This is what our weekly group for adults with learning disabilities is called.
This week the other two leaders and I had a planning meeting. In a future post I will explain how our group was set up but for now I will give you an insight into how we plan our meetings. These next few weeks obviously lend themselves to looking at the Easter story and we have a mission week in our church which all groups that meet there are involved in.
Week 1 – we have a team meeting where we organise ourselves, allocate the practical jobs and make sure that the team are encouraged and supported as best we can. We also use this time to pray for our members and the half terms’ teaching….and this time we are having chips for our shared tea!
Week 2 – We find parables great teaching content as they can easily be translated into a visual medium like pictures, puppets or drama. Jesus told them and sometimes explained them so that we could have an illustration of his message. This week we are going to look at the lost sheep and the lost coin. The talk will be explaining how we can be lost by ignoring God and what his rescue plan is to bring us into his kingdom through Jesus.
Week 3 – Our vicar is joining us to talk about why we celebrate and have communion. He did this talk for us about 18 months ago and it was really clear and well explained. Since then, however, we have had a lot of new members who haven’t heard the talk and we want everyone to be clear about what it is and why we do it. We want our members to be able to choose to have communion at Good News Group, but also to be familiar with it so they can join in when they go to other services in church. Our vicar will explain the choice they have and that it is ok to decline of they do not know that they want to follow Jesus.
Week 4 – This is our church mission week. At Good News Group we are holding a special guest ‘Tea party’ in our usual time slot. Our members will be inviting their friends and we hope to invite other people with learning disabilities in our town to this event. We will be serving tea, sandwiches and cake (lots of baking needed!) and then will have a ‘service’ in which we introduce Zacheaus through drama, songs and pictures and talk about “Why we need Jesus”.
Week 5 – This is the week before Easter and we will look at the Easter story through the eyes of Peter, his denial and then affirmation of Jesus. We will celebrate with songs and prayer our risen Lord and saviour. We will give our members and opportunity to respond to the gospel. We explain that following Jesus is their choice and give our non-verbal members symbols of ‘yes / no / not sure’ so that they can communicate to us their personal choices.
As we prayed at the end of the meeting, each of us recognised our total reliance on God. This is His work and we are there to share his gospel and let him help people understand it. It is the same gospel for people with learning disabilities as it is for a university professor, the poor, the rich, the free, the oppressed. God loves us and wants all people to be saved.