Becoming Heart Sisters - Women's Bible Study Leader Guide: A Bible Study on Authentic Friendships

Becoming Heart Sisters - Women's Bible Study Leader Guide: A Bible Study on Authentic Friendships

by Natalie Chambers Snapp

Paperback(Leaders Gu)

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Overview

Friendships with other women are as important to our mental, physical, and spiritual health as rest, exercise, and prayer. We don’t just want friends—we need friends. God created us for relationship. Yet despite being more connected than ever before, we struggle to feel connected. From the false intimacy of social media to busyness and relational conflict, there are many challenges to developing authentic relationships.

If you’ve ever been hurt by a friend, struggled to balance friendship with everyday life, seen a friendship end too early, or longed for deeper and more authentic friendships, this Bible study is for you. As Natalie leads you in a deep exploration of timeless truths in the Old and New Testaments, you will learn how to develop and nurture the kind of enriching and satisfying friendships that build up the body of Christ and bring honor to God. Personal testimonies and stories of successes and failures add a level of authenticity that is refreshing and insightful. As you learn to cultivate God-honoring relationships, you will become more like Christ and demonstrate His love to a broken world.

Study participants will find deep study of Scripture's principles for God-honoring friendships; help for navigating conflict, setting boundaries, and learning to forgive; in-depth study of Scripture with testimonies and stories that "ring true," the do's and don'ts of authentic friendships; and Bible-based guidance for building stronger and deeper relationships.

The Leader Guide contains six session plan outlines, complete with discussion points and questions, activities, prayers, and more—plus leader helps for facilitating a group.

Other components for the Bible study, available separately, include a Participant Workbook, DVD with six 16-20 minute sessions, and boxed Leader Kit.

“Becoming Heart Sisters is a beautiful reminder of how powerful walking hand in hand with a loyal friend can be. After completing this study, you will be better equipped to be this kind of God-honoring friend. Thank you, Natalie, for the charge to sacrificially love and serve our friends.”

—Lysa Terkeurst, New York Times best-selling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501821226
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication date: 02/21/2017
Series: Becoming Heart Sisters Series
Edition description: Leaders Gu
Pages: 64
Product dimensions: 7.80(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.10(d)

About the Author

NATALIE CHAMBERS SNAPP is an author, blogger, and speaker known for her refreshing authenticity and practical approach to life and God’s Word. Not choosing to follow Jesus until the age of twenty-seven, she is passionate about sharing the grace, mercy, and truth of God’s love with others “regardless of your track record.” Her transparency and humor endear her to women of all ages. Natalie is the author of the book Heart Sisters: Be the Friend You Want to Have, and Becoming Heart Sisters: A Bible Study on Authentic Friendships. She has written for various blogs and online devotionals, including Proverbs 31. Natalie lives in the Midwest with her husband and their three children.

Read an Excerpt

Becoming Heart Sisters - Women's Bible Study Leader Guide

A Bible Study on Authentic Friendships


By Natalie Chambers Snapp

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2017 Abingdon Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5018-2123-3



CHAPTER 1

Week 1


WHY DO WE NEED GIRLFRIENDS AND WHERE DO WE FIND THEM?

Understanding Our Need for Friendship with Other Women


Leader Prep

Theme and Scripture Overview

This week's theme is love. We know Jesus' commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. This points us to relationships; we have to be in relationship with other people in order to love them. Authentic friendships with other women are so important — not only to fulfill Jesus' command but also to meet some very basic needs.

Memory Verse Matthew 22:37-40


Key Scriptures

Day 1 Genesis 2:5-15, 18-25; 10:32; 11:3-9; Luke 1

Day 2 Matthew 5:13-16; 22:34-40

Day 3 Matthew 16:27-28; 17:1-13; Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-44; 12:1-8

Day 4 Joshua 2; 6:22-25; Judges 4:1-9; 2 Samuel 11; 12:15-24; 1 Kings 1:15; Proverbs 27:17

Day 5 Ruth 1; Luke 1:26-38; 2:16-19; John 19:25-26


Weekly Readings Recap

Review the key themes of the week:

Day 1: Women were created to be in relationship with others, which is why we can feel as if we're going to break when our relationships start to crumble.

Day 2: We don't just want friends; we need friends. We were created to love. Loving relationships are at the heart of the gospel. And through the bumps in those relationships, we are called to be salt and light.

Day 3: We can't be best friends with everyone. Within our Heart Sister relationships, there are three categories or levels: (1) Inner Heart Friends (our very closest friends), (2) Middle Heart Friends (close friends), and (3) Outer Heart Friends (good friends). Jesus modeled this for us in His own relationships.

Day 4: Just as we were all created with unique personalities, we need different kinds of friends to ensure we are encouraged to grow in our faith.

Day 5: God has made it clear that we were created to be in relationship. He has blessed us with women in our lives who possess different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses, and He has provided various avenues to connect with these women. Having authentic friendships is a symbiotic relationship — in other words, both parties benefit.


What You Will Need

• iPod or MP3 player with speakers or CD player and CD; candles and a lighter; coffee or other refreshments (optional, see Preparing Your Hearts and Minds)

Becoming Heart Sisters DVD and DVD player

• Stick-on nametags and pens

• Board or chart and markers


Session Objective

Today you will help the women in your group discover that authentic and meaningful friendships are one way we can love each other — regardless of our differences. We'll consider why authentic friendships with other women are so important — not only to fulfill Jesus' command to love one another but also to meet some very basic needs.


Session Outline

Preparing Your Hearts and Minds (2 minutes)

To create a warm, welcoming environment and help the women disconnect from the outside world and connect to God and one another, consider lighting one or more candles, playing a worship song, and providing coffee or other refreshments as the women are gathering. When you are ready to begin the session, pray the opening prayer below or a prayer of your own.

Dear God, we thank You for friendship. We are grateful that it is Your design that we don't have to go it alone in this life. Give us courage to seek out relationships with Heart Sisters and to be good friends. May we grow closer to You and to one another as we study your Word. Amen.


Getting to Know One Another (3–5 minutes)

Hand out the nametags and pens, and ask participants to write their names and wear the nametags for the session. Then, ask each woman to find a partner. Ask the pairs to discuss the following questions:

• Who is the first friend you can remember from childhood? What do you remember about that friendship?

• What do you look for in a friend?

• After a couple of minutes, come back together as a full group and have each pair quickly introduce each other to the group by their names and something they learned about each other.


Video (25–30 minutes)

Play the Week 1 video segment on the DVD. Invite participants to complete the Video Viewer Guide for Week 1 in the participant book as they watch (pages 41-42).


Group Discussion (20–30 minutes)

Video Discussion Questions

• As women, how are we created to be in relationship with others? How does the Hebrew word for helper, ezer kenegdo, give us insight into this?

• Oswald Chambers compared our design as women to the relational role of the Holy Spirit. What aspects of the divine nature do you think are best represented by womanhood? How would you describe the beauty and significance of our relational design as women?

• The Nurses' Health Study conducted by Harvard University found that women without strong networks of female friends posed the same risks to their health as smoking and being overweight. Does this finding help to motivate you to cultivate friendships with other women? Why or why not?

• How have your relationships with other women given you the opportunity to do small things with great love?


Participant Book Discussion Questions

More discussion points and questions have been provided than you will have time to include. Before the session, select those you want to cover, and put a check mark beside them. Page references are provided for questions related to questions or activities in the participant book. For these questions, invite participants to share the answers they wrote in their books.

1. Men typically feel most successful when they enjoy their occupations and are providing well for their families. On the other hand, women tend to feel most successful when their relationships are healthy and there is peace among the people in their lives. (Day 1)

• Do you find this statement to be true or false? Why?

• When do you feel most successful?


2. The friendship between Mary and Elizabeth in the Bible models a relationship between Heart Sisters. (Day 1)

• Read Luke 1:26-38. Try to read these verses with new eyes, and ask God to reveal truths you haven't noticed in the past. What did you notice? (page 14).

• How do these women model love and support for each other?

• How do you think they might have felt after receiving encouraging words from each other?

• How has a friend encouraged you in the past? (page 15). How did you receive the words?


3. Loving God and loving others are the two basic premises of Christianity. When we choose to follow Jesus, we are choosing to love God above all else and love one another. And one of the most effective ways to love one another as we love ourselves is to engage in healthy, authentic relationships. (Day 2)

• Read Matthew 22:34-40. How do you think being in relationship with other women is an opportunity to love our neighbors as ourselves? (page 17).

• What are some characteristics of healthy, authentic relationships?


4. Salt and light. It's a bit of a tall order, sisters. We're called to be set apart, precious, valuable, useful, powerful, illuminating, fear-reducing, and truth-seeking — in all of our relationships. (Day 2)

• Read Matthew 5:13-16. What are we supposed to do? (page 19) What does it mean to be the salt of the earth and light of the world?

• Describe what it feels like when your light is shining bright.

• Describe what it feels like when your light feels dim.

• How does shining the light of Jesus help us create deep friendships?


5. Among our Heart Sister relationships, there are three categories or levels: (1) Inner Heart Friends (our very closest friends), (2) Middle Heart Friends (close friends), and (3) Outer Heart Friends (good friends). (Day 3)

• Discuss what you learned about Inner Heart Friends. Who were Jesus' "inner heart friends"?

• What did you discover about Middle Heart Friends? Who were Jesus' "middle heart friends"?

• Now describe what you learned about Outer Heart Friends? Who were Jesus' "outer heart friends?

• How do these categories help you assess your own friendships? How do they give us freedom and grace related to our relationships?


6. We must accept the reality that we can't be everything to everyone, nor can we be best friends with everyone. The truth is, all that people-pleasing, wanting-to-be-best-friends-with-everyone stuff is rooted in pride. When we try to please everyone, we're trying to be everyone's everything. (Day 3)

• Would you describe yourself as a people pleaser? How does that show up in your daily life?

• Why is people pleasing rooted in pride?

• Talk about what it would take to release the need to please everyone and what the outcome would feel like in your life.


7. We were all created with unique personalities that shape our perspectives and opinions. Just as sharpening the blade of an iron makes it more effective, close friends help sharpen our character and make us more effective. (Day 4)

• Read Proverbs 27:17. What do we learn from this verse? (page 26). What does it mean that we "sharpen" one another?

• How have you experienced a relationship that demonstrates this verse?


8. Surrounding yourself with the right people can literally change your life. Putting all of our friendship needs on one person can be a heavy burden for a friend. We need a diverse group of friends that have various qualities and can speak into our lives from different points of view. We need our own version of the "Super Seven Sisters." (Day 4)

• Read Joshua 2 and name four words you would use to describe Rahab. Which do you admire the most? (page 27).

• Read Judges 4:4-9. Is there something about Deborah or this glimpse of her story that resonates with you? If so, why? (page 29).

• Read 2 Samuel 11 and 2 Samuel 12:15-24. How would you describe Bathsheba's character after reading these passages? (pages 29-30). What kind of friendship qualities do you see in her?


9. The "commas" in our lives are pauses in which times might be hard, but the story isn't finished yet. Our friends can help us to see these times as commas rather than periods, offering us support, encouragement, and friendship when we need it most. (Day 5)

• When and how have your friends helped you see challenges or pauses in your story as commas instead of periods?

• Review your notes from Day 5. What aspects of Ruth and Naomi's friendship would you like to nurture in your own friendships? How might you do that?

• What can we learn from Mary and Elizabeth about how to be a good friend?

• The Super Seven Sisters from the Bible represent different friendship qualities. Who are some of your Super Seven Sisters? (See pages 36-39.)

• Do you think it is important to have friends in each of the categories listed on pages 38-39? Why or why not? (page 39).


10. It's important to recognize the difference between cliques and tight-knit groups of friends because incorrectly labeling a group of women as a clique might deprive you of some very dear Heart Sisters. (Day 5)

• What is the difference between a clique and a tight-knit group of friends?

• How could you open yourself up to either receive new friends into your group or be vulnerable enough to seek out a friend group?


11. Wrap up group discussion with these questions:

• What is something that stood out to you in your study this week?

• How does it impact your life to realize that you need friendships with other women?


*Group Activity (15–20 minutes)

Divide into groups of three to four people for deeper discussion. You might want to write these questions on a board or chart.

• Describe a time when you depended on a group of friends. How were they there for you? Are you still a tight-knit group today? What circumstances led to the close friendship?

• When you consider the characteristics of the Super Seven Sisters, which are characteristics that are represented in your current group of friends? Which of the Super Seven Sisters do you need or want to cultivate in your life?


Closing Prayer (3 minutes)

Close the session by taking personal prayer requests from group members and leading the group in prayer. As you progress to later weeks in the study, encourage members to participate in the closing prayer by praying out loud for one another and the requests given. Remind group members to pray for one another throughout the week.

CHAPTER 2

Week 2


GETTING RIGHT WITH GOD

Addressing Spiritual Issues That Affect Friendship


Leader Prep

Theme and Scripture Overview

This week's theme is how our "junk" or sin negatively impacts our relationships. When we do not have a right relationship with God, we do not have a right relationship with others. A stronger relationship with God is the gateway to stronger relationships with other people.

Memory Verse 2 Chronicles 7:14

Key Scriptures

Day 1 Genesis 29:1-30; John 21:15-23; Galatians 6:3-5; 1 John 4:19-20

Day 2 Genesis 29:31-35, 30:1-15; Proverbs 14:30; Ephesians 2:10; James 3:13-18

Day 3 Psalm 139; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Day 4 Deuteronomy 8:14; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 26:1-23; Psalm 149:4; Proverbs 11:2; 13:10; 16:18; 18:12; 22:4; 29:23; Obadiah 1:13; Acts 3:19; James 4:10; 1 John 1:9

Day 5 Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:9; Psalm 56:3; Proverbs 4:23; 12:25; Isaiah 41:10; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8; 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 Peter 5:7; 1 John 4:16-19


Weekly Readings Recap

Review the key themes of the week:

Day 1: Getting right with God is the first step in cultivating authentic relationships, because it's hard to keep our relationships in sync when our relationship with God is out of sync. One relationship barrier we're all familiar with is comparison, which breathes death and steals joy. Comparison happens when we are looking sideways at what others have instead of looking up to what God has for us.

Day 2: The God of the entire universe considers you His greatest work because you were made with great skill. So, when we become envious of others, we are putting down the work that God has done.

Day 3: Too much comparison and envy can attack the roots of even the most firmly planted believer, causing her to become insecure. But sharing our own insecurities brings them out of the darkness into the light, and there God can do His best healing work.

Day 4: Pride is the "great thief" because it steals relationships, personal growth, and joy — just to name a few. The best way to combat pride is to humble ourselves — first to God, then to others.

Day 5: Fear is a powerful enemy of faith, because it paralyzes us into inaction, reducing our effectiveness for the Kingdom. When we experience God's love, we have no reason to fear.


What You Will Need

• iPod or MP3 player with speakers or CD player and CD; candles and a lighter; coffee or other refreshments (optional, see Preparing Your Hearts and Minds)

Becoming Heart Sisters DVD and DVD player

• Stick-on nametags and pens

• Board or chart and markers


Session Objective

Today you will help the women in your group identify and clear away any "junk" they've been hanging on to that is keeping them from a deeper relationship with God and close friendships with other women.


Session Outline

Preparing Your Hearts and Minds (2 minutes)

To create a warm, welcoming environment and help the women disconnect from the outside world and connect to God and one another, consider lighting one or more candles, playing a worship song, and providing coffee or other refreshments as the women are gathering. When you are ready to begin the session, pray the opening prayer below or a prayer of your own.

Dear God, thank You for this time together among friends to study Your Word and deepen our friendships. Give us humility, peace, and strength today as we discuss the ways that sin might be keeping us from thriving relationships — with You and with one another. Speak through the Scriptures and our conversations. In Jesus' name. Amen.


Getting to Know One Another (3–5 minutes)

Hand out the nametags and pens, and ask participants to write their names and wear the nametags for the session. Then, ask each woman to find a partner. Ask the pairs to discuss the following scenario:

• A friend calls to tell you all about her recent vacation, how relaxed she is, and what a wonderful time she had. As you answer the phone, you have a multitude of pressing demands vying for your attention (whether you are at home or work or somewhere else). Which of these is closest to your first thought?

* Happiness for her: "I can't wait to hear about that, but it will have to be another time."

* Envy: "I can't believe she was on a vacation while I'm knee deep in _____________!"

* Insecurity: "She must have it all together. Why can't I seem to get my life together like hers?"

After a couple of minutes, come back together as a full group and invite the women to share some highlights from their discussions.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Becoming Heart Sisters - Women's Bible Study Leader Guide by Natalie Chambers Snapp. Copyright © 2017 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

About the Author,
Introduction,
Leader Helps,
Week 1: Why Do We Need Girlfriends and Where Do We Find Them? Understanding Our Need for Friendship with Other Women (Matthew 22:37-40),
Week 2: Getting Right with God Addressing Spiritual Issues that Affect Friendship (2 Chronicles 7:14),
Week 3: Clash of the Titans Honoring God Through Relational Conflict (Romans 12:18),
Week 4: The Forgiveness Business Letting Go and Being Free (Colossians 3:13-14),
Week 5: Blurred Lines Establishing Healthy Boundaries (Galatians 1:10),
Week 6: Heart Sisters Do's and Don'ts Putting It All into Practice (Psalm 37:4),
Planning a Mother-Daughter Heart Sisters Group,

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