How to Live Well

Eternal Life Begins Now

Dallas Willard

01.  Before You Lead

For the best experience in leading your small group, it’s very important to preview session one of the video and, if possible, follow along in chapter one of the book, Living in the Presence of Christ. Familiarize yourself with the session outline and gather the necessary materials.

02.  Session Outline

  1. Introduction (4 minutes)
    1. Welcome and Opening Prayer (1 minute)
    2. Talk About It (3 minutes)
  2. Video Teaching (90 minutes or if you choose to divide this session into two parts, 45 minute for the lecture and 45 minutes for the conversation between Dallas and John)
  3. Video Discussion (10 to 15 minutes)
  4. Closing (3 minutes)

[Note: You should be able to compete chapter one in either one 2-hour block or two 1-hour blocks.]

03.  Introduction

Welcome participants to the study and briefly pray if you would like. You may want to say a word about the overall theme for the next six weeks, and what the participants may feel about taking the time to focus on the topic, “How to Live Well: Eternal Life Begins Now.”

Solicit responses from the group concerning the question, “What does it mean to live well, to be well off?”

04.  Video Teaching

Show the video segment for this session. Students may wish to have a notepad and pen or pencil for taking notes.

05.  Video Discussion

Following the video presentation, explore the topic further by allowing the group to consider the following questions.

  1. Dallas states: “When you divorce faith from knowledge, you wind up in the position of trying to get people to do things, not of providing them with a basis upon which they can then decide how to live and how to lead their lives together.” How would you explain the difference between faith and knowledge? [Hint: Biblically speaking, to “know” another person always implies intimate interaction.]
  2. What do you think it means to “pull” versus “push” someone into discipleship?
  3. What is your “gospel,” your central message? [Hint: Is your “gospel” built more around an arrangement made or a relationship being lived?”]
    NOTE: If your group has decided to take two sessions to complete the first topic, ask the following questions after viewing the conversation between Dallas and John.
  4. What does Dallas mean when he says that “the test of religious life is life?”
  5. What needs to be true in someone’s life for that person to be able to say they know Christ?
  6. How does having intimate and ongoing knowledge of Christ relate to living life with a light burden and easy yoke?

06.  Closing

Before wrapping up, encourage the students to read and reflect the following passage before next week’s group meeting.

  • Matthew 11:28–30 — Easy yoke
  • Matthew 28:18–20 — The Great Commission
  • John 17:3 — The only place Jesus ever defined “eternal life”

Close with a time of prayer. Pray that each participant would be willing to personally experience God’s invitation to live now as his friend and student.

07.  Additional Reading

Willard, Dallas. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Your Hidden Life in God. San Francisco:
HarperSanFrancisco, 1998. See chapter one: “Entering the Eternal Kind of Life Now.”

Footnotes