West End United Methodist Church

Suggestions and Resources for your Small Group

Amplify Media
Access thousands of study, worship and devotional videos with an emphasis on Wesleyan perspectives.  A group study could include viewing the videos individually or as a group, as a springboard for reflection and discussion.  West End UMC has a subscription to Amplify Media; for individual access, please contact Pastor Erin Racine at eracine@westendumc.org.

Cokesbury is the retail arm of The United Methodist Publishing House, offering Bibles, curriculum, worship resources and supplies.  You will find materials on the liturgical seasons, books, Bible and other studies and “resources for the Christian journey.”  A free trial for Amplify Media is offered at the Cokesbury website.

Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church
Find resources for short-term and long-term group studies at Discipleship Ministries.  Many materials include a leader’s guide and discussion questions for group use on a variety of topics.

The Upper Room
The Upper Room offers books, articles and daily devotionals.  Part of the Discipleship Ministries of the UMC, the Upper Room has a variety of resources for prayer and spiritual formation.

Revised Common Lectionary
A service of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, The Revised Common Lectionary offers readings for the week and the current liturgical season, along with scriptural reflections based on art.



Some specific suggestions for Small Group discussion content:

  • Discuss the week’s sermon or, in advance of Sunday’s service read and discuss the upcoming Scripture.  Pastor Carol’s WEUMC Message sent each Monday to church members includes the Scripture passage for the coming Sunday service.  This can be done in a meeting, in a supper group, during a walk or hike, or before/after a service project undertaken by the Small Group.
  • As a Small Group, attend the weekly Wednesday evening dinner (at 5:15 p.m.) and Encounter Service at WEUMC, which begins at 6:15 p.m.  Details and reservations for dinner can be found here.
  • Attend the monthly Taize Service of Prayer and Healing, to “quiet the mind, open the heart, feed the soul.”  Held the third Sunday of each month at 5:00 p.m., the group can attend in person or via LiveStream and afterward share what each member experienced.
  • Based on the liturgical season, search the WEUMC Bowen Library’s catalog for devotionals and books to read and discuss during Lent and Advent.  The Bowen Library has an extensive catalog of books on the Bible, theology, spirituality and prayer, mercy and justice, and care and compassion.  A visit to the Library may give Small Group members ideas for group readings or topics to discuss.
  • Have your Small Group devote meetings to Lectio Divina and/or Visio Divina as a way to use Scriptures or artwork as a focal point for prayer and reflection.  The Upper Room has information about both practices, along with steps and sample questions that can be used for individual reflection or group reflection and discussion.  The Revised Common Lectionary has resources on prayer and art work appropriate for Visio Divina.  Perhaps choose a piece of Biblically-inspired art by renowned artist Dr. James He Qi and discuss what each Small Group member sees in the artwork.  A book of Dr. He Qi’s art can be found in the Bowen Library.
  • As a Small Group, participate in some of the Lent and Advent events at WEUMC (e.g., prayer stations during Advent) and afterward, discuss how the event helped you prepare for the liturgical season.
  • Choose a service project sponsored by WEUMC or available elsewhere in the community, participate as a group and afterward discuss how the service performed helped put members’ faith in action.
  • New Testament studies:  Choose a Gospel for the group’s focus, dividing the chapters over the course of the number of weeks you will be meeting, reflecting on the lessons and words of Jesus. 
  • Center for Action and Contemplation:  Consider having members of your Small Group sign up for daily emailed reflections from the Center for Action and Contemplation, to discuss during your group meeting.  The Daily Meditations reflect on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.  A Franciscan, Father Richard Rohr likes to say the most important word in the Center’s name is neither Action nor Contemplation, but the word and.  The meditations are written to help deepen prayer practice and strengthen compassionate engagement in the world.
  • Identify a book of daily meditations and choose a few to reflect upon and discuss within your Small Group.  For example:
      • Richard Rohr’s “Yes, And” - available in the Bowen Library
      • The Upper Room Disciplines 2023:  According to Cokesbury, this book of Daily Devotions helps readers become rooted in the teachings of God through meditations and scripture reading. A diverse group of 52 Christian thought leaders each contribute a week of topical devotions that reveal something new about God and humanity, sin and grace, revelation and humility, individual discipleship and life in community
  • Amy-Jill Levine’s many talks on the New Testament can accessed on Amplify Media.  Members of your Small Group can view the video and come prepared to the Small Group gathering to share thoughts and reflections, or you can watch the videos as a group in advance of a discussion.  Many of Amy-Jill Levine’s books often have “leader guides” to help spur discussion.  Some of her books are particularly good for group discussion as they can be broken down into sections for shorter reading.  A few examples are:
    • The Difficult Words of Jesus - A Beginner’s Guide to His Most Perplexing Teachings:  This is a six-chapter book that can be discussed over as many weeks, covering six Scripture passages that can be confusing, open to broad interpretation and at times difficult to understand.
    • Sermon on the Mount - a Beginner’s Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven:  This book is a guide to the Beatitudes with enough thought-provoking content on each Beatitude that a Small Group can reflect on just one or two during a meeting.  The book also covers Jesus’ teachings on how to pray, including a phrase-by-phrase review of The Our Father.
    • Toward the Kingdom of Heaven - 40 Daily Readings on the Sermon on the Mount.  Each 2- or 3-page chapter can be a springboard for a Small Group reflection and discussion.