LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of October 1, 2023
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
CONTINUE 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
In-person Social Ideas: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/suggestions-for-socials/
Online Social Ideas: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/group-socials/
NORTH COAST MEN’S CONFERENCE – OCTOBER 27 & 28
This is a great opportunity for the guys in your Life Group to get connected at a new level. See below for details. We’ll be raising money once again for one of the women’s resource centers in our community that helps women and families in distress. There will be multiple ways to contribute including raffles for prizes (Big Screen TV, BBQ’s, etc.) along with various tournaments and activities including poker, cornhole and disc golf tournaments. If you have something you like to donate for the raffle, please contact Vikki at [email protected]. https://www.northcoastchurch.com/calendar/mens-conference/
Women’s Gathering at North Coast Leadership Conference – Created initially as a leadership pre-conference event for the annual North Coast Leadership Conference, the Women’s Gathering has become an annual opportunity open to all women of North Coast Church. Whether you are serving or leading in ministry, the marketplace, the home, or a combination of all the above, we invite you to bring a friend and spend an evening with women from all over the county learning to live like Jesus. Receive biblical encouragement, practical leadership tools, and a time of refreshment. Be equipped to lead no matter what role you serve in! October 16, 6-9pm at the Vista Campus https://www.northcoastchurch.com/calendar/womens-gathering/
Leader Tip for Week #3
Your group time together is valuable! The key? Making sure you find time to hear from everyone in your group and make sure they feel valued and heard. Check out this 60 second clip from Pastor Dave Enns to hear more. >>> youtu.be/_PnpYc58iTM
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
This is the last week we’ll include a “Getting to Know You” question that is simply designed to learn something new about the people in your group. Next week we’ll return to all “My Story” questions, which focus on the topic of the sermon.
Discussion Reminder: Our goal is to hear from everyone every time you meet and keep God’s Word at the center! Our goal is not to answer all the questions. We ask multiple questions to give groups options to focus on. Pick the questions that seem to fit your group the best. Make sure you get everyone involved in the discussion, and make sure you leave time for people to share personally and any needed prayer requests.
1. What’s one of your favorite things about the fall season? Do you have any fall traditions? Favorite fall meals?
Examples: Football, Pumpkin Spice, Soups, Apple Pie… As we are still getting to know each other, this should be a fun question.
2. This weekend we see Jesus praying. Everyone has some kind of background with or understanding of prayer. What is your experience with praying?
How do these answers relate to this weekend’s sermon as we looked at Jesus’ prayer? Answers may go in the direction of comparing what we have known about prayer and what we have just learned about prayer. The way your group members answer this question will help you lead through the Digging Deeper questions below.
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?
Nothing Jesus did was by accident. It was interesting to note from this week’s passage, Jesus’ posture of prayer. What do you think the significance is of Jesus looking up (John 17:1)?
Additional Question: Why didn’t He go off by Himself for this prayer? This was a public prayer— since we see that John has recorded it, we know there were witnesses to it and that also was on purpose and intentional, not by accident. The hope is that this prompts a discussion about Jesus’ confidence and hope in fulfilling His purpose.
We see in Scripture several different postures of prayer. Read the following verses and note the prayer posture or position.
Ephesians 3:14 New International Version (NIV)
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father,
Psalm 107:6 New International Version (NIV)
6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
1 Timothy 2:8 New International Version (NIV)
8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
Matthew 6:6 New International Version (NIV)
6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 26:39 New International Version (NIV)
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Acts 16:25 New International Version (NIV)
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
Prayer, or communicating with God, does not require a certain posture, but as you see in these examples, there are many ways to pray. How do you think our physical posture in prayer reflects the attitude of our hearts?
Do you have a particular posture in prayer that you frequently go to?
Additional Question: Did any of these verses challenge you to try a new way or new posture of praying?
Do you think that our posture has any impact on how God receives or responds to our prayers?
- What do you know about God’s character or nature that informs your answer?
- Can you think of any other prayer postures from Scripture?
- Does our body language and posture in prayer affect the way we pray or communicate with God?
- What are some different postures or places we can pray that might enhance our prayer experience?
- Does this encourage and/or challenge your understanding of prayer or our relationship with God?
Examples: prayer walk, singing scripture, journaling prayers, writing prayers on cards and placing in visible locations, draw a picture of your prayer, write poetry (Psalms)
Note: This question was intended to prompt discussion, not bring up confusion. Remember these points as you guide the discussion if/when talking through this question:
- God’s character does not change, so one answer to this question is “no”… our posture, or tone, or words, etc. are unable to sway, woo, or persuade God to do anything outside of His nature/character.
- How I/we walk with Jesus and live my life does change and affect the way that I relate to Him and my ability to recognize how He is working in and through my life.
- Be careful that we don’t treat God like a genie in a bottle or a vending machine… If we prayer harder or louder or with more vigor, we don’t automatically get our wishes granted or win the prize in the vending machine.
In reflecting on the Lord’s “real” prayer, we are intentionally carving out extra time this week to pray. As you discuss the answers to these, bring your requests to God in prayer together.
Please keep an eye on time so that you can really spend time praying through the answers to the following questions. This is the week to get creative and intentional with prayer. Praying for each other is one of the sermon applications, so we want to do that in our groups and not just talk about it.
Note: We never force or demand everyone in the group to pray. You may have members who are not yet followers of Jesus or new to their faith and everyone has varying levels of comfortability when it comes to prayer, (think back to the answers you heard from question #2 in the “Getting to Know You” segment) especially in a group setting. If you have members who don’t feel comfortable sharing prayer requests because of the personal nature, give them an option to pray silently. Remind your group that we can always pray for one another even though specific requests have not been shared. That said, if your group has been together for some time and you sense it may be time to push your group to go a little deeper with prayer, maybe this is the week. We trust as leaders that you know your group and will pray through and discern how to navigate this time.
Prayer Tools & Ideas:
- 3×5 cards and pens for group members to write out prayer requests
- split in men and women
- group up into 2-3 to share requests
- actually pray in the groups (see prayer tips below)
Glorify [glawr-uh-fahy] verb: to honor with praise, admiration, or worship; extol
When Damean shared the observation that Jesus prayed for Himself to be glorified, it was not a selfish prayer, but rather so that God the Father would be glorified. Read Romans 15:5-7. Is there an area in your life that might need attention so that God can be glorified?
Romans 15:5-7 New International Version (NIV)
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Additional Verse: 1 Peter 1:2-11
Note: Jesus, prayed to be glorified SO THAT God the Father would be glorified. He was praying in His purpose with a sober understanding of what He was about to do. When we say “Jesus prayed for Himself,” it’s not to focus on what He needed or wanted, but what needed to be done so He could walk in and fulfill His purpose.
Restore [ri-stawr, -stohr] verb: to bring back to a former or original condition
Jesus is restored to His original and rightful place with God the Father, and through Christ we are restored and able to be in relationship with God the Father. Read Psalm 51:11-12. Is there an area of loss, pain, or brokenness where you need Jesus to come in and restore you? Where do you need to invite Jesus in to heal, mend, or make whole?
Psalm 51:11-12 New International Version (NIV)
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Additional Verse: 2 Corinthians 13:8-11
Note: This question may bring up some heavy stuff in your group. People are walking in with pain and hurt and some may share new things in response to this question. Some possible answers may be… needing restored hope, sense of purpose, relational pain/hurt. Don’t skip over the invitation that we give Jesus to come in and do the work of restoration in our lives. This section we want to focus on personal restoration— though it’s closely connected to relationship, we want to keep relationships to the next section of reconciliation.
Reconcile [rek-uhn-sahyl] verb: to restore to friendship or relationship
When we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus, we are reconciled to God the Father. We are also called to be His ambassadors for reconciliation in the world. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-20. Is there a particular area where you would like to grow or deepen your intimacy with Jesus? Is there a relationship in your life where you need God’s help with the process of reconciliation?
2 Corinthians 5:17-20 New International Version (NIV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
Additional Verse: Matthew 5:23-24
Note: We can all think of either a relationship that we are in or a relationship between two people that we love where there is a rift, tension, or conflict and the need for reconciliation. Maybe it’s a relationship with a spouse, child, parent, in law, friend… how do we start the process of reconciliation?
[hal·le· glohr-ee] Hallelujah + Glory
This term Damean taught us is all about acknowledging God’s character and living life in such a way that when others see us, they see God in us and give Him the glory.
Having learned this new term, fill in the blanks below to create your own “halle-glory” prayer.
Think back to middle school Mad Libs to fill out this prayer. Feel free to talk this out with your group.
Additional Questions: What are some words that describe God’s character? How does our behavior (actions, attitude, approach) represent Christ to those who see us/interact with us?
Note: This should be fun, though there is a level of seriousness to the prayer itself. This would be a fun one to have everyone share with the group or with their prayer partner.
God, you are ______________________________.
(God’s character traits)
Help me to ________________________________________________
(action, attitude, approach)
so that when others see me, they see You in me and give You glory.
This should look familiar since we included it last week, but we wanted to include again since we are focused on prayer in this week’s homework. 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.
|TIPS ON GROUP PRAYER|
|Prayer is an important part of being in a 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.