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  • How to be Unsuccessful
    How to be Unsuccessful: Episode 3

    Session 3: Success Is… Growing in Depth rather than Volume

    How to Be (Un)Successful book chapter for this session: 

    Chapter 3 

    A note for leaders 

    Each session of the series is designed to take one hour but can easily be adapted for your group’s needs. We recommend allowing time at the beginning to chat and get to know one another, especially if your group is new.  

    Each session will include questions to allow groups to talk about what impacted them most – feel free to spend time on the questions that are most helpful for your group, and don’t worry about getting through all the questions! However, if your group prefers to have multiple questions to work through, these are provided too.  

    We also recommend allowing time at the end for reflection and to pray for one another, especially as each session requires a little vulnerability.  

    Welcome and introduction

    5 mins

    In the third session, we’ll explore how being kind – even when it makes us unseen or unsuccessful – may be the greatest influence we can have. 

    Key verse 

    He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant. 

    Philippians 2:7 

    Begin the session by opening in prayer  

    Watch the video

    15 mins

    Bible passages 

    Philippians 2:7, Matthew 13:31–33  

    Summary points 

    • In our world, success has now become synonymous with presenting a life that others want – to consume as many unique experiences as you can. 
    • Jesus presented the kingdom of God as humble and unshowy, and he lived a life of empathy and surrender. 
    • God’s sees success in love’s quiet kindness, not the loud self-congratulation of the world. 

    Discussion questions

    25 mins

    • What was your highlight from the session? 
    • Why do you think we find the noise of online culture so attractive?  
    • Who has influenced you most in your life? What aspect of their life or personality means that you are drawn to admire or perhaps even follow them? 
    • Where do you feel the tug to turn up the ‘volume’ or ‘noise’ of your life – to self-congratulate or commodify people or experiences? Why do you think that is? 

    “Sadly the church is not immune from [trying to gain influence through noise]. If church leaders and Christians-seeking-influencer-status seek to play this game, could it be any surprise that churchgoers are trying to do the same?” 

    • Do you think the Church is obsessed with influence? Do you think we hear this message in our Christian communities? 
    • Who are the people or churches you know who have prioritised depth over noise? What does that look like? 

    Prayer and practical challenge

    15 mins


    Finish your time together by closing in prayer or splitting into small groups to pray for one another’s specific needs. 

    Practical challenge 

    This week, try fasting from social media. 

    Inspired by this podcast?

    More episodes in this series

    View series
    Session 4: Success is… Transforming Over Transferring
    Episode 4
    Session 5: Success Is… Being a Faithful Presence in the Culture Wars
    Episode 5
    Session 6: Success is… Power and Participation
    Episode 6