November 26 – Stand-alone Week


This week is a stand-alone sermon, one of those weeks that falls between our sermon series where each Vintage location preaches from different scriptures. Below you’ll find a list of those scriptures for each location, as well as a bare-bones discussion guide that you could use for any of them and, as a bonus, presents a perfect discipleship moment.

This universal guide is based on something called the Swedish Method (which sounds more like a spa package than anything). This set of simple, open-ended questions was developed by a Swedish campus ministry leader to be used with any passage in the Bible in group discussion or in personal devotions, which makes it a huge resource. One thing I hear often from folks wanting to get into the scriptures is, “I just don’t know where to start.” Usually people are daunted by picking out a devotional or finding a study plan on a Bible App, perhaps even paralyzed by all the options at their disposal, but with this method they can take a passage and maybe pen and paper and go for it! Also, while we’re on the subject, if folks are stuck at “but which passage do I pick?”, reading through the Gospel of John is a great place to start. If they’ve read a Gospel recently, try Acts, Ruth, or James.

Here’s how this could work in your community group this week: as you’re getting started, tell folks you’ll be working through a special universal discussion guide together (you can explain the whole stand-alone thing or not), and mention that these questions can be used with any passage of the Bible in their own personal studies. Then, after doing these questions in discussion, send out the link to this page or send them out another way so your group members can have the questions for reference.

Of course, if you open the Bible at random and hit a passage with these questions, you might still be left scratching your head. Making sense of much of the Bible requires context, word definitions, maybe a little historical background, and some broader interpretive knowledge. But that’s no reason not to give it a shot! Two resources will help with this: first, your people are a resource! Undoubtedly there’s some real cumulative Bible knowledge in your community group. You can utilize that by pairing up to read the Bible together; newer believers can partner up with more seasoned ones, and I guarantee both people will benefit from it. Or, if folks have questions come up in reading on their own, encourage them to bring those up in your community group gathering. Second, it’s not a silver bullet, but for the most part if you hand folks a solid study Bible they’ll be able to make some headway (here’s a good choice; folks who need one can add it to a Christmas list!).

Finally, with the New Year only a month away, I know some folks will be thinking about year-long reading plans, so I’m here to give a plug for Windows & Mirrors, a podcast that walks you through the whole Bible in a year. It’s a 30-minute daily commitment, about 20 minutes of reading and 10 minutes of listening (or 12 when they start preaching and go a little long). The teaching is phenomenal, legitimately encouraging, and they do an especially good job of tying everything back to Jesus, which is what you need when the reading feels like a slog. Go check it out!

Passages for each location

  • Downtown – Psalm 95
  • Durham – Psalm 113
  • Chapel Hill/Carrboro – Genesis 32:22-31
  • North – 2 Timothy 2:1-2
  • West – Luke 24:13-27

Universal Discussion Guide

• Could someone read _____ for us?

• What stood out to you from the passage?

• What questions did it raise for you?

• What can this passage tell us about God?

• How can this passage help you see your need for God?

• How do you think this passage is meant to affect your life?