LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of February 17, 2019
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
These notes are designed to be a resource as you lead your Life Group each week.
Make sure you attend the Mid Quarter Training session for Leaders and Hosts (Vista Campus based-groups only). Click the links below to RSVP.
- Remember you don’t have to answer every question!
- Choose questions best suited to your group.
- Listen to the Audio Guide/Podcast for more discussion suggestions.
- Take prayer requests
- If you haven’t divided into male/female groups already, you may want to do so for prayer.
Special Discussion Note for the week – The questions this week are going help people look at how they can help reach their friends, co-workers and those they randomly encounter for Jesus. People often unaware of how to respond if someone asks them why they are following of Jesus. Note you could easily spend your entire meeting on the first question in the “Taking Home Section.”
1. When you think of what it takes to reach the world for Jesus, what would you say is your part in making that happen? Which part of that role makes you nervous, confused or fearful?
Good question to have everyone answer. Many may say they don’t know or are not sure. This week’s questions will help them identify how they can reach others for Jesus.
Additional Questions: What has been your experience in how Christians relate and reach others for Jesus? Always thinking about and treating everyone the same; judgmental; little awareness or talk about it; other? What’s been your tendency? Has it changed over time?
2. Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
1. This week we were reminded of the incredible opportunity we have to see people’s lives changed by following Jesus. What do these three passages of scripture tell us about how to have this kind of influence?
This week we were reminded of the incredible opportunity we have to see people’s lives changed by following Jesus. What do these three passages of scripture tell us about how to have this kind of influence?
- Circle / highlight any words or phrases that catch your attention.
- Underline the verse you see as most important to remember.
- Put an X next to anything that confuses you.
Each passage has an overriding theme of what it takes to reach others for Jesus.
19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
What can we learn from Jesus’ actions and attitudes toward Zacchaeus?
- He met Zacchaeus on his own turf.
- He didn’t force himself on Zacchaeus – he saw Zacchaeus was interested and moved toward him.
- Jesus made his purpose clear – he came to seek and save the lost.
Additional Questions: Jesus made it clear he needed to spend time reaching those that didn’t know him. How do you balance that in your own life over time? How do we keep from making people that don’t know Jesus our “projects”, and truly show care about them?
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
In 60 seconds, write down as many examples as you can think of about what it means to be the salt and light.
Words I say. How I listen. Acceptance of differences. Living my life differently. How I serve others. Giving reasons why I live and/or act the way I do. Open about my faith without being obnoxious. Living out character that represents Jesus. Honesty and integrity. Willingness to admit and own my mistakes and shortcomings. Forgiving others. Responsive to needs of others. Sacrificial giving of time and resources.
List any reasons and/or examples of what keeps us from being the salt and light.
Lack of integrity. Gossip. Pettiness. Majoring on the minors. Hypocrisy.
Additional Question: As the light of the world, how do we sometimes hide under a bowl?
Ephesians 4:29, 31-32
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Which words or character qualities do you think you need to consider putting into action or avoid doing?
Good question to have everyone answer.
Additional Questions: This is another way to ask the previous question. If someone worked closely with you for six weeks, what would your character and words tell them about your faith in Jesus? What are you glad that you do in front of them? Are there any adjustments you’d like to make?
Power of our words: Proverbs 15:1, 4; 16:24; 18:21
Power of godly character lived out: 1 Peter 2:12, Proverbs 22:11, John 13:34-3
We can’t be ashamed to stand up and speak out for Jesus: Matthew 10:32-33
Telling Your Story/Giving a Reason:
1 Peter 3:15-16 tells us that we are to be ready to give a reason to everyone who asks why we’re following Jesus. Some might think you need to give an in-depth theological answer. Instead, a simple way to respond to this question is to tell them your story about how Jesus has changed your life. Take a couple minutes to answer three questions. Chances are, you will be able to give a reason anytime anyone asks “why are you following Jesus?” in 3 minutes or less (no matter your aptitude or education level).
1 Peter 3:15-16 – 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
If your group has never done this before, this could be a great question to have everyone answer. Also, please note that though the questions below may seem simple, they may not be simple for everyone to answer. After working through them, your group may also find a new-found confidence in communicating to others about their commitment to Jesus. It’s also important to understand if someone can’t communicate these questions eloquently, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a commitment to Jesus. Some discomfort is OK while working through this, but make sure you’re not putting people on the hot seat. This is supposed to be affirming and build their confidence not feeling judged. Also realize some people in your group may not have a commitment to Jesus. Chances are, your group knows this. They would only be able to communicate about question #1. This actually may be a great witness to them and/or create some great conversations about committing their life to Jesus.
- What was your life like before you were a follower of Jesus? Some may have little or no memory of this since they because they came to know Jesus as young age. If this is the case you can simply communicate how you grew up, your family, etc.
- When and/or how did you realize your need for forgiveness and what Jesus did for you? Make sure your groups knows it’s OK not have an exact point in time when this happened. For some it’s a distinct point in time, others more of gradual process.
- How has your life changed now that you’re a Jesus follower?
Extra Resource: If you really want to dig into this, here’s link that will give you much more explanation. http://web.nmsu.edu/~moretime/pdf/Personal.Testimony.How.To.Share.pdf
How to respond to questions about our faith we don’t have answers to: Never be afraid to tell people you don’t know and validate that they have a good question and let them know you’ll get back to them. You can call one of our pastors here at North Coast, look it up on the internet, or even come to North Coast.
Being Part of Someone Else’s Story:
The three passages we studied in the Digging Deeper section focus on three ways we can influence others – engaging in friendship, the words we say and the character we live out. Is there one you should pay more attention to than the others? If so, explain.
You could also have people rate themselves on this list.
- Building Relationships: Are you connecting with those that don’t know Jesus?
- Do my words affirm others (building bridges) and reveal the reason for my actions and what’s important? How long would it take for someone to know I’m a follower of Jesus if they interacted with me daily?
- Does my character reveal Godly character?