LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of January 23, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
SPECIAL NOTE TO LEADERS: We trust you in continuing to be safe, aware and ready to flex with the needs of your group. Anyone who is sick or has recently tested positive with COVID should not attend your group. If this week is your group’s first meeting due to having many unable to attend last week, feel free to treat this week’s meeting similar to your first meeting. See last week’s leader guide for your first meeting agenda. Also, listen to this week’s leader audio for more explanation. And please know the Life Group Pastor Team is ready to help with any needs you may have
– BEGIN TO MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR SOCIAL & SERVICE PROJECT
Begin to think about what service project you would like to do. Check our website for some options: northcoastcommunityservice.org
– SOCIAL OPTIONS
In-person Social Ideas: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/suggestions-for-socials/
Online Social Ideas: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/group-socials/
– LEADER INFO
Life Group Commitment Form
Go over the Commitment Form with anyone who missed the first week. If anyone did not sign the Commitment Form, remind them to do so.
– SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT WEEK #2
Remember we’re on week #2 with your group. People are still acclimating, especially any new people. Lead your group through the questions according to how well everyone knows each other. There are plenty of questions in this guide to take you deeper. And remember, as a leader, your goal each night is to lead your group in such a way that you hear from everyone and use the Bible as your guide. Know that if you do this each week, the people in your group will grow! Remember you don’t need to cover all of the questions. Great conversation and connection are far more important than covering all of the questions.
– PRAYER NOTE
Check out the Tips on Group Prayer at the end of this Leader’s Guide. If you have new people in your group, please make sure you go over this. And NEVER make someone pray. Group prayer is similar to public speaking, which is the #1 fear people have. More than once, we’ve had people tell us they quit a Life Group because a well-intentioned person required everyone to pray.
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: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/how-to-post-attendance
– ONLINE GROUPS
Check out our Tips and Tutorials for Online Groups here: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/pro-tips/
PRO-TIPS TO keep your online experience great and avoid zoom fatigue
- Shorten meetings to 75 minutes or less.
- Use breakout rooms to personalize conversation. (If possible, try to do this at least 5-10 minutes every meeting.)
- Coach people on how to engage and speak up online. (Practicing this can really help.)
Discussion Tip for Online Groups – If you have more than eight screens open when you meet, consider utilizing breakout rooms to create smaller groups where more people can talk, which will make for better discussion. Either of the first two questions below would be good to discuss in a breakout room, which would allow people more time to unpack their answers. Please see the Tips and Tutorials for Online Groups on the Leader Tool homepage at lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/pro-tips/.
- Go around the circle and have everyone answer, or open it up to the group and ask someone who doesn’t talk much to answer. Remember, giving the group time limits helps keep one person from dominating the discussion.
- Question 1 is designed to bring some fun discussion. Hearing from everyone at the beginning of your discussion helps people to feel comfortable sharing. These questions often bring things out of people you may not know. Over time, these types of questions can be incredibly insightful and helpful in building relationships in a group, even if your group has been together for a long time.
- In the first few weeks we don’t have a “Quick Review” section, but you can find a similar question in #3 under “Getting To Know You.”
1. If you had the opportunity to be on any TV game show, past or present, which one would you most want to be on?
- Family Feud
- The Price is Right
- Wheel of Fortune
- Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
- Deal or No Deal
- Other ____________
2. Larry talked about tools that can help us grow our relationship with God. Are there any tools you’ve used that have helped you to grow (popular tools include reading/listening to the Bible, prayer, journaling, Bible memorization, podcasts/online sermons, devotionals, time in nature, and solitude)?
Any tools you’ve used that you found weren’t helpful or you used for a while and then stopped using?
Additional Question — Is there a tool for spiritual growth you’ve never used or haven’t used in a while that you’d like to try?
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?
1. This weekend we heard that in contrast to Saul’s ill-fitting armor which David choose not to wear, there is armor that perfectly fits every believer so we are equipped to fight the spiritual battle. In Ephesians 6:10-18, the Apostle Paul uses the analogy of a Roman soldier suited up in full armor to help us understand the spiritual battle we face and the spiritual armor that is available to us. As you read through this passage…
- Circle / highlight any words that are repeated more than once.
- Underline any words or phrases talking about what we’re supposed to do to prepare for the spiritual battle
- Put an X next to anything that confuses you.
Discussion Tip – Ask your group members to share the repeated words they found, what they underlined (and why they underlined it), and anything they put an X next to. You can then ask the following questions:
- Looking at the repeated words you identified, how do they help you understand what’s important in this passage?
- What are the commands Paul gives us in the passage (what does he tell us to do) –
put on full armor (2 times), stand firm, and pray.
- Paul lists six pieces of armor – is there one that attracts your attention the most?
Discussion Tip – If you can, before your group meeting, Google “Roman soldier” and print out the image or bring it on your digital device to show people the armor that Paul is referring to.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
What are you reminded of or what do you learn about the spiritual battle from this passage?
Discussion Tip: There may be some confusion over what the spiritual battle is. Here’s some information that may help your group understand it better.
“Spiritual warfare is the leveraging of everything that God promises against everything that opposes God’s purposes.
God is a God of purposes and promises. Purposes to redeem the world and promises to judge wickedness. Purposes to grow His children into maturity and promises to unfailingly steward that process. Purposes to save us and glorify His name, and promises about our lives and about His holy character.
Satan and his spiritual forces oppose all of that. They oppose all of God’s purposes for salvation and redemption, as well as His every promise for accomplishing it.
In non-Christians the enemy and his forces will attempt to thwart salvation and encourage sin. In Christians they will attempt to sever our connection with God, prey on our natural inclination to sin, and deceive us into believing untruths that might hinder our discipleship or cause us to lose our effectiveness for God’s kingdom.” Drew Larson – www.intervarsity.org
Can you think of any ways Christians experience the spiritual battle Paul talks about?
Discussion Tip –Iit will be very easy for your more politically-inclined members to bring up the current political climate as an example of the spiritual battle. Do what you need to in order to re-route that train of conversation.
- Would it be accurate to say that the spiritual battle is different for each person?
- What have you found helpful in fighting the spiritual battle?
- Has the intensity of the spiritual battle been different at different times in your life?
Pick two of the pieces of armor and jot down any thoughts you have on how each of them could help us live the Christian life?
Discussion Tip – If you want to cover all six of the pieces of armor and there are any pieces that no one has mentioned, you can ask people if anyone has an answer for that piece or open it up for people to comment.
Why do you think Paul ends this passage with such an emphasis on praying for one another?
The simple answer to this question is we can’t do it without God and each other. Prayer is the way we acknowledge to ourselves and God that in order to win the battle we need to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”
2. Jesus told a parable in Luke 18:9-14 about two men at the temple with very different attitudes concerning how they approached God. In what ways do you see the difference between religion and relationship reflected in these men?
The Pharisee believed that if he followed the script of doing all the right things (using the correct tools), then God would be pleased no matter what his attitude was. He thought God was stupid and could be manipulated by his outward actions. The tax collector responded as a needy person approaching a loving father.
Luke 18:9-14 (New International Version)
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
How would you describe how each of these men related to God?
The Pharisee acted like God should be happy to have him on his team. His prayer was more an overview of how much better he thought he was than other people including the tax collector and he talked about all that he did that God should be pleased with. He was confident that all he had done would cause God to view him as righteous.
The tax collector acted like he didn’t deserve to be there, which was true. But his attitude was one of honesty, humility, and dependency on God’s grace. He knew he had done nothing to cause God to love him. And he was open with God about his sin.
What would it be like to have these two men in your Life Group? How do you think they’d relate to everyone else in the group?
The Pharisee would probably have a competitive spirit and always be comparing himself to everyone else in the group. He would most likely make sure everyone was aware of all that he did for God but not be very open about what was really going on in his life. He would think that the group was lucky to have him in it.
The tax collector would be grateful to be in the group. He would be open about his sin and failures and happy to be in a place where he could share with others and find support.
Additional Question – What would you experience if you had the Pharisee as a friend? How about the tax collector?
Larry mentioned four ways that religion differs from a personal relationship with Jesus. Which of the four is most important or most challenging for you to remember?
Prayer Transition and Optional Question: The number one 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
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.