When I think of Questing (the subject of this week’s small group ministry session based on resources from SpiritualityandPractice.com), I think of something like Brad Pitt’s character in Seven Years in Tibet (but without his on-again-off-again German accent). You know, heading off on an adventure—preferable someplace where the landscape’s dramatically different from the one you’re used to—being challenged to the limits of your abilities. Kinda like the Amazing Race, I guess. Those sort of quests can be both physically and spiritually challenging. Fortunately, we’re talking about strictly spiritual quests here (unless you’re taking your small group to the Himalayas for this session), the kind of quest the Church of the Larger Fellowship takes you on with their new iPhone (and Android) app “Quest for Meaning.” If you’ve got an iPhone or an Android, you should check it out. In the meantime, here’s this week’s session on Questing.

Chalice/Candle Lighting

Opening Words:

People are looking for something and cannot seem to find it. They say they want more but cannot describe what that more is. This essentially is a spiritual quest. — James W. Jones in In the Middle of this Road We Call Our Life

Check-in/Sharing Topic:

Debbie Ford, author of The Right Questions: Ten Essential Questions to Guide You to an Extraordinary Life, is convinced that our lives can be enriched and transformed by asking the right questions. At a retreat, she was told that we each carry a flame and that hers was very small. The choices she was making were not feeding the fire but diminishing it. The image stayed with her: “Each of us has an internal flame that is the keeper of our life force. Each choice we make either adds to this force, making it stronger, igniting and feeding our flame, or diminishes the force, dampening our internal flame, reducing its power.” Certainly the people who are in our life contribute to this process: some dim the light; others serve as catalysts to a larger and stronger flame. Staying awake is also important. Far too much of the time we are on autopilot.

In her book, Ford examines ten questions which can spur us to greater spiritual growth: a few of these are: Will this choice propel me toward an inspiring future or will it keep me stuck in the past? Will this choice bring me long-term fulfillment or will it bring me short-term gratification? Am I standing in my power or am I trying to please another? Is this an act of self-love or is it an act of self-sabotage? Is this an act of faith or is it an act of fear? Am I choosing from my divinity or am I choosing from my humanity?

Questions: Discuss the importance of questions on a spiritual journey. If you are part of a religious tradition, what is its attitude toward questions?

Check-out/Likes and Wishes

Closing Words:

If we are spiritual beings on a human path rather than human beings who may be on a spiritual path… then life is not only a journey but a pilgrimage or quest as well. When we experience sacred moments it often is not so much a matter of outer geography but of finding soulful places within ourselves.
— Jean Shinoda Bolen in Crossing to Avalon

To Practice This Thought:When you encounter someone who believes he or she has all the answers, vow to honor all the questions.

Group Session Plan based on resources on Questing from www.spiritualityandpractice.com.

For a PDF version of this small group ministry session, click here: Questing.

For more information on small group ministry, visit the UU Small Group Ministry Network.