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THE SHACK

OVERVIEW OF SIX WEEK DISCUSSION SESSION GUIDELINES

(Wednesday Night Class at Jarvis United Methodist Church, Greenville, NC from January 7 to February 11, 2009)


Questions for consideration and discussion developed by Tom Mitchiner, Greenville, NC. These questions for consideration and discussion may be copied and freely used and adapted for private purposes and for group sessions. However, these questions for consideration may not be sold, nor given to anyone, who may attempt to derive profit from same. As the author,William P. Young, noted is his forward to The Shack, "if you happen upon this story and hate it, he says, 'Sorry...but it wasn't primarily written for you.' then again, maybe it was." The same might also be said for these questions for consideration and discussion. The value for the participants in using the questions for consideration and discussion was that it aided them in their own process of more fully experiencing God in their life as they paid attention to their own soul work. Because of time constraints this was a six week study. Given the depth of discussion if time permits I would recommend a nineteen week study starting with the forward and then doing one chapter per week.  

 WEEKLY MATERIALS:

1. Name tags for each participant and markers to write their names.

2. Tablet for participants to write down their names, phone numbers and email addresses .

3. One set of questions for consideration for each small group.

INTRODUCTIONS:

1. The moderator for the session will have each participant give their name, how they heard about the book, if they have read the book and what they hope to get out of participating in small group discussions. (Only new members will introduce themselves each week.) Like most men participating in the discussion sessions that were introduced to the book by their spouse, I first read the book at the insistance of my wife.

2. The moderator will share the following information about the author. (First week only.)

William P. Young was raised in New Guinea as the son of missionary parents. He wrote this book to explain his own spiritual process in a safe way to his six children and dedicates it first to his wife and second to those "who believe Love rules." The book is an analogy of his own spiritual experiences of how God met him where he hurt the most.

GUIDELINES FOR DISCUSSION SESSIONS:

1. After the introduction of new participants, the moderator will give an overview of the chapter/chapters for discussion each week although each participant is expected to have read or listened to the audio version of the assigned material in the book to be discussed.

2. The moderator will explain the common topic question for discussion that each small group will consider first before discussing their respective chapter specific questions. 

3. The moderator will review the rule for sharing: "Share only what is safe for you, but everyone is encouraged to participate".

4. The moderator will divide the participants into groups by having participants count off by three. (At JUMC we had three groups, but the number and size of each small group can be adjusted as needed.)

5. The group facilitator for each group will be given a copy of their chapter questions for consideration and discussion. An asterisk is by three of the chapter questions that the facilitator might want their group to discuss first and if time permits to discuss the other questions.

6. One person from each group will be chosen by their group to give a summary or consensus of what was most personally meaningful to them in their discussion.

CLOSING:

1. One person from each session will give a summary or consensus of their group discussion and perhaps focus on one questions that seemed most significant to them.

2. The moderator will assign a homework question for the participants to consider during the week.

3. The moderator and/or participants will lead in closing prayer.

4. The moderator will collect name tags for the next session.

5. Final session concluding question for all participants to share: What was the most troubling part for you in The Shack and what was the most helpful or meaningful part of the book?

WEEKLY QUESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION AND DISCUSSION:

1.Forward & Chapters 1, 2 & 3. (January 7, 2009) Homework: See if you hear God speaking to you differently and perhaps unexpectantly this week and see if you address God differently.

2. Chapters 4, 5 & 6. (January 14, 2009) Homework: See how God's life and power is at work in you this week.

3. Chapters 7, 8 & 9. (January 21, 2009) Homework: See what soul work the Holy Spirit is leading you to work on this week.

4. Chapters 10, 11 & 12. (January 28, 2009) Homework: See if being present with God this week is more like being in the cave, walking on the water, or something else.

5. Chapters 13, 14 &15. (February 4, 2009) Homework: See what expectations play a role in your relationship with God and if they are helping you to really know, trust and love him.

6. Chapters 16, 17, 18 & After Words. (February 11, 2009) Homework: See how even small matters in continuing soul work makes a difference in your life and in the lives of those around you.