LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of February 23, 2020
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
BEGIN TO FINALIZE ROSTERS FOR THE SPRING QUARTER
There are two meetings left in the quarter. Please let us know of any changes to your group or indicate “NO CHANGES” when you submit your attendance. Please let us know this information ASAP. Thank you!
Things to Remember:
- Spring Sign-Ups: March 21-29
- Spring Quarter: March 29- May 30
MID-QUARTER TRAINING -Vista Campus Based Groups
Vista Campus Mid-Quarter Training for Leaders and Hosts: These sessions are designed to build on your leadership skills and provide valuable information and tips as you lead your group. Make sure you check the schedule and plan to attend the training for your Station in Life. Click on this link for more info, dates and to RSVP.
– Remember you don’t have to answer every question!
– Choose questions best suited to your group.
– Listen to the Audio Guide/Podcast for more discussion suggestions.
– Take prayer requests
– If you haven’t divided into male/female groups already, you may want to do so for the Taking It Home section and prayer.
Submit your group’s attendance online at northcoastchurch.com/attendance. If you’re not sure how to post attendance, you can check out the guide here. Don’t forget to let us know of any roster updates, or changes to your group details.
MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR SOCIAL & SERVICE PROJECT
Check our Community Service website for some options: northcoastcommunityservice.org You can also check out the Leader Tools page for social ideas. lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/suggestions-for-socials/
This week we’re giving your groups the opportunity to dive into spiritual gifts once again. Part of what we’ll be doing is having people look at their story of how God’s Spirit works in their life, and also how abilities/talents also often tie into what their spiritual gifts are. The “Digging Deeper” section has been changed to “You Are Gifted” to help create that focus. The second question offers a gift inventory and other resources if people in your group want to take a deeper dive into them. If your group feels like it exhausted the topic of gifts last week, you may want to focus your time on question #3 in the “You Are Gifted” section or question #3 in the “My Story” section.
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
As always, you won’t have time for all three of these questions. So choose which one you want to make sure to cover and go from there.
1. Take 60 seconds and write down as many things as you can that you do well. Come up with at least 10!
Have fun with this. Do all you can to make sure everyone can come up with 10. This will also set up your discussion for the “You Are Gifted” question #1. Usually our gifts coordinate with what we’re good at.
2. We learned the sweet spot for every follower of Jesus is to be used by the Creator for what we were created to do. Have you ever sensed you were in your sweet spot? If so, what was that like?
If they know what their spiritual gift is, that will probably be their answer.
3. Do you feel like your purpose changed as you started following Jesus? If yes, how so?
Additional Questions & Verses:
- Do you know how you would describe your purpose?
- How do these verses help us understand our overall purpose in following Jesus?
Matthew 22:37-40 – Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 28:19-20 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- Does reading these verses encourage you, discourage you, challenge you?
- Can you identify anything in your life that helps you stay grounded in your purpose?
- Is there a specific verse that has helped you stay on purpose?
Psalm 46:10 – He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1. This week we took a look at Peter’s story and how the Spirit grew him, transformed his perspective and used him to impact others as the early church began to grow. Similarly, looking back at our own stories can also give us insight into how God’s Spirit has been at work getting our attention, encouraging us, convicting us and affirming our gifts and abilities. Answer the questions below in the context of your life’s timeline and be ready to share your responses with your group.
This is good question to have everyone answer. Everyone may not have an answer to each question. When people answer these questions you may want to have them indicate where on the timeline to give a visual. This question can easily take the majority of your meeting, so be aware of the amount of time each person is talking to ensure you get to what you need to get to. The point of these questions is to help people build their own personal story of how God’s Spirit is leading and guiding them. If your group decides they want to spend more time on this question, you could.
- When and how did God begin to get your attention about what it means to follow Him?
Everyone may not remember, so be sensitive to that. Even someone that isn’t committed to Jesus can have answer to this one. As the purpose of our groups is to encourage each to follow and grow in Christ, we assume all people in groups are spiritually seeking.
Can you think of any time when God’s Spirit got your attention and/or grew your awareness of Godly character (Galatians 5:22-23)? If so, explain. (Experiences with friends, situation in life, personal crisis/success, work situation, church event, etc.)
Again, the answers here will vary.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
- What talents and/or abilities do you love to use? Have you ever thought they were given to you to impact the Kingdom?
All gifts are not listed in Scripture. A talent or ability could be a spiritual gift. But, be careful. Just because you have a great ability, it does not mean it’s a spiritual gift. The key question is how does it build up other believers and/or help reach others for Jesus? An example would be an ability to play basketball as an athletic skill. Leadership, teaching, and helping are all abilities that may show up while that person participates in that sport, and may also transition to spiritual gifts as they are directed to serving and caring for others.
- Can you think of any significant events or things that impacted your faith journey?
Like the other questions, everyone may not have an answer for this one.
Looking back at what you just wrote, is there anything specific to how the Spirit has helped you to grow or may want to use you to help make an impact?
This would be the closer question to have them answer.
2. What you wrote above about your story is an important part of understanding your sweet spot or spiritual gift(s). Your abilities, passions and spiritual gifts are often tied together. A key to finding your sweet spot is to just start serving. Over time you’ll usually find yourself moving toward areas of passion and interest. There are many spiritual gifts inventories that can help you further investigate what yours may be. It’s important to know when taking one of these, there is no pass or fail, or final determination of what you are or are not gifted to do. Here’s a link to an online inventory that can help you begin to investigate what one of your sweet spots may be and how the Spirit wants to work in your life.
You can have people share their answers here. Ask what makes sense? Is there anything they disagree with or are surprised by? This could add to the discussion you had last week. Again, make sure people are not using this as the final answer. We called to serve in all kinds of ways and even outside of our giftedness in general ways. The key question is: Are you serving in ministry? Remember, God’s Spirit can’t steer a parked car.
Gift Inventory – https://giftstest.com/test/signup
Definitions of Spiritual Gifts https://giftstest.com/allgifts
Here is an in-depth 9-week study with video on finding your spiritual gifts and abilities – https://open.life.church/resources/1934-chazown-experience
3. Regardless of the spiritual gifts and abilities we’ve been given, we all have the ability to use our speech in order to influence other people. Whether you communicate more like Peter or tend to be on the softer side, your words are important and have impact. How do the following verses help us understand the gift and power of our words so we can communicate in ways that have a positive impact?
James 3:13-17 – Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Additional Question: Have you ever sensed the Spirit working on you or growing you to move from verse 16 to verse 17?
Ephesians 4:1-3 – As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
- What does making “every effort” look like when it comes to keeping unity?
- When it speaks of making every effort to keep unity, can a person go too far in trying to accomplish this?
- Which end would you typically fall on the spectrum- trying to do too much or not working on it enough?
2 Timothy 2:23-25 – Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth
Don‘t waste your time on meaningless arguments.
Proverbs 12:17-18 – An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies. 18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 15:1-2, 4 – A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. … 4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
Ephesians 4:15, 29 – 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. … 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
What advice would you give a Christian who continually tries to win spiritual arguments, but ends up offending or ostracizing others?
What advice would you give yourself?
Which of these verses is most important for you to hear when it comes to your words?
Good question to have everyone answer.
Discussion Suggestion: As mentioned in past weeks, if you haven’t divided up into men only / women only groups for sharing and prayer, consider doing that this week.
Looking back at this week’s teaching and study, what is most important for you to remember and why?