Before the discussion begins, show some unexpected love to someone in your group by throwing a mini-surprise party for him/her/them. Coordinate with your co-leader ahead of the gathering to decide on who you will surprise and how you’ll do it. Here’s what you could do:
- Get everyone in your group to throw a surprise for the last person/couple that arrives. Wait by the door, and when they come in, yell, “Surprise!”
Then, throw confetti and balloons.
- Celebrate the newest person/couple in your group. Wait for everyone to arrive. Before group starts, gather everyone together and share how you are so excited to have this person/couple in your group. Bring out a cake or something sweet while everyone cheers for them.
- Think about the person who always organizes social events or parties for your group. Throw a surprise party for them!
- Reflect on who has taken big strides this season in group. Maybe they prayed in front of others for the first time, shared something authentic and vulnerable, led a great discussion, or always volunteer to help. Name what stood out to you about that person (or multiple people if you choose) and celebrate it in a big way.
Get creative! The more unexpected and full of love, the better. Balloons, cake, confetti poppers, kind words, and cheers are the kind of surprises our world (and your group) can use more of, and they will help kick off this season in a great way.
Our discussion today will look a little different than normal. We are starting a movement at Chase Oaks Church that we hope resonates out into our community and beyond. It’s called “Love Does The Unexpected,” and it’s about showing the kind of surprising grace God showed us to those all around us. Let’s think about how our group can love unexpectedly together.
PART 1: WATCH THE VIDEO
New York Times Bestselling Author Bob Goff recently visited Chase Oaks Church to inspire us to think in fresh ways about loving others. After speaking in the service, he sat down with Jeff to dive deeper and to help our groups think about what it looks like to love in unexpected ways. Watch their conversation together by clicking on the link below.
Due to copyright issues, the video is password protected. If you are leading a discussion and did not receive the password, email Eric Torrence at [email protected].
READ JOHN 13:34-35 TOGETHER.
- Jesus told us to love one another. Love should be what is expected of us, but it isn’t what Christ-followers are known for today. Why did the “expected” become “unexpected”? What do you think has gone wrong, and how can we recover it?
- What is something Bob said that stood out to you?
PART 2: BRAINSTORMING ACTIVITY
One of the parts of “Love Does The Unexpected” is to act surprisingly. What would be something we could do together as a group this season that is out of our comfort zones, stretching, creative, and demonstrates the kind of surprising love God has shown us? We’re going to come up with something we can do together. To do that, we’re going to brainstorm in a special way. Here are some important ground rules.
- Power in People: The best ideas rarely come from one person, so we need to create space for everyone to contribute.
- Quantity is Key: Don’t overthink ideas at the beginning. We’re going to fill the room with as many ideas as possible, both big and small.
- No Judgment: Don’t critique ideas. If you do not like an idea, just let it be. Trust that the best ideas will eventually win out.
Everyone agree to the rules? Great! Let’s get started. We’ll need a bunch of post-it notes and pens for everyone. Remember, the goal is to come up with specific ways we can show unexpected love together as a group. This brainstorming will work in four phases, each lasting about 5-7 minutes.
- PHASE 1: Break up into groups of 3-4 people. Give everyone about 20 post-it notes. For about 5-7 minutes, have everyone write an idea on a post-it note (one idea per post-it note). Once someone has a note, stick it to a wall or table near their group, and then keep writing more ideas. Populate the wall with as many ideas as possible, from super safe ideas to risky or outside-of-the-box ideas.
- PHASE 2: Have each group look at the ideas on their wall. Read each idea out loud. Ask only clarifying questions. As you look at the ideas, you’ll probably notice some are connected in who to serve, how to serve, or in some other way. So, organize the post-it notes into categories and groups. Can you combine any ideas? Do any stand out?
- PHASE 3: Have each person in the group vote on two ideas. Each person should leave a tally mark on two different post-it notes with the idea they personally like. Count up the votes to decide which idea got the most traction. Then, spend 5 minutes developing the idea. How could it practically work? When would we do it? What would we need?
- PHASE 4: The final phase! Have each group present their idea to everyone. Make a pitch! After all groups have presented, take a final vote. The winner is your idea!
Now that you have your idea, finalize any details to make sure it happens.
- What supplies or prep work is needed?
- Who will organize what? Who will take charge of making sure this happens?
- When will we do this idea? Mark it on your calendars.
Then, share it with us! Have someone post what you are planning to do on social media using #LoveDoesTheUnexpected. You could make a video of your group announcing the idea or take a photo of where you hope to serve. Let us know before you end your group meeting. And then, when you actually do your idea, share pictures on social media using the same hashtag.