Display a jumper cable and ask a group member to describe when he or she last needed to use them to jump a dead battery. Instruct this volunteer to describe the process involved in infusing life into the depleted battery (Leader's Note: One person must bring his or her vehicle alongside, and employ the cable to connect the two batteries. The other person starts the car that's running, and energy flows into the weak battery. Normally, the dead battery is rejuvenated and starts a couple minutes later.)
Ask how jumping a weak battery is analogous to the ministry of encouragement group members can exercise toward one another.
The New Testament commands us to "encourage one another" (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:24-25). The Greek verb for "encourage" literally means "to come alongside." When our spiritual or emotional batteries are low, we can come alongside one another and give a much needed jumpstart. We connect with each other in a variety of ways: a phone call, an e-mail, a hand-written note, or physical presence.
Also explain that Jesus used the noun form of the verb for "encourage" to describe the Holy Spirit. To prepare the disciples for his ensuing physical departure, Jesus said, "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever" (John 14:16). The term "advocate" is "Paraclete"—one who comes alongside. God's Spirit employs members of the body of Christ to come alongside and provide a jump when we're needy.
Use the following for discussion:
- What are some typical situations or stressors that drain our spiritual or emotional batteries?
- Share a time when God used another believer to "give you a jump" when your batteries were low.
- Name a person in this group whom you consider an encourager, and tell why.
- Does anyone present right now feel in need of a jump? How can we pray for and assist you?
- Can anyone think of an individual or family outside our group currently in need of encouragement? What can we do as a group to come alongside and energize this person or family?