Leader Guide 2022: Spring Week 1


For the week of March 27, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.

This week we kick off our Spring Life Group Quarter. Your first meeting is designed to give you time to get acquainted and connect with each other, as well as time to discuss how to make your Life Group meetings great!

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. Have a great meeting!

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/

Each week in this section you’ll find the most important information for your group.
Goals of the First Meeting

  • Re-connect with existing members and meet new members
  • Cast vision for the quarter with your group
  • Clarify your group’s direction / expectations / commitments using the Life Group Commitment Form
  • Briefly discuss the sermon topic (if there is time)
  • Pray for the building of relationships and spiritual growth of the group

Items Needed for the First Meeting

  • Life Group Commitment Form– Review this with your group. This was mailed to you last week in your leader packet, and can also be found online here: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/life-group-covenants/
  • Nametags for in-person groups if you have new group members (print or write them out ahead of time).

 Contact Your Group in Advance

  • Contact all members before the first meeting to welcome them to the group. You can check your roster online to see all the members of your group and their contact information. You can find instructions on how to check your roster here: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/how-to-view-your-roster/
  • In-person groups – Inform members of the location and time of your group and how you’re handling food.
  • Online groups – Make sure you send the link to your meeting well in advance and preferably again on the day you meet.

Pro-Tips to Maximize the Online Group Experience 

1) Shorten meetings to 75 minutes or less. Also be on 10 minutes early and available 10-20 minutes after if people want to connect.
Use break-out rooms to personalize conversation. (If possible, try to do this at least 5-10 minutes every meeting.)
3) Coach people on how to engage and speak up online. (Practicing this can really help.)

* More how-tos at this link:  Pro-Tips & Facilitation Tips to Maximize Your Online Experience.

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 due to potluck)
  • 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.  Because of the short break you may want to take less time on this than normal. At least review Share, Study, Support on the back of the homework and remind your group that what makes a great time together is that we listen, care and learn from one other by hearing from everyone every time you meet!  
  • 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.

1. What is the most fun, interesting or unique job you’ve ever had?

Additional Getting to Know You Question: If you have a lot of new people or your group is completely brand new, you may want to use the question below to continue to get to know people and help them feel comfortable speaking up in the group.

Would you rather be…

  • a miserable genius or a happy moron?
  • fluent in all languages or a master of every musical instrument?
  • stuck in a broken elevator or stuck on a broken ski lift?

2. Larry warned us that some opportunities are, in reality, temptations in disguise. Can you think of a time in your life when you were tempted to do or actually did do the right thing the wrong way or at the wrong time? If so, explain.

Additional Question: How can you tell the difference between an opportunity and a temptation?

3. 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?

Since this is the first week of the Spring Quarter, you may choose to spend more time being social and going through the Life Group Commitment and the “Getting to Know You” section, or you may want to spend more time below. Feel free to choose the meeting method that best resonates with your group.

Discussion Tip for In-Person and Online:  If time is tight, you can break into small groups or breakout rooms online to answer these and then come back together for the end. 

1. We heard this weekend how David was a great example of someone willing to wait for God’s timing. Saul, on the other hand, on at least a couple of occasions, provides a great example of someone who was unwilling to wait for God’s timing. One such occasion is found in 1 Samuel 13:5-14. As you read that story, what do you notice about Saul’s reasons for not waiting and how he explains his unwillingness to wait to Samuel?

1 Samuel 13:5-14 New International Version (NIV)

The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. 11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” 13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

What do you think could have been going through Saul’s mind while he waited those seven days for Samuel?

Possible Responses: What’s taking Samuel so long? Doesn’t he know we’re about to go to war against the Philistines? Why did Samuel tell us to do nothing for a whole week? We need to make sure God is on our side, so if Samuel isn’t here, I guess I’ll have to fill in for him.  

Additional Question: What are some of the thoughts you might have when you are waiting for God’s perfect timing?

Can you think of any other excuses/rationalizations people come up with for not being willing to wait for God’s timing?

Possible Responses: I’m different so the same rules don’t apply to me, my situation is different than anyone else’s, it’s no big deal if I don’t obey completely, no one will ever know, everyone else is doing it.

Additional Questions: Which of these excuses do you find yourself using often? What’s a good response to each of the excuses we’ve come up with?

Psalm 13 was written by David and reflects his familiarity with waiting. What can you learn from this psalm about how to respond to a time of waiting?

Psalm 13 New International Version (NIV)

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

2. In the sermon, Larry called us to humbly submit to those in authority. It’s hard to do this if humility isn’t a part of our everyday lives. The importance of humility can be seen in the fact that “humble” is one of the only two character qualities Jesus ever used to describe Himself (the other is gentleness—see Matthew 11:29). What do you learn about the process of developing humility from the following passages?

Additional Question: What is hardest for you to humbly submit to authority?

Luke 14:7-11 New International Version (NIV)

When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Note: Humility is not just an attitude but also an action. We can choose to do the things that reflect humility (without getting prideful that we’re doing them). There are actions that reflect humility.

1 Peter 5:5-6 New International Version (NIV)

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Note: God doesn’t like proud people, so he invites us to humble ourselves. This humility should be reflected in our relationships with other people. Humility doesn’t happen by accident, but it is the result of focused effort to develop it.

Additional Question: If we have to work at being humble, how do know if we’re growing in it?

Additional Passage: In 2 Corinthians 12:6-7 Paul talks about how God used his thorn in the flesh to keep him humble. God wanted Paul to be humble, so he gave him an affliction to keep him from getting prideful.

Additional Question: How might God be using something in your life to keep you from being prideful?

How would you define humility in light of Philippians 2:3-4?

Philippians 2:3-4 New International Version (NIV)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Additional Questions:

  • How would you define pride?
  • Is there one person who has modeled humility for you? If so, how did you see humility demonstrated in their life? 

Here are a couple of popular definitions of humility:

Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking about yourself less.

Humility is an accurate view of who God is and who you are.

Can you think of anything in your life that has helped you or could help you to learn humility?

Additional Questions:

  • What are some steps you could take if you realized you were being prideful instead of humble?
  • To what extent do you think humility is a choice?

1. Larry talked about four ways we can experience God’s perfect timing. Which of those ways is most important for you to remember?

2. As you think about this quarter, what is one thing you hope to get out of your Life Group experience?

Additional Questions:

  • Is there something in which you’re still waiting for God’s perfect timing for it to be accomplished?
  • Do you feel like you’re currently waiting for God to do something in an area of your life? If so, what’s most challenging about the waiting for you right now?
  • How might the members of your Life Group be praying for you in this area?

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.”

Link to the form for people in your group

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.) 

  • NOTE – If your group has been together for an extended amount of time, due to the short break, you may want to take less time on this than normal. At least review Share, Study, Support on the back of the homework and offer a reminder to your group that what makes a great time together is that we listen, care and learn from one other by hearing from everyone every time you meet!  

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.