LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of April 2, 2023
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
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
- Re-connect with existing members and meet new members
- Cast vision for the quarter with your group as you go over the Commitment form
- Clarify your group’s direction / expectations / commitments using the Life Group Commitment Form . Doing a quick revisit can re-vitalize a long-term group – listen to leader audio for more details.
- Briefly discuss the sermon topic (if there is time)
- Pray for the building of relationships and the spiritual growth of the group
Items Needed for the First Meeting
- Life Group Commitment Form– Review this with your group: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/life-group-covenants/
- Nametags for in-person groups if you have someone new in the group (print or write them out ahead of time).
Contact Your Group in Advance
- Contact all members one week 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 Groups Experience
1) Shorten meetings to 75 minutes or less. Also, build in some extra availability and connection to be on 10 minutes early and available 10 to 20 minutes after if people want to connect.
2) Use break-out rooms to personalize conversations. (If possible, try to do this for 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-to’s at this link: Pro-Tips & Facilitation Tips to maximize your Online Experience.
SERVE YOUR CITY – April 15-30 (Three-week focus – Give/Serve/Love)
- Serve Day – April 29/30 – All weekend services are canceled so you can serve in your community!
- You can sign up for projects now – The earlier you sign up, the more options you will have! You can sign up as Life Group or as individuals.
- Sign-up Tutorial – Watch video here!
- *Nationwide Group Projects – (to find nationwide projects filter “find by campus – Nationwide”)
- NEED: Leaders and Skilled People in the trades – carpenters, plumbers, flooring, etc. If you can help, let us know HERE!
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
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 question and make sure everyone answers. Right from the start, help set time limits so you can hear from everyone.
Tell us about yourself…
What’s the tastiest food you can make (a good sandwich can count)?
What is something that always makes you smile?
Larry talked about what happens when we really believe. Which one of his points do you think many people miss? Which one caught your attention the most and why?
This question can easily transition into the Digging Deeper question if you have time or go straight into the Looking Ahead Questions to hear what people want from the group during the spring quarter and any specific way they may want to grow personally.
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?
This question allows you hear from people on questions we don’t ask. Some weeks you may spend a lot of time here, while other times you may spend no time at all.
Discussion Note: Because of the potluck, make sure you have enough time to spend on the “Looking Ahead” section below.
This weekend we heard how a real belief in Jesus is revealed in our actions, it experiences doubt, and it manages to move forward even when it doesn’t make sense. The apostle Paul wrote to the church some things he hoped they would take to heart as they sought to live out the kind of belief that changes everything. Circle anything in the passages below that gives you hope and encouragement in Paul’s writing when it comes to your own “life-changing” belief.
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.
…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Looking back at what you circled…
Discussion Suggestion: Good question to have everyone answer if you are taking time on this question, but also know you probably won’t have time for them to answer all three. It’s probably best to have them answer whichever one of the three they would like. You could also just use the one additional question below.
Is there one you’ve experienced and seen God work in your life more than the others? If so, explain.
Is there one that is a new (or almost new) idea?
Is there one you need to be reminded of the most?
Additional Question: In order, what are your top two that are most important for you to remember?
Prayer option for the quarter: Write down what people say and use it as prayer guide for your group during the quarter.
One of the key reasons we meet in Life Groups every week is to gain the encouragement and support we each need to honor God in all we do and keep our focus on Jesus. Before you go over the Life Group Commitment in your group, take a moment and write down your responses to the questions below:
As you think about this quarter, what is one thing you hope to get out of your Life Group experience?
Good question to have everyone answer and add the one below also. Everyone will not have an answer for the one below.
Are there any new areas in your life you would like to grow in or personally focus on this next quarter?
Everyone will not have answer for this one. You can use their answers to the Digging Deeper section as a prayer guide for your group over the quarter.
For your Notes, Leaders: Larry’s comments on going from preaching to meddling:
- Response to others – Do I return good for evil? Am I willing to forgive?
- Decisions – Am I making them in light of eternity?
- Sexuality – Am I excusing something that is wrong?
- Money and possessions – Is it God’s Kingdom first?
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 and how to encourage and care for each other. 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.