Housegroup Materials: Week 1 (God’s People)

The Bible is the family history of the Christian church



  • This may be the first week for some groups, and drawing on the topic of ‘God’s People’ check out the icebreaker suggestions to get to know each other better.
  • Discuss your expectations for the course and how you are going to mix the face-to-face and online elements of the course.



Tom Wright introduces ‘God’s People’:


See the transcript.

In the small group, listen to the reading Matthew 4:18-25 as it is read to you. If you are joining online, an audioversion can be found here.

Discuss together your responses to the following questions.

  • What did you like best about the passage and why?
  • What did you not like about the passage and why?
  • Which part of the passage is the most important for you and why?
  • Which part of the passage would you leave out today and why?

In the printed material, and available online, you have access to a story and a reflection based on a response to today’s reading.

BB WK 1 Ken Kingston by bigbible

Listen to the story and the reflection: Strictly Come Dancing

The Saturday evenings before Christmas have become an institution in our house. Living with two small girls (aged 4 and 7) who are passionate about dancing, means that the BBC’s “Strictly Come Dancing” is a must.

It’s not only that we have to watch it (that’s a given); it’s not only that my two daughters have to dress for it in the closest that they can find to ballgowns from their dressing up box; it’s that we have to join in with all the dances, following the moves and copying them as best as we can from the television.

And the crucial part is finishing in the same pose or position as the two dancers. Woe betide us if we fail to watch what is happening or do not follow the moves closely enough – tempers can fray and tantrums can ensue, and then peace has to be restored before the next dance.

If we are lucky, the programme is videoed and we might even get to do it all again on a Sunday afternoon.


Jesus was walking beside the sea of Galilee when he met the brothers – Simon Peter and Andrew. He says to them, “Follow me.”

So often we forget those two words and rush straight on to the next sentence – “I’ll make you fish for people!” But Jesus’ first words were a call to follow too.

Children love playing the game “Follow my leader” where the leader performs some action and the rest have to imitate it as closely as possible.

But with Jesus it isn’t a case of exact replication, but following. If Jesus wanted people to imitate him, then he probably wouldn’t have chosen a bunch of fishermen, a tax-collector and a religious zealot to be his disciples.

As we are called to follow him, we can all too easily get caught up on doing everything just like Jesus, being just like him. And then become all downhearted when we fail to make the grade. It can’t make things any easier when we read Jesus telling us to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

Of course this shouldn’t stop us trying to be the best we can, it shouldn’t prevent us from going the extra mile, it shouldn’t excuse us from giving up when we fall at the first hurdle.

But remember when Jesus calls us to ‘Follow me [him]”, he calls us because of who we are (and perhaps despite of that); he calls us because we are special and treasured by him for that very reason. And once we can accept that all the rest can begin to fall into place.

Ken Kingston is an Editor and Writer for the Methodist Church in Britain, and is a local preacher in the High Wycombe Circuit.



PUDDING (Pick One!)

Steamed Pudding:

  • A well known phrase is ‘I am a human BEING, not a human DOING’. What do you think of this as a saying? Would you phrase it differently? Does it make you think about how you live your life? How do you reconcile this with the phrase ‘What would Jesus Do’ which was popularised in the 1990s?
  • We are surrounded by such a diversity of people on all side. Thinking of Matthew 25:40, how many people have we passed, at home/abroad, which is God in human form? In Matthew 5: 3-11 we find ‘The Beatitudes’. What does God think about those in poverty?
  • For groups that know each other, look at the acronym ‘FINE’ (Fed Up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional), and agree a ‘code of sharing’.


Access and join in the debates online:

Chilled Pudding:


  • Using Playdoh[1], create a shape (e.g. a fish) for each member of your group. Each member of the group takes the shape of another member, and promises to remember throughout the week.
  • Who am I? Create a self-portrait from magazine cuttings. Put it together as a montage of your housegroup.
  • Consider who are our ‘neighbours’ in the world, and work with this prayer ( to pray for them.
  • Housegroup records a YouTube video of themselves over pudding (discussing their plans for #bigread2011), and BigBible embeds a series in a blog post.


  • Who do you think you are? Find out about your family tree.
  • Ask an elderly relative to tell you about their life / Ask a younger member of the family to tell you what is important to them.
  • Look at your ‘Facebook Friends’. Take time to appreciate their diversity, and pray for those who appear in your status feed.
  • Investigate organisations such as Shelter, The Salvation Army, Methodist Relief and Development Fund, and consider if there are ways that you can contribute.

WEEK 1 (Word doc) (12baskets have PDF version for download)

Go forward to Week 2

[1] Homemade playdough recipe:


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