The baby food jar filled with water from a nearby creek sat on the coffee table in front of me as I discussed with my small group the importance of silence. I shook up the water in the jar while relating the busyness of our lives to the swirling sediment. The water, which had been clear, was now a muddy mess. As we contemplated the cost of not seeing clearly as well as the steps necessary to settle the sediment in our lives, the water slowly cleared. It was apparent that each member of the group could see themselves in the murky solution to one degree or another. I sent each member of the group home with their own jar of temporal turmoil as a reminder of the need for solitude and silence in their daily lives. As I have visited the homes of those in my small group, I smile when I see their jar of creek water sitting on a windowsill, bookshelf, or near the kitchen sink. I smile because I know that, for each one of them, this jar has become a reminder of their need for silence.
The use of objects can enhance the Bible study portion of your small group meeting in several ways. You can:
Associate objects with possible answers to discussion questions. (This will increase each person's ability to remember concepts discussed in the study.)
Collect simple objects that represent different attributes or actions within the particular scripture verse you are studying. Pass these objects around and ask each person to share how the object they selected is descriptive of the character with which they have the most in common. Each time a group member sees one of these objects during the week, they will be reminded of the lesson and how it applies to them personally.
Connect scriptural promises, commands, or truths to objects that can aid in retaining valuable new insights.
Prior to the meeting, write the word "peace" on enough rocks to have one for each group member and place the rocks in a basket. During the meeting, take a rock out of the basket, turn to the person on your right and say … "The strength of (fill in their name) is not the issue; the strength of God is." (You can write this sentence out on an index card and pass it around with the rocks.) Have that person do the same for the person on their right until everyone has taken a turn. They can take this rock home as a reminder of God's strength that gives them peace.
Create visual aids that make God's Word personal to each member of the group.
When referring to salvation during one of your group meetings, hand out a half sheet of paper made to look like an invoice. Use a stamp with red ink that says, "Paid in Full," or write that phrase with red ink across the invoice, symbolic of our sins being forgiven and our debt paid in full. Have each person take their invoice home and suggest they put it somewhere where they will see it daily. (A sample invoice follows.)
The Calvary Corporation
What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come. . .
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:13-15