LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of September 18, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
Check out this special video from Pastor Dave Enns!
This week we kick off our Fall Life Group Quarter. Your first gathering is designed to give you time to get acquainted, enjoy a meal together, connect with each other, as well as time to discuss how to make your Life Group meetings great! The study questions have been shortened this week to allow ample time to accomplish all of this. To prepare for your first meeting, take some time to focus on the questions below and be prepared to share your answers with the group.
Online Groups – If your group is meeting online, your leaders will be sending you the link for your group. Use this link for help on meeting with your group online: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/pro-tips/
|GETTING READY FOR YOUR FIRST MEETING
Each week in this section you’ll find the most important information for your group.
Goals of the First Meeting
Items Needed for the First Meeting
Contact Your Group in Advance
Pro-Tips to Maximize the Online Groups Experience
1) Shorten meetings to 75 minutes or less.
* More how-to’s at this link: Pro-Tips & Facilitation Tips to maximize your Online Experience.
ABOUT POLITICS IN LIFE GROUP – We believe it is important for Jesus followers to think through and process how they are going to vote and engage in politics. But due to the polarizing nature of our current political climate, we want to keep our Life Group meetings free of politics and focused on relationships with each other and God’s Word.
Presenting the Good News of Jesus’ saving grace to all, and the unity we have as believers is vitally important to us. In light of this, remember to keep politics completely out of your Life Group discussions. We exist to minister to everyone who wants to know Jesus. Every election cycle we have Christians who become divided over issues and can be deeply offended by comments, jokes, and even prayer requests. We do not want to send the message that people who vote a certain way or have differing political views are not welcome. If someone in your group starts to take things in a political direction (be it with humor, a rant or even a “prayer request” for a specific outcome), gently remind them that the body of Christ (and North Coast Church) is made up of followers of Jesus – some of whom are Republicans, Independents, Democrats, etc.
AGENDA FOR YOUR FIRST MEETING
Looking for more guidance on your first meeting? You can find the “First Night Agenda” on how to make your first night great on the Leader Tools page of our website. (lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/make-your-first-night-great/) You can also listen to the audio version of the leader guide here.
How We Measure our Success Week to Week: Hearing from everyone at every meeting and keeping God’s Word at the center.
Make sure you leave plenty of time to go over the Life Group Commitment Form with your group.
- Welcome & Eat – Potluck is a great option. Online groups can try a virtual dinner option if they would like.
- Group Sharing – Discussion Note: You can transition from the “Getting to Know You” section to the “Taking it Home” section.
- Study Questions Discussion (optional)
- Go over the Life Group Commitment Form – Use the last question in the Leader Guide to Study Questions below to transition into reviewing the Commitment Form.
- Close in prayer.
- Mingle afterward.
Discussion Note: Add these questions if you have new people in your group or a completely new group. If it hasn’t come up in conversation before the meeting officially starts, have everyone in the group share how long they have been attending North Coast, if they have been in a Life Group before and their favorite hobby.
Discussion Tips: These are effective for both in-person and online groups. Remember to set time limits to ensure everyone has an opportunity to answer the questions. Possibly use the “Tag— You’re It” method to ensure everyone can share. Once one person is finished sharing, they select the next person to share.
One of the great parts of being in a Life Group is getting to know others better. Take a moment to jot down your answers to the questions below and be ready to share with your group.
Have fun with this first question. Have everyone answer.
Tell us about yourself …
- What are your five favorite foods, with the most favorite first?
- When you were a kid, what was your dream job?
- Would you rather have your dishes or clothes be magically clean?
How was your summer? What are one or two things you enjoyed the most?
Good question to have everyone answer. You may want to transition from this question to the “Looking Ahead” section to ensure you have time to hear what each person is hoping to get out of your group time and to go over the Life Group Commitment Form.
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or something that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
Based on time, you can decide if you want to ask this question. You can easily transition from this one to the “Looking Ahead” section also.
Discussion Note: Because of the extra time spent getting to know each other or re-connecting, make sure you have enough time to spend on the “Looking Ahead” section. You may not have time to cover the “Digging Deeper” section this week.
This weekend’s message spoke of how, as followers of Jesus, our relationships look different than others. As you read the verses below in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, what (results and) unique relational attributes is he saying are essential for followers of Jesus?
Note the addition of “results” included in the question above. Adding that will add more to what people find in these verses. This is a powerful chapter. As a leader, if you have time, read all of it. It gives you more context if you decide to spend some time on this question or even come back to it in the future.
Ephesians 4:14-16 New International Version (NIV)
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 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. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
no longer tossed back and forth, need to speak truth in love, will then be fully connected
Ephesians 4:20-24 New International Version (NIV)
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
put off my old self, serve others
Ephesians 4:29, 31-32 New International Version (NIV)
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.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
not just speak truth, but is it said a way that is beneficial?
What, if anything, was a bit surprising when you read it?
Only some may have an answer to this.
How would you want someone to speak the “truth in love” to you?
Again, only go here if you have time.
We all want to be connected in quality relationships. Which verses above could be a good theme verse for you in relating to others this next quarter?
This could be a good question to use to transition into the next section.
Life Groups meet every week to gain the encouragement and support we need in life as we follow Jesus. Take a moment to jot down some of the reasons you joined a group this fall, along with what you are looking forward to the most.
Important to question to hear from everyone.
Transition Statement to Life Group Commitment: “It’s great to hear what each of you has said about what you want to get out of your time in our group. One of the great benefits of being in a Life Group is the opportunity to have help from others as we seek to be strategic and intentional about our spiritual growth. The Life Group Commitment is designed to serve as intentional guidelines to help us make the most of our time together.”
Go over the Life Group Commitment Form with your group. See below, or you can download the Leader Guide to the Life Group Commitment. Use this as a guide to keep your group healthy in communicating and caring for one another each week. (The leader audio will give you more details on how to do this effectively.)
Close in prayer: If you have anyone new in your group and you don’t know them, it is recommended to close with your host or one person praying. Next week, the Study Questions will include an introduction to praying in a group, so if you have a new group or a lot of new members, it’s suggested that you wait until week two to do any group prayer.
Mingle with everyone after the meeting. Even if you’re online, stay on an extra 10 minutes to see if anyone wants to connect and hang out just like you would at an in-person meeting.
Life Groups exist to promote spiritual maturity and personal growth through meaningful Christian relationships and the study of God’s Word. (Romans 8:29 & Hebrews 10:24-25). Here’s how it will happen:
Each week we’ll take time to share what is happening in our lives. At first this sharing will include planned “sharing questions.” But after the first few weeks, it will become more informal and personal as we feel more comfortable.
Each week we’ll study a section from God’s Word that relates to the previous weekend’s sermon or an appropriate personal growth topic. Our goal is to learn how to live out our Christianity in everyday life.
Each week we’ll learn how to take care of one another as Christ commanded (John 15:9-13). This care can take many forms, such as prayer, encouragement, listening, challenging one another and meeting real needs.
Spiritual growth is fostered not only by what we gain through the support and input of others, but also through service to others. The role each of us fills is important to the health of the church and for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the community in which we live (Ephesians 4:11-16). Throughout the quarter, it is our hope that you can find and/or be affirmed in the ways God has designed you to serve and make a difference in God’s Kingdom.
It’s back because the first year was incredible! Join us Friday evening, October 28 & Saturday morning, October 29, for the second North Coast Men’s Conference held at the Vista Campus! Come ready to recharge and refocus on God’s call for us with teaching led by pastors Chris Brown and Ricky Jenkins, along with worship, activities and tourneys! Register at northcoastchurch.com/mens-conference/