Small groups are at the center of what we do at Bethany. We know that getting connected with other people in a small group community might be one of the most important parts of feeling like Bethany Church is your church home. We want to help make it an easy process for you to find the right Grow Group. 
 
Each week, we get together and dive deeper into the sermon and God’s Word using these questions as a guide. Check out the questions below, organized by each week.
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Grow Group Questions • Philippians 3:1-7 • JoyFull

  1. Read Philippians 3:1-7. Did anything in these passages capture your attention?
      1. How could rejoicing in the Lord be a safeguard for believers? 
      2. How are joy and what we put our confidence in connected to each other?
  2. In the first verse, Paul calls us to “rejoice in the Lord”. His very next thought is to “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.” How might the influence of these people keep the Philippians from rejoicing in the Lord?
      1. What things do you think tend to keep you from rejoicing in the Lord? 
      2. Why do these things have so much power over our ability to rejoice?
  3. Pastor David shared on Sunday that anything that we rejoice more than rejoicing in God is an idol and robs us of fully worshiping God. Do you believe that is true? Why or why not?
      1. Personally, what do you think might be things in your own life that you might rejoice in more than directly rejoicing in God?
      2. Why do you think we all find ourselves battling with things that we cling to more than God? How can we truly combat that?
      3. We live in a time of constant change and uncertainty in our world right now. Have you struggled with the changing of certain “Church rituals” or even the “American Dream” expectation that have changed in the midst of COVID? Why do you think that is? 
      4. Are you able to show the world right now that you can rejoice in the Lord in the middle of these very hard times? What stops you? How can you fight against that?
      5.  What are things we can and should cling to as a Church during this time?
  4. What does it mean to “put no confidence in the flesh”? Why do you think Paul gave himself as an example of this? 
      1. Do you see things that the Church has elevated or added as a requirement of salvation? What is actually required of us for salvation? Read Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Romans 10:9, John 14:9.
      2. Look over Paul’s credentials in verses 5-6. What “gain” was he previously deriving from them? Why does he now see them as a loss?
      3. How do you think that we as Christians sometimes elevate the methods we use to grow closer to God above God himself? How do we then practically help each other counter that?
      4. The things Paul refers to in verses 4-6 are ethnic, religious, and theological marks, memberships, and behaviors. Can we think of any things in our own ethnic, religious, or theological world or community that we ourselves might be tempted to regard as “gains”? What would those be? How do you feel about that? Why?
  5. Do you feel like your full confidence and hope is in Christ, or are you struggling with having hope and confidence in other things? How can we as a group support and hold each other accountable in this?

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Grow Group Questions • Philippians 2:19-30 • JoyFull

  1. When you think of the word intimacy, do you think of friendship? How would you define intimacy?
      1. Read Ecclesiastes 4:7-12. Does the idea of intimacy in a friendship make you uncomfortable? 
  2. Read Philippians 2:19-30. Reflecting on these verses, what strikes you most?  Why?
      1. Paul uses many words to describe Epaphroditus & Timothy. Which one resonates most with you right now, and why? 
      2. What stands out to you about how Paul describes these two men? 
      3. Paul clearly has high esteem for both Timothy and Epaphroditus. What caused Paul to esteem them so much?
      4. What about your life would cause those in your life to conclude your concern for Jesus and others was genuine?
  3. Do you think there is a difference between earthly friendship and biblical friendship? Why or why not? 
      1. In his sermon on Sunday, Pastor Billy asked the question “What does it take to be a Godly friend?”. What are some qualities of a Godly friend? Think of some qualities you have seen in people you know. Read John 15:13, Proverbs 27:17, Proverbs 27:9.
      2. Read Proverbs 16:28, Proverbs 17:9, Job 6:14, What are some things you’ve seen that prevent intimate friendships?
      3. Read Proverbs 27:17, Proverbs 27:5-6. What role does rebuke have in an intimate friendship? Why is it important?
  4. In what ways is friendship with God similar to friendship with other believers? In what ways is it different?
      1. Read Proverbs 18:24. Do you tend to think of God as your friend, or do you think of other adjectives first? Why or why not?
      2. Read Job 29:4, John 15:11-17, James 2:23, James 4:4-5. How would you describe what an intimate friendship with God should look like? Why is friendship with the world and friendship with God incompatible?
  5. Do you feel like you have a true friendship with God? Why or why not? What is a step you can take this week to be closer to Him?  Take some time to pray as a group that God would continue to show us what it means to be His friend. 

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Grow Group Questions • Philippians 2:12-16 • JoyFull

  1. Read Philippians 2:12-16. What is most challenging in these verses? Encouraging? New?
      1. What does this section of scripture tell us about God? What does it tell us about humanity/us?
  2. On Sunday, Parker explained the differences between Justification vs Sanctification. Before the message, do you feel like you had a good understanding of those concepts, or were they new to you? How would you explain what they are and the differences? 
      1. Does God require us to change as a pre-requisite to salvation? Why or why not?
      2. Parker defined Justification as Freedom from the Power of Sin, Paid for by Christ. Our repentance and faith take hold of this gift, but they do not earn it. Do you agree with that definition? Why or why not?
      3. Parker defined Sanctification as freedom from the presence of sin. The process of being saved from sin’s presence. Do you agree with that definition? Why or why not?
      4. Do you think the difference between justification and sanctification matters? Why or why not? 
      5. Do you think Paul is talking about justification or sanctification in Philippians 2:12-18? Why would that matter? 
  3. Paul tells us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” in verse 12. What do you think that means? Why should a fear of God motivate us to not sin?
      1. Read John 15:11-17. How can we be afraid and tremble before God and still love him? Do you think love/friendship and fear/trembling are incompatible with each other? Why or why not?
      2. How can we feel fear, trembling, friendship, and love towards God at the same time? 
      3. How does Jesus’ definition of friendship in John 15:13-14 help reconcile friendship and fear together?
  4. Paul instructs the Philippians to not “grumble or dispute.” Do you struggle with either of those things? Why are grumbling and disputing ultimately against what God wants for us?
      1. Do you think “grumbling and disputing” are linked to pride? Why or why not?
      2. How would not “grumbling and disputing” set us apart from the world? 
      3. Do you think that Christians are doing a good job of looking set apart in the world right now? How can each of us as individuals improve?
  5. What did Paul mean by “the word of life”? 
      1. How would “holding fast to the word of life” enable the Philippians to remain joyful as the obeyed God?

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Grow Group Questions • Philippians 2:1-11 • JoyFull

  1. Who is the most humble person you have ever met? Briefly describe why you think of them as being humble. 
  2. Read Philippians 2:1-11 What stands out to you about this section of scripture?
      1. Read Philippians 1:27. What similarities do you see between 1:27 and 2:1-2? Why do you think Paul is focusing on unity so much?
      2. How do humility and unity work together? Can you have unity without humility?
  3. In the sermon, Pastor David shared that the concept of humility was completely foreign to Romans and Greeks, and that they didn’t even have a word to fully describe it. Do you think our modern culture values humility? Or that our modern culture has an accurate understanding of what humility is?
      1. Pastor David shared this quote on Sunday: “humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but is really not thinking of ourselves at all.” Do you agree with this definition of humility? Why or why not? How would you describe humility?
      2. Read Romans 12:10. Do you think of honor as something to outdo each other in? How can we be outdoing both those in the church and those outside the church in honor right now? How are honor and humility connected?
      3. Read Philippians 2:4. How can someone “not look to their own interests, but rather to the interests of others”? What does that look like? What does that not look like?
  4. Read Philippians 2:3. How would you define selfishness? Can you think of examples of things we ourselves do, or have done, from ambition, conceit, or looking to our own interests?
      1. Can you think of some specific times that you think Jesus would have been tempted to be selfish? How did he respond? 
      2. In what ways could Christ be our inspiration when it comes to resisting selfishness? 
      3. Is there a specific area or time when you find yourself most tempted to be selfish?
  5. Paul calls us to have the same attitude of Christ in verse 5. Does this principle of having the “same way of thinking as Christ” apply to all areas of our lives, or just some? How does it factor into your decisions? (for example, where to live, where to go to school, what to major in, what jobs to apply for or careers to pursue, whom to marry, etc.)
      1. What does having the “attitude of Christ” look like in our relationships with each other?
  6. Jesus gave up many things to save us on the cross. Are there things that you are struggling to give up to live out the gospel? What is a specific aspect of being more Christ-like that you would like to improve on this week? Take some time to pray about this for each other as a group.

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Grow Group Questions • Philippians 1:27-30 • JoyFull

  1. If you had to pick 3-5 things to describe who you are to someone, what would you pick? 
      1. Did you find yourself immediately thinking of something about following Christ or Christianity? Why or why not?
      2. Do you struggle with mixing your worldly identities with your Christian one? If so, how? 
  2. Read Philippians 1:27-30 (CSB version). What stands out to you about this section?
      1. What do you think a “Citizen of Heaven” is? Why would Paul use that term?
      2. What do you think Paul meant by “live your life in a manner worthy of the Gospel”? What does that look like? What does that not look like?
      3. According to this passage, what are some ways that unity plays a role in the spread of the gospel?
  3. Think about what it is like to suffer. How might hard times promote disunity among a community? Why might a person be more tempted to selfishness in the midst of personal difficulty? How is that counter to Gospel living?
  4. The people of Philippi were proud to be a part of the Roman Empire and proud to be loyal Roman citizens. Do you think there are ways that being a citizen of Rome could conflict with being a citizen of Heaven for members of the Philippian church? Why or why not?
      1. Do you think that tension exists for you in modern society? Why or why not?
      2. How do you think living as a Gospel-Centered Christian would look different than the world around us? Why?
  5. Pastor David shared this quote on Sunday: The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”  What do you think of that quote? Do you see it playing out in your life or around you?
      1. Do you find yourself struggling with a specific way that God calls us to live differently? If so, what? 
  6. Pastor David shared this on Sunday: “You by yourself in your own Christian life and walk, are not strong enough. You are not called to individual Christianity or individual Christian living. We are called to this great calling together. If we are not together we are a broken church.” Do you feel as though you have that calling and unity with those around you in Bethany Church?
      1. How can we as a church still be united when individuals still disagree on some things? How can we be unified knowing that we will never agree on everything?
      2. How can we as a Grow Group grow in unity when we might disagree on some topics? Take some time to pray for unity in your group, in Bethany Church and the global Church.

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Grow Group Questions • Philippians 1:12-20 • JoyFull

  1. As you reflect on Sunday’s message, what one principle or insight stands out as being particularly helpful, insightful, or difficult to grasp?
  2. Parker shared a definition of Joy on Sunday that “Joy is hope realized.” Do you like that definition? Why or why not?
      1. Do you think hope and joy are connected? Why or why not? If so, how?
  3. Read Philippians 1:12-20. What is most challenging in these verses? Encouraging? New?
      1. In verse 12, Paul says that his current imprisonment has “served to advance the gospel.” Do you look at times of difficulty as opportunities to advance the gospel?
      2. In verses 15-18, Paul says he is glad that Christ is being proclaimed, even though some have bad motives. Does that seem strange to you? How could selfish motives push someone to spread the gospel?
      3. Paul seems to look at his imprisonment as having a largely positive affect. What are some benefits that came from Paul being imprisoned? How does Paul’s focus on Christ affect his outlook?
  4. On Sunday, Parker shared the statement that “What your hope is in defines where your joy is found.” Do you agree with that statement? Why or why not?
      1. Have you seen this in your own experience? When?
      2. When you have had a lack of joy in your life, do you think that was due to having a hope rooted in something other than Christ, or was it something else? Explain. 
  5. What do you think Paul means by “deliverance” in verse 19? What is he referring to?
      1. Why does it matter what Paul views as his ultimate deliverance?
      2. Paul mentions several times that what is happening is “for Christ.” Do you find yourself having hardships because of what you’re doing “for Christ”? 
  6. If you were able to truly live as though Christ was your full hope in life, how do you think your life would look differently a year from now? 
      1. What’s a step of obedience you can take now to move towards fully living in that hope? 

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Grow Group Questions • 1 Corinthians 15 • The Gospel

  1. In his sermon on Sunday, Pastor Thad shared this quote: The grace in the gospel that saved me is the grace that moves me to share the gospel to save others. What did you think of that quote?
      1. Do you feel like that statement is true in your life right now?
      2. Do you think you have a good understanding of what the gospel means?
      3. Do you see the opportunities in your life to share the gospel?
  2. Pastor Thad shared on Sunday that the gospel is as important in the life of the believer as it is for the unbeliever. Do you think of the gospel as more than “that truth that saves people” in your daily life? Why or why not?
      1. How is the gospel meant to be active in the life of the believer in ways besides evangelism?
  3. Christian Apologetics is often defined as “a defense of the faith.” Have you ever had to make a defense of your faith to someone? How did it go?
      1. Which of Paul’s apologetic arguments in verses 1-8 is most compelling to you? Why?
      2. Are there other apologetic tools that you’ve used yourself or that you’ve seen others use? Did you find them useful? (ie, the Romans Road, the four spiritual laws)
      3. One of the most powerful apologetic tools a Christian has to offer is to share “This is who I was before, this is what Christ did for me, this is who I am now.” Do you find it easy or challenging to articulate to others? Why?
  4. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 uses the phrase “According to the scriptures” as one of his foundations of the gospel that Paul is sharing. Do you feel like you have a good understanding of the scriptures? Do you feel like you can quote scripture easily?
      1. Do you think that using the Bible as your only apologetics tool is not enough? Why or why not?
      2. Read 2 Peter 1:16-21. What differences or similarities do you see between Paul’s apologetics in 1 Corinthians and Peter’s apologetics in 2 Peter?
  5. Pastor Thad shared that meditating on scripture and the truth of the gospel renews, refocuses, and empowers us. Take some time to pray as a group that God would do that for us as individuals and as a church.
If you or your Grow Group have any more questions about Pastor Thad’s candidacy at this point, please reach out to the Overseers or Pastors.

Senior Pastor Search Team Prayer Prompt

Pray for One Mind and One spirit as we prepare for this weekend! Pray that God would draw our will in line with him! Pray that Bethany Church and Pastor Thad are united in spirit and drawn towards the Will of our heavenly Father!
 
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28, ESV

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Grow Group Questions • Philippians 1:9-11 • JoyFull

  1. Read Philippians 1:9-11 as a group in a few translations. (NLT, CSB, ESV, ASV, CEV NIV). What stands out to you about these verses?
      1. Do you notice any significant differences between the translations? If so, what?
  2. Pastor David shared in his sermon on Sunday that the order of Philippians 1:9 is important, in particular, that love is listed first. Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Why or why not? 
      1. How do you think that practically applies to how we use our knowledge of God and the Bible? Or our discernment?
      2. Do you find yourself using knowledge or discernment without love? 
  3. How would you describe Paul’s relationship with the Philippians based on Philippians 1:3-11?
      1. How do you see Paul modeling the love he talks about in verse 9 in how he writes to the Philippians? What can we learn from that, especially considering his authority and knowledge? 
  4. Everyone open and read 1 John 4:7-21 and keep open for reference. What stands out to you about how love is talked about in these verses?
      1. What do these verses tell us about God? What do they tell us about humanity/us?
      2. How could misunderstanding the importance or definition of love hurt someone as we use our knowledge or discernment?
  5. Read 1 John 4:20-21, Matthew 5:21-24 & Matthew 5:43-48. In a time when there are many opinions on what is going on in our world, how have you done in loving those outside the church? How about your brothers and sisters inside the church?
      1. How can we reconcile with and love those we disagree with inside the church? 
      2. How can we move forward in love as these complex topics continue to swirl around us? 
  6. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. If you were to pick three things from that list of what love is that God is challenging you to grow in, what would they be? Take some time to discuss and share as a group. How can the group help you grow in those specific areas?

Senior Pastor Search Team Prayer Request

Pray for Unity of our Body as we walk this path the Lord has placed before us. Though we are separated in body we are united in Spirit! Pray for Pastor Thad Harless and his family, that they would feel the uniting of Spirit with Bethany!
 
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 15:5-6 ESV 
 
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
2 Corinthians 13:11
 
“complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”
Philippians 2:2 

 


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Grow Group Questions • JoyFull • Philippians 1:1-8

  1. As Pastor David shared on Sunday, many of us can come into a message on joy with a lot of different ideas and preconceived notions about what joy really is.Before you heard the message this Sunday, how would you honestly have described joy? 
      1. Do you have an easy time describing joy? Why or why not?
      2. Do you feel like you have any preconceived ideas about joy as we begin this new series? If so, what and why?
      3. How would you fit the concept of rejoicing into your thoughts about joy? How are the two connected?
  2. Read Philippians 1:1-8. Does anything stand out to you in these verses? If so, what and why? 
      1. Does Paul’s positive tone seem odd considering he is currently imprisoned?
  3. Galatians 5:22-23 lists joy as a fruit of the spirit. Why is that significant?
      1. Do you think someone can achieve joy without God? Why or why not?
      2. Have you ever felt like joy is something that you need to simply “turn on”? Why or why not?
  4. Read James 1:2-8. What do you think James means by “count it all joy” during suffering? 
      1. What is the source of the joy that James is talking about in this passage?
      2. Do you think wisdom and faith are connected to joy? Why or why not?
      3. How does this section in James connect to Philippians 1:6?
  5. Acts 16 tells us about Paul’s trip to Philippi, and about the pain and imprisonment that he faced there. What stands out to you about his response to his wrongful imprisonment in Acts 16:15-32?
      1. Why do you think Paul’s response was to worship and pray?
      2. Do you think his worship and prayer connect to Paul’s joy? Why or why not?
  6. As we go into our summer series largely focusing on joy, spend some time as a group praying that God would open our eyes and help us surrender to Him as teaches each of us through the book of Philippians:
      1. Pray that God would open our eyes to see what he wants us to learn.
      2. Ask God to help each of us surrender to what he teaches us.
      3. Pray that God would show each of us what joy is through this series
 

Senior Pastor Search Team Prayer Request

Pray for Pastor Thad Harless and His family as they continue to seek the leading of the Holy Spirit in this transition and seek to know our church better. Pray for our Bethany family as we seek to know Pastor Thad Harless better!
 
John 17:23 ESV ”I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one,
so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved
me.”
 
2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
 
1 John 1:3-4 ESV “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

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Grow Group Questions • Psalm 82 • Through The Valley

  1. What’s one thing from last weekend’s sermon that you hope we talk about as a group?
  2. Read Psalm 82 as a group in a few different translations. Did anything in these passages capture your attention? If so, what and why?
  3. Psalm 82:1 talks about God placing judgment in his court. How do you feel about the word “judgment”? How do you feel about God placing judgment?
  4. Pastor Billy shared on Sunday that the context of this Psalm is actually about the fallen spiritual beings that were given dominion or that it could mean human judges that lived during that period. Which context do you think is right and why?
  5. Micah 6:8 talks about God caring for those being unjustly treated, and using us, his people, as instruments of his justice and mercy. Do you think of justice and mercy as being a part of your daily calling as a Christian?
      1. When you think of God enacting his justice and mercy on the earth, do you think of yourself as being a primary tool that he might use? Why or why not?
      2. How can we change our perspective and think of ourselves in this way; as God’s instruments of justice and mercy?
      3. Why do you think the enemy would want to keep you from fulfilling this role?
  6. This week, we want to take extra time in our Grow Groups to pray about the Mercy Justice team, and where God is leading Bethany Church as a whole, and the individuals within it to accomplish its mission. Here are some topics to pray for as a group:
      1. Thank God that he has been gracious in his adoption of us into his family.
      2. Praise God for being completely just in his actions and merciful towards us.
      3. Pray that God would show us how to use the gifts that he’s given us to love the people who are desperate for them.
      4. Pray that God would use Bethany Church to protect and uplift the abused children in our community, and hear their cries to Him.
      5. Pray for other people groups that are in need of mercy and justice in our community.
      6. Pray that God would show each individual in the church what their role should be in this, and bless them with the resources and skills to complete his task.
      7. Pray that we would give all of these things into God’s hands as he has complete control over everything.
  7. Between Billy’s sermon on Sunday, and since we last talked about the Mercy Justice Team, have you felt any stirring in your heart towards those foster care, adoption and helping the oppressed? If so, what?

 

Senior Pastor Search Team Prayer Prompt

Praise God for his sovereignty and leading. God has been faithful through the whole search process and continues to show his faithfulness. Let us rejoice in Him!
 
Psalm 32:8 ESV “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
 
Psalms 119:90 ESV “Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.”
 
Exodus 34:6 ESV “Then the LORD passed by in front of him (Moses) and proclaimed, “the LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.”

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