LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of January 21, 2024
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
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
In-person Social Ideas: lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/suggestions-for-socials/
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 the questions. Great conversation and connection are far more important than covering all the questions. Listen to audio for additional tips.
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.
Follow up with anyone who missed your group last week and let them know you would still love to have them in the group even if they have not returned your messages. Indicate whether or not you’ve not heard from them when you submit your attendance. If you have still not heard from them after this week’s meeting, let us know and we’ll drop them from your group. 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
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
1) Shorten meetings to 75 minutes or less.
2) Use breakout rooms to personalize conversation. (If possible, try to do this at least 5-10 minutes every meeting.)
3) 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 insightful and helpful in building relationships in a group, even if your group has been together for a long time.
1. We all have different things we love to do in our spare time. What are your top two or three things you love to do when you have some extra hours in the week to get you refreshed?
If you have new people in your group, this will help them to get to know your group.
Additional Question: If you were required to start a new hobby this year and participate in it 1 to 2 hours a week and time was not an issue, what would it be and why? Examples: pickleball, mountain biking, disc golf, hiking, golf, learning how to play a specific instrument (find out which one), online gaming, bird watching, surfing, woodworking, quilting, reading, etc.
2. This weekend we heard that our faith in Jesus is represented by our obedience and love for others. What are some words you would use to explain or define love in action?
Get your group to brainstorm to see how many different words or concepts your group can come up with. Set this up so they are not giving you the answers they had before they did Digging Deeper #1. Have everyone answer even if they have the same answer.
3.While most of us rarely feel like we “hate” others, we can probably all think of some people, situations, or issues that stretch our love. Chances are, we each have some indicators or signs that we are not moving toward love, even when dealing with small stuff. Take a look at the list below. What might be some of your indicators?
Discussion tip: Set this up, affirming we all deal with this and focus on the smaller issues or annoyances that we suddenly find ourselves overacting to and going to the negative side. Examples could be – car pulling in front of you, skipping the long line you were waiting in, being on hold, poor customer service, a slow car in front of you, a know it all, other. Realize some people may not be aware of what their indicators are.
Note on indicators: All indicators are not wrong; in fact, they may be important, especially when we find ourselves in hurtful or harmful situations, like withdrawal to move out of the situation or even anger to bring about defense or protection.
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?
Discussion Reminder: Pick which question you want to make sure you have time to answer first, as if you’re hearing from everyone in your discussions, you won’t have time to answer them all. We try to give various questions as we know groups vary in what they would prefer to focus on.
1. People define love in a variety of ways. The first one that typically comes to mind is the emotion of how much we like someone or something. Yet, we all know emotions come and go. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13, gives a new perspective of the life-changing love our God offers us that we heard about in this weekend’s message. As you read the chapter, jot down each characteristic of love and answer the questions below.
*Additional Passage Note below if your group has used 1 Corinthians 13 recently
1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
As you look back at the traits of love listed above:
The first two questions are good ones to have everyone answer.
… what are the top two you HAVE to remember and why?
… is there one you have seen God grow you in more than others?
Additional Question: Is there one you would like to grow in?
… which one helps us realize showing love does not mean we are to just “give in” no matter what?
V. 7 – “Love always protects” – physically, emotionally, intellectually, relationally, and spiritually. Love provides a safe place for others in the storms of life. It also offers this when we are dealing with our or others sin. We are to love sacrificially, but we also are not called to put ourselves in harm’s way. Questions 2 below deals with this more.
… are there any that you have questions on?
*Additional Verses to check out – Romans 12:9-16
This is powerful passage that you could use to reinforce this question and many aspects of what love in action looks like. If your group has used 1 Corinthians 13 recently, you could use the passage as your focus for these questions. You can also apply it to the elements of spiritual growth/health discussed in the sermon.
2. The cost of sacrificial love is real. How do these verses help us continue to love, even when wronged or dealing with injustice?
Have each person share what is most helpful to them when dealing with difficult situations of what it means to love others.
Psalm 9:9-10 New International Version (NIV)
9 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Proverbs 15:1-4 New International Version (NIV)
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
3 The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,
keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
Romans 12:17-19 New International Version (NIV)
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Additional Passages you can use:
3. Jesus, our source of love, and His Spirit changing us from the inside out is how we can sacrificially love and forgive beyond what we can expect. Chris talked about five elements in the path of spiritual growth that keep us connected to Jesus, our source of love. We could also look at them as spiritual health markers.
Looking back at the five in your notes…
… was there anything new or good to hear again that helps you understand your spiritual growth/health?
This is a great spiritual health checklist, but it can also be intimidating to those just starting out in following Jesus. It is not a recipe and does not have to happen in order. This question is designed to allow people at all stages of their faith to answer. Just as we all have different scores in fitness and strength, there is great variety in our individual scores of what health looks like.
Extra Study for your group – especially for veteran groups: If your group has been together for some time, you could easily take the entire time on this question. Have them break into smaller groups and search for verses reinforcing each point. If your group is comfortable with each other, have them rate themselves on 1 to 5 scale and share how they have seen it grow, go up and down, etc.
… are there any you’d like some more explanation on?
If someone has questions you can’t answer, see if someone in the group would like to work on researching the answer and have them bring it to group next week. Of course, if you need more info on this as a leader after your group meets, don’t hesitate to contact your Life Group pastor.
Listen to leader guide audio for more details.
- Looking back at this week’s message and study, what’s most important for you to remember?
- Do you have any prayer requests regarding this weekend’s message or for you personally?
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 everyone was required to pray out loud in their group. We have also seen when handled correctly people move from never praying out loud in the group to actually participating regularly.
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?
|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.