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I. Introduction (5 Minutes)
  1. Ask 3-4 people to share their answers to the question at the top of page 24 in their workbooks.
  2. If you have time, ask 3-4 people to share the most pleasantly surprising thing about their improved relationships that the growth opportunities prompted.
II. Sharing Session (95 Minutes)
  1. Explain the purpose and format for taking notes in the class. (1 minute)
    1. Instruct the class to open their workbooks to page 35.
    2. Instruct each person to write down what people say that he or she wants to remember in prayer the next week.
    3. Tell them to include notes for the Group Affirmation time later in the session.
  2. Explain the sharing format (1 minute)
    1. Explain the purpose and the function of the four Sharing Chairs at the front of the room.
    2. Explain the format for answering the four questions on the back board.
      1. Time: 2.5 minutes.
      2. Procedure:
        1. Call an entire row to come to the Sharing Chairs.
        2. People remain seated while sharing.
        3. Applaud after each person shares.
        4. Affirm each person from the back of the room after each one shares.
        5. Call on someone else in the Sharing Chairs to share, but do not normally go down the row.
        6. After the last person shares and you affirm him or her, dismiss the entire row with applause.
        7. Call another row to the Sharing Chairs.
        8. Repeat this procedure until all rows share.
      3. Order: Share only when called upon by your facilitator.
      4. Request: Do not bring your workbook to the Sharing Chairs.
  3. Explain the applause (1 minute)
    1. Why: To say “thank you” for sharing a portion of their lives with the rest of us for our enrichment and encouragement.
    2. When: After each person shares, and while a row returns to their chairs in the “audience.”
  4. Explain the time-keeping procedure (1 minute)
    1. “Everyone has up to 2.5 minutes to answer the four questions.”
    2. “At the 2-minute mark, the assistant will wave from his or her seat on the back row to let you know you have only 30 more seconds.”
    3. “If you see the assistant wave a second time, your time is up.”
    4. “Finish your sentence and sit down.”
  5. Explain why we do not rescue sharers (2 minutes)
    1. People often share more deeply than they thought they would.
    2. Sometimes, their emotions flood and they cannot talk momentarily.
    3. Class members want to rescue them by becoming Class Clowns (men) and Good Samaritans (usually women).
    4. This may cause someone not to finish what he or she needs to complete.
    5. Please don’t rescue anyone – no matter how Christian it seems to you.
  6. Model the sharing (5 minutes)
    1. The facilitator always shares first.
      1. Share your heartfelt answers based on your growth this week.
      2. You also model how to share transparently, honestly, keeping within the time limit, and remembering to answer all four questions.
      3. The assistant does not affirm you unless both of you are affirming people in this session as co-facilitators.
    2. The assistant always shares second.
      1. The assistant follows the same guidelines in sharing as the facilitator.
      2. The assistant receives an affirmation from the facilitator.
  7. Conduct the sharing (75 minutes)
    1. From the front of the room, call a row to the Sharing Chairs.
    2. Go to the back of the room.
    3. While standing at the back and without blocking the view of the questions, call on someone in the Sharing Chairs to answer the four questions.
    4. Maintain eye contact and focus on the sharer as he or she shares.
    5. Lead the group applause after the sharer finishes.
    6. Affirm one thing in 15 seconds or less.
    7. Call on another person in the Sharing Chairs to share.
    8. After the entire row shares and each one receives an affirmation, dismiss the row with applause.
    9. Return to the front of the room.
    10. Make eye contact with another row, and direct them to the empty Sharing Chairs.
  8. Conduct the recap and vote (3 minutes)
    1. Ask each person to state his first name and a 1-5 word phrase that captures what he or she learned about Respect this past week based on what he shared.
    2. An example might be, “Fred; open doors for Shari.”
    3. After the last person recaps, distribute the ballots.
    4. Ask each person to write the name of the person he or she thinks worked the hardest to upgrade his or her Respect this past week.
    5. The assistant collects the ballots.
    6. After dismissing the couples to the breakout area, the assistant counts the ballots, breaks any important ties, and fills in the award.
III. Break (15 Minutes)
IV. Final Session (35 Minutes)
  1. Present the award (2 minutes)
    1. Introduce the three honorees to the group using the correct procedure.
    2. Lead the applause as each one stands.
    3. Ask all three to sit down together after you honor all three together.
    4. Call the name of the book recipient and begin the applause.
    5. Ask the book recipient to come to the front, accept the book, and express thanks to the group for the honor.
    6. Ask the book recipient to hand the book to someone to start the note writing in the book.
  2. Explain the next week’s Growth Opportunity Timeline on page 38 (1 minute)
  3. Introduce the group affirmation (12 minutes)
    1. Direct people to scan the notes they wrote on page 35 and select one person to affirm when called upon.
    2. Explain that each person stands in turn, and in 20 seconds or less, affirms one thing the selected person did or said in class.
    3. Explain that at the 20-second mark, the assistant will call time, and the affirmation stops immediately.
    4. Explain the difference between an affirmation (which we want) and telling the person how to improve something (which we do not want).
      1. Want: Affirmation. (“Charlie, you reminded me how important it is to remove sarcasm from my vocabulary with my spouse. Thanks for the wake-up call.)
      2. Do not want: Telling someone how to improve something. (“Charlie, you reminded me how important it is to remove sarcasm from my vocabulary with my spouse. If you’ll pray about this every day for a month, God will take your sarcasm from you.”)
    5. Explain that everyone gives an affirmation to someone, but not everyone receives one.
    6. Just remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
    7. Begin anywhere; ask that person to affirm a person of his or her choosing.
    8. Continue until everyone affirms one other person, or the affirmation time allotment elapses.
  4. Conduct the closing activity (15 minutes)
    1. Ask the group to turn to page 36 in their workbooks.
    2. You turn ahead two pages in this manual and read the page to the couples, one section at a time, including the scripture.
    3. After reading the section on Adoration, give the group one minute to fill in the blank lines for Adoration on page 36 in their workbooks.
    4. Repeat this process for Confession, Thanksgiving, and Solicitation.
    5. Remind them that the workbook guides them to pray each day for the next 8 weeks.
V. Conclusion (5 Minutes)
  1. Ask 3-4 people what they learned from listening to everyone share their stories.
  2. Give a brief, encouraging Pep Talk.
  3. Get them to re-commit to:
    1. Completing the growth opportunities every day as assigned.
    2. Being on time, if not early, next week.
    3. Signing their commitments on the Timeline for Session 2 Sheet.
  4. Close with a prayer.
Class Preparation Checklist:
  1. Listen to “Facilitator Skills” and “Session 1” messages on the audio message.
  2. Bring your Bible to the session
  3. Pray for each couple by name; pray for God to use you
  4. Prepare the nametags
  5. Bring an award book or card
  6. Bring extra pens
  7. Bring ballots
  8. Make sure the refreshments are coming.
Classroom Set-up Checklist
  1. Arrange room furniture for classroom set-up.
  2. Eliminate outside viewing of the classroom.
  3. Put “Do Not Enter” signs on all doors to the classroom.
  4. Write the sharing session questions on the board (see page 34 in the student handbook).

A Simple but Effective Way to Pray Together

For the next eight weeks please use the ACTS pattern for praying together daily as husband and wife.

1. A – Adoration. In the space below write as many phrases as you can think of that praise God, exalting Him above all. Aim your emotions of awe and adoration at Him, and let them flow through you. As one example of adoration, listen as your facilitators read aloud Psalm 8:1-4. Now write some phrases you can use in your prayers this week with one another that praise God.

2. C – Confession. Write down the things you need to confess to God – any failings, foibles, or wrong acts you’ve done. Be specific, and don’t leave out anything, no matter how trivial it may seem to you. As one example of confession, listen as your facilitators read aloud Psalm 51:1-4. Now write some things you need to confess to your spouse.

3. T – Thanksgiving. List everything you can think of that you’re thankful for. Start with those things most important to you and move in ever increasing circles until you include a wide list of appreciation. Thank God for everything that’s good and wonderful in your lives. As one example of thanksgiving, listen as your facilitators read aloud Psalm 100. Now list those things that are most important to you and your relationship together.

4. S – Solicitation. List all the things you want to ask of God – things you need and things you want but don’t necessarily need. Don’t be hesitant or shy. Just make sure your requests aren’t selfish. Nothing is impossible for God. As one example, listen as your facilitators read aloud II Chronicles 6:19-21. Now list the things you most want God to do for, to, and with you and your spouse.

*1 Material for this page adapted from the Becoming ONE workbook, pages 92-94