Conversatio Divina

Part 6 of 7

The Importance of Christian Disciplines

John Ortberg

01.  Before You Lead

For the best experience in leading your small group, it’s very important to preview session six of the video and, if possible, follow along in chapter six 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 (77 minutes; or if you choose to divide the session into two parts, 62 minutes for the lecture and 15 minutes for the conversation between John and Dallas)You may want to view part of John’s talk during you next session to balance viewing time.
  3. Video Discussion (12 to 15 minutes)
  4. Closing (3 minutes)

03.  Introduction

Welcome participants to the study and briefly pray. Ask if anyone has a question from last week’s lesson and reflections, then introduce the overall theme for this week: “The Importance of Christian Disciplines in the Life of Pastors, Ministry Leaders, and the Congregation.”

Ask the following question: “What is the current role of Christian disciplines in your life?”

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. After listening to John’s reading of Colossians 3:1–17 and 2 Peter 1–11, are there any practices you have found to be helpful for bringing these verses into reality in your life?
  2. When it comes to authentic Christian spiritual formation, how would you explain the difference between the approaches of training versus trying?
  3. If any activity has the potential to be a spiritual discipline for a person (such as purposefully driving in the slow lane), what are some activities that could become a spiritual discipline in your life? (For bonus points, mention if the activity would be a “discipline” of abstinence or engagement.)
    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.
  1. What is your plan for becoming more aware of other disciples (apprentices to Jesus) in your area? How can you encourage each other in practical ways?
  2. If discipleship is, as Bonhoeffer described, simply the reception of grace, how can a spiritual disciplines play a role in receiving grace?
  3. What is bothering you?

06.  Closing

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

  • 3:1–17; 2 Peter 1:1–11 — Exercising our responsibility for who we become
  • 1 Corinthians 9:24 — Training vs. Trying
  • 5:22–25 — Spiritual disciplines and “the Fruit of the Spirit”

Close with a time of prayer. Pray for each participant to be willing to find ways of arranging life for new life-giving habits.

07.  Additional Reading

Willard, Dallas. The Spirit of the Disciplines. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988.