Leader Guide 2024: Spring Week 1

Have you heard about the
NEW Discussion Guide?


For the week of March 24, 2024
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.

ABOUT OUR NEW FORMAT – for more details listen to audio
We’re excited about trying some new things out with our new format and we hope it helps. One focus we’re going to work on doing more than we have in the past is going back to the passage of Scripture we used in the weekend teaching more than looking at other passages.  Of course, there will still be other passages of Scripture we look at on occasion, and this leader guide will provide other Scriptures as we always do. Also, please be patient with us as we are going to try some new things and realize they may take some tweaking and adjusting in the process on our part. We do want your feedback along the way as to what is helpful and what you might suggest to change. You can easily do this when you submit your attendance.

Our key purposes remain:

  • Our priority remains to create an environment where relationships and trust can be built to offer support and encouragement in life, what it means to follow Jesus helping each other apply God’s Word to our lives.
  • We believe what makes a great meeting and this kind of environment is the work of the Holy Spirit and hearing from everyone every time you meet, keeping God’s Word at the center!
  • Our goal is never to answer all of the questions but rather to engage in the topics, thoughts, and questions the Holy Spirit may be prompted through the weekend message, the questions in the discussion guide, and/or what those in your groups are experiencing. As always, as a leader, you are welcome to create other than what is in the leader’s guide.

 Goals of the First Meeting

  • Re-connect with existing members and meet new members around a meal together
  • 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 .  you have a returning group.  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

Contact Your Group in Advance

  • Contact all members one week before the first meeting to let them know plans for the first meeting and welcome anyone new 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/leader-tools/#manage

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

White Water Vacation Adventure for Leaders & Hosts (and friends in their Life Group)! June 22-26
Back by popular demand! Join us for an adventure of a lifetime whitewater rafting down the Klamath River! Led by Life Group Pastor Dave Enns and his wife Koreena, along with Kameron & Emily Drawhorn on staff at the San Marcos / Escondido campus. And this year we’ve added the opportunity to invite anyone in your Life Group. Enjoy nature, community, and a time to be refreshed and encouraged spiritually!REGISTRATION NOW OPEN  lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/whitewater/

Discussion Note: Remember, you decide which questions you will engage your group in. This section may be all you have time for this week due to the potluck and dinner. Yet, know even these three questions can still give you some great discussion and connection. See #3 in this section to transition into reviewing the Life Group Commitment, finding out what people want out of their group this quarter.      

If there are new people in your group: 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, how long they have been in the Life Group and two of their favorite hobbies.

1. The passage this week lays out 7 things John wants us to know. Say you just met a new co-worker, friend of a friend, or neighbor. What are 7 things you want them to know about you?

Fun question to have everyone answer. Coming up with seven may not be easy, but is the fun part of the question. If you have someone new in your group, they can only come up with five.  Feel free to let them off the hook. 

2. Like anything else in life, we all have different lenses we view prayer through. When you think of prayer, what has been your understanding of it? Is there an idea, image, or memory that comes to mind first?

Another good question to hear from everyone. You can close your group here and then go to the wrap-up question or move to the next question and then wrap up from there.

3. What’s the most memorable takeaway for you from this weekend’s Scripture or teaching?

You could add the first question in the “Know It” section and have everyone answer.

1. Re-read 1 John 5:13-21. Is there anything in these verses you had questions about as you read them? Are there any questions this weekend’s teaching helped answer?

Find out if your group has any questions. Responses to this will vary. If you don’t know the answers, see if someone wants to research it and come to group the following with some suggestions.

2. Larry talked about alignment with God’s will. How do we know when a person’s prayer or life is aligned versus not aligned with God’s will? What are some ways to tell the difference?

Check what your group says here, going back to the sermon notes. You can also go back to the message to find out what catches your attention on how we can get misaligned.

1. If we ask anything according to God’s will, we have what we’ve asked (verses 14-15). Have you ever had a time God clearly and noticeably answered a prayer of yours that was “according to His will”? If so, feel free to share with the group.

This is a good question. Praying for real needs, as in being able to find reliable cars, affordable housing, etc., has become increasingly difficult for many.  We also live in a culture and economy that provides us with more material blessings than almost anywhere in the world. When does this blessing possibly get in the way of prayer and focus moves to the “American Dream” more than what God wants? How do we balance remembering God is much more concerned about who we are than what we have?  

2. Have you ever had a time when you realized what you were praying for was not aligned with God’s will? If so, how did you realize it?

This could be an interesting question to have everyone answer. It could be that thing you were praying for just didn’t happen. It could be that God changed your mind, like Larry said, and you just didn’t care about it anymore. It could be you had a clear sense of why God was saying no to that thing—maybe over time you could see what God did instead of answering that prayer with a yes.    

1. How can we seek alignment to God’s will in prayer? What do those prayers sound like, and what does the posture of an aligned heart look like?

What from this weekend’s message helps you align the most?

2. God might answer a prayer with “yes,” “not yet,” or “no,” according to His will. If we feel like we know the answer to a prayer, what are some next steps to take:

  • When the answer is “yes”?
    Give thanks
  • When the answer is “not yet”?
    Be persistent and patient – see sermon
  • When the answer is “no”?
    Ask God to help you give it up and learn contentment. As Larry said, stop asking for that thing when you know the answer is no. Seek what God DOES have for you instead—ask Him why if you don’t have a clear sense of why. If you feel like he has given you a clear sense of why, thank Him.

Remaining on Purpose in Life Group: One of the key reasons we meet in Life Groups weekly is to gain the encouragement and support we each need to “stay aligned” with God, be able to pray to him boldly, and humbly follow and honor Him in all we do.

Here are two question options or go directly to review the purpose of Life Group below and along with Life Group Commitment:

Listen to audio for more instruction if needed.

  • What are you looking forward to in your Life Group this quarter?Have everyone respond to this question. You can go directly here to review or go over the Life Group Commitment.   
  • Is there anything specific you need prayer for, or is there any other focus you would like to have to grow this quarter? Use this question as an option if it flows well with your group. You also could add these comments or even follow them up in the following weeks – more time in prayer, in the Word, serving others, a specific character quality, etc.?

Transition Statement to Purpose of 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.”   Our focus is to share with one another, Study and apply God’s Word, Support each other, and Serve others, representing Jesus in how we live and use our gifts and abilities.   

Link to Life Group Commitment 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.) 

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.