QUICK HIT: Love Does began as a book, but it’s no surprise that publisher Thomas Nelson wanted to get Bob in front of a camera. He’s just got this sort of presence, a whimsical personality that makes you think you’ve known him your whole life. And in five sessions, he takes you through the active love of Jesus and directs you toward acting out that same love to others.
Quite frankly, Bob Goff is a pretty weird guy. Weird in a good way, I guess. Weird in that he’s absolutely committed to loving with the same kind of love that Jesus loves with. Weird in that he’s absolutely heels-over-head excited about the Christianity he’s living. And in Love Does, he shares that infectious faith with us.
Love Does began as a book, but it’s no surprise that publisher Thomas Nelson wanted to get Bob in front of a camera. He’s just got this sort of presence, a whimsical personality that makes you think you’ve known him your whole life. And in five sessions, he takes you through the active love of Jesus and directs you toward acting out that same love to others.
The one thing I liked the best about Love Does is that it does not ignore the study of Scripture. Every session is crafted to begin with a short portion of Scripture relevant to the lesson, followed by a few follow-up questions. With the biblical context set, the small group can now turn on the DVD and listen to Bob’s message.
Each video message lasts 8-15 minutes long and is followed by eight suggested discussion questions. As always, tailor the questions to your specific group. Always look for areas to add in questions and skip questions that may not be as relevant for your group. While the provided questions are great as a start, I’ve found the best way to get small groups talking is to begin by asking what parts stood out to them. Chances are you’ll find they hit many of the areas highlighted in the questions.
Of course, Love Does means nothing if it’s only a discussion. Each session ends with a challenge to love like Jesus. How can you impact others? How can you serve others? How can you show grace or forgiveness or thankfulness? It’s a great session-ending challenge that takes you from the realm of the theoretical into the realm of the practical. And that’s really what the church needs.
The five sessions are as follows:
- I’m With You (Matt. 1:18-23)
- Free to Fail (Jn. 21:15-19)
- Audacious Love (1 Jn. 4:7-12)
- Be Not Afraid (Mk. 6:45-52)
- Follow Me (Matt. 4:18-20, 16:24; Lk. 18:18-22)
Free to Fail is probably my favorite of the lessons and the one guaranteed to incite discussion. We really don’t look too kindly to failure. For obvious reasons, right? But if you’re not free to fail, then you’re not free to learn. You can’t expand your horizons without the chance of failure. You will not ever become who God wants you to be without some failure involved. It’s a bold statement and Bob says it in such a clear, simple way you find yourself not even wanting to argue. But finish the video and I’m sure there’ll be discussion aplenty.
Each lesson also includes a take-home homework section. This is really the heart of the lesson. To really make this series work, small group leaders need to emphasize this section and perhaps even begin each session by asking about participants’ experiences in the “What Love Does This Week” section. If possible, for at least one week, plan an outing that follows through on one of these points. This is even more easily done if your small group is on a day other than Sunday. Simply skip a session of in-church (or in-home) learning and get out there in the world and do love.
Overall, I see Love Does appealing mostly to a younger audience. Goff is an entertaining speaker, but his excitability level may…overwhelm…some older listeners. (Note, by older, I mean those who seem to think Bible studies must be serious affairs.) It’s also a great series for getting kids to understand the practical value of Scripture and the overwhelming love of God. Many kids are taught what Christianity is, but not as often taught what Christianity does (at least not the positive side of that). Love Does is a great study that gets you not just thinking about the love of God, but gets you in on the action of being Jesus to others as well.