Jesus promises ‘life and life to the full’. Why, then, do so many people walk away from faith – not just teenagers but also people who have been in church for years? Church leader and blogger, Jon Brown’s new book questions whether our tendency to fight vulnerability, hide weakness and deny disappointment has cost us the real thing, a real faith that lasts through the storms of life. The book and corresponding STUDY GUIDE (PDF available to download and print for free, HERE) are designed to help you discover a more authentic, real relationship with God. Whether you work through these questions alone or in a group, we pray they will enable you to engage with faith afresh and see many prodigals return to a family of believers that allow them to bring their mess, doubt and confusion into the safe and loving arms of Jesus Christ.
This study guide is designed to be used either on your own or in a group
HOW TO USE THIS STUDY GUIDE
Read through the chapter and then take some time reflecting on the questions. Be as honest as you can and try not to skip the more awkward questions. You might find it helpful to write your answers in a journal.
The study guide works well in pairs or small groups.
Each chapter has an Ice Breaker, designed to get people talking before
the questions go a bit deeper.
It’s worth having a Bible to hand as some of the discussions revolve around specific passages and stories from the Bible.
You know your group dynamics and needs so feel free to adapt the questions or add in new ones.
At the end of each section there is a Creative Moment and Next Step.
The Creative Moment may take a bit of preparation (e.g. getting some pens and paper) and the Next Step is worth following up during the week.
As always, group discussion will be far better if people are open and honest. If you model this then you’ll set the tone and others will follow. Struggle with being open and honest? Read the Real Relationships chapter!
Key verse: Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68)
Ice Breaker: What did you believe about God as you were growing up?
Is doubt ever discussed in your church/small group/friendship group?
Have you had any friends walk away from their faith? Why do you think they did? How did it make you feel about your own faith?
‘Doubt is not the opposite of faith but often a sign of it. Doubt can reveal that you want to know the truth and are not running from it.’ Do you agree? Is there a difference between doubt and cynicism?
When do you doubt God’s existence? Do you live like God is real?
Read John 6:66. Have you ever had a moment where you’ve found yourself saying ‘A big part of me wants to walk away but how can I? I know you’re God and the only way to heaven.’
What are you doing to build a strong, flexible faith?
Creative Moment: Get some paper or a journal and brainstorm the words ‘faith’ and ‘doubt’.
Next Step: What are some practical steps you can take to build a strong flexible faith? How can you start implementing them this week?
Download the More Real Study Guide Here