LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of January 14, 2024
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
WELCOME TO THE WINTER QUARTER OF LIFE GROUPS!
This week we kick off our Winter Life Group Quarter. Your first gathering is designed to give you time to get acquainted, enjoy a meal together and connect with each other, as well as time to discuss how to make your Life Group meetings great! The study questions have been shortened this week to allow ample time to accomplish all of this. 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.
Online Groups – If your group is meeting online, your leaders will be sending you the link for your group. Use this link for tips on meeting with your group online: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/pro-tips/
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 PLAY VIDEO
- 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
- 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. 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 (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/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
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.
AGENDA for your first meeting
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 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 review 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 “Looking Ahead” section.
- Study Questions Discussion (optional – we do encourage you to spend time on the “Redeeming” question that has Colossians 3:12-17)
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Tell us about yourself …
- Would you rather flip a coin for the chance to win $100 or immediately win $50?
- If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which one would it be?
- What’s the most interesting thing you can see out of your office or kitchen window?
As we start the new year, what are one or two things you’re looking forward to in 2024?
Great question to have everyone answer. You may want to include the two questions in the “Looking Ahead” section with this question and then transition into going over the Commitment Form.
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?
Discussion Note: Because of the potluck, make sure you have enough time to spend on the “Looking Ahead” section below.
We have just launched our new series in 1 John called “Checkmate.” This week, we were offered an incredible reminder of the forgiveness Jesus has offered us and our need for it. In our first week in the series, we were given four powerful reasons 1 John was written to us. As you take another look at them below, which one catches your attention the most and why? Is there one you’d especially like to lean into as you start 2024?
A joy that can’t be taken from us.
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. 1 John 1:3-4
A victory that sin has stolen from us.
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 1 John 2:1
A truth that lies cannot lead us away from.
I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 1 John 2:26
A promise of salvation that doubts can’t deny.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:13-14
One of the key reasons we meet in Life Groups every week is to gain the encouragement and support we each need to “remain” and humbly follow and honor God in all we do. Before you go over the Life Group Commitment in your group, take a moment and write down your responses to the questions below.
What are you looking forward to in your Life Group this quarter?
Have everyone respond to this question. You can go directly here into going over the Life Group Commitment.
Additional Question: Which of one of four verses listed above could be an important reminder for you this quarter? Feel free to add this question if you have time.
Is there anything specific you need prayer for, or is there any other focus you would like to have to grow this next 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 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.”
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.