LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of September 25, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
BEGIN TO MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR SOCIAL & SERVICE PROJECT
Begin to think about what service project you would like to do. Check the website for some options: northcoastcommunityservice.org
LIFE GROUP COMMITMENT FORM
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT WEEK #2
Have fun with the first two questions below. They are meant to be light-hearted and engaging for everyone. You can start with asking them to answer #1 & #2 and then go back and have everyone answer #3 and the Quick Review question. Remember, you most likely will not have time to answer all the questions if you’re hearing from everyone. Pick your preference and don’t miss taking time to go over the Tips on Group Prayer at the end.
Group Discussion Tip: Go around the circle and have everyone answer or open it up to the group or someone who doesn’t talk much to answer. Remember, giving the group time limits helps keep one person from dominating the discussion.
1. What’s your favorite way to spend a day off with no responsibility?
2. How would you rate yourself as driver on a 1 to 10 scale, 10 being excellent? What rating do you think the person who drives with you the most would give you?
Have fun with this one.
3. This weekend we heard how important it is to be able to speak the right way into someone’s life who is headed down the wrong path. When it comes to engaging someone in this way, we each end up at different places on the spectrum— from complete avoidance, thinking “get me out of here,” to being too harsh, resembling a “bull in a China shop.” Where might you typically put yourself on the spectrum below?
Important question to have everyone answer for this week’s discussion. Keep the mood light as you’re discussing this.
Complete Avoidance ————————————– Too Harsh
Quick Review: 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?
Good question to ask to see if anything comes up. It gives people the opportunity to discuss questions or issues that come up beyond the written questions. People’s responses can often lead into one of the questions in the “Digging Deeper” section. Some weeks, this question will result in a lot of discussion, while other weeks, there can be very little.
1. We know we all make mistakes. Yet, as we heard from this weekend’s message, there are times we need to move toward someone to help them see the issue. God has put others in our lives, and us in theirs, to help each other avoid going down the wrong path. What key foundations and motivations does Ephesians 4:29-32 speak to you about when it comes to these kinds of situations?
Ephesians 4:29-32 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 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.
Good question to have everyone answer.
Additional Question: Can you think of examples in your life when you wish you would have understood or applied this passage more effectively with others?
Have you ever had someone effectively point out an issue you need to deal with? If so, what did they do that helped you hear what they were saying? Did you see any characteristics in them similar to what Ephesians 4 is referring to?
Everyone will not have an answer to this question.
2. Having a difficult conversation with someone you love isn’t easy. All too often we don’t know what to say, how to start or even what our own issues are that we may also be bringing to the table that could be clouding our judgment. What additional principles do we learn from the proverbs below that can help promote a positive result in approaching difficult conversations?
This question builds additional principles to what you discussed regarding Ephesians 4 above. Get everyone’s response to each verse. It could be interesting to hear everyone’s interpretation of the verse.
Proverbs 18:13 New International Version (NIV)
13 To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame.
My agenda can’t be just to talk, but listen and ask questions to get clarity
Proverbs 17:19 New International Version (NIV)
19 Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin;
whoever builds a high gate invites destruction.
Don’t show up for a fight or build walls? Additional Question: what’s builds wall? Accusing, versus asking questions.
Proverbs 12:18 New International Version (NIV)
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Wise words bring healing – how does this tie back into Ephesians 4?
Proverbs 26:4 New International Version (NIV)
4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you yourself will be just like him.
Don’t engage the one who is not willing. This is Larry’s fourth point in the weekend message.
Proverbs 10:19 New International Version (NIV)
19 Sin is not ended by multiplying words,
but the prudent hold their tongues.
My goal can’t be to lecture
Proverbs 28:23 New International Version (NIV)
23 Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor
rather than one who has a flattering tongue.
People will actually respect you more when you’re honest with them about an issue – have you ever seen this to be true for you when someone talked to you? Or you from others?
Proverbs 15:22-23 New International Version (NIV)
22 Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.
23 A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word!
Wise counsel is important – when do you do this and not? Seeking counsel help us clear up our own blind spots, get support, and affirm if we’re headed in the right direction.
Speaking into someone’s life is not about just pointing out the issue but about implementing the principles and guidelines God has given for us to help others receive what we say and make a change. Which one or two verses are important for you to remember when having significant conversations and relating to others in general?
Good question to have everyone answer.
3. Below are more specific steps and guidelines that are helpful to think through when you need to engage in the types of conversations we saw in this week’s message. Which proverbs above apply to what you see in these guidelines below? Which guideline do you think most people miss?
Additional Question: Which one is most important for you to remember?
Guidelines that will help you in significant conversations:
- Check yourself. Ask: Is there anything clouding my judgment in this situation? Am I tired, defensive or overly emotional? Do I need to pause for a bit to get perspective or seek wise counsel? Pray and open my heart and mind to them.
- Choose the right time. When and where you meet matters.
- Start the conversation positively. If you can’t, you may not be ready to have the conversation.
- Ask questions, get the facts and listen before you speak. Consider the situation from their perspective.
- Reflect on what you hear even if you don’t agree. “Here’s what I am hearing you say. Is that accurate?”
- Be honest, have a goal in mind, and be flexible.
- Brainstorm solutions together if possible.
Looking back at this week’s message and study, what’s most important for you to remember?
Do you have any prayer requests regarding this weekend’s message or for you personally?
Prayer Transition and Optional Question: The #1 fear most people have is speaking in public. Group prayer would fall into this category. If you have new people in your group, going over “Tips on Group Prayer” (below) is crucial. In most cases, it’s also a good reminder for returning group members. More than once, we’ve had people tell us they quit a Life Group or didn’t join a group because they had to pray out loud.
Additional Question (An important one for new groups): Prayer is an amazing avenue God has given us to communicate with Him and He with us, but we also come to it with a lot of different thoughts and feelings. Which of the following statements are most true for you?
|– Prefer to pray silently instead of out loud
– Find my mind wandering when praying
– Like to write out prayers
|– Look forward to time in prayer
– Don’t really know how to pray
|TIPS ON GROUP PRAYER|
|Prayer is an important part of being in Life Group. Over the years, we’ve found that group prayer goes better when we follow three simple guidelines.
WE PRAY FOR ONE TOPIC AT A TIME – Anyone in the group is free to introduce a prayer request, either before prayer begins or during the prayer time. Once a topic is introduced, the group focuses on that request alone. Once it’s covered, the group moves on to the next topic.
PRAY MORE THAN ONCE – Because the group is focusing on one topic at a time, each person is encouraged to pray several times during the prayer time for those topics they feel most led to pray about. No one is required to pray.
WE KEEP OUR PRAYERS SHORT AND SIMPLE – Group prayer goes better when members keep their prayers short and to the point. When someone prays for a long time, it’s hard for the other members to stay focused and long prayers tend to intimidate those who are just learning to pray out loud in a group. No one is required to pray out loud.
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/