COMMUNITY GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of January 30, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
⇨ Group Connection / Discussion Reminder
Continue to be aware of how the time in your group is being used and make sure you’re allowing time to connect and pray for one another. If you spend most of the meeting one week answering the questions, make sure you allow plenty of time to connect and pray the following week. If you haven’t done so and you’re a male/female group, make sure you’re getting time to break into women-only/men-only groups to take prayer requests. Sharing oftentimes goes up when you do this.
⇨ Anyone needing some extra attention in your group?
Just a quick reminder, if someone shares something, a text, phone call or note letting them know you’re thinking about them later that week can be a big encouragement.
Submit your group’s attendance online from the email link sent to you.
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?
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
This is the last week we’ll include a “Getting to Know You” question that is simply designed to learn something new about the people in your group. Next week we’ll return to all “My Story” questions, which focus on the topic of the sermon (like questions 2 and 3 below).
A common fear many of us experience is F.O.M.O. (the fear of missing out on an event, opportunity or fun, etc.). Can you think of any examples of times you have experienced F.O.M.O.?
Examples can include a social gathering you saw afterward on social media, a work meeting you weren’t invited to, a television show or movie everyone is talking about that you haven’t seen, a shopping item everyone is buying that you don’t have, etc.
Additional Question: What’s the silliest thing you have felt F.O.M.O. over?
A great way to trust God with what’s in front of us is to remember what He has done in the past. Are there ways or times you’ve seen God show up in the past that can serve as a reminder of His faithfulness now and in the future?
Good opportunity to hear stories of God’s faithfulness in people’s lives. You may also ask this question toward the end of your discussion, after the Digging Deeper section.
As believers, we are promised we are never doing life alone. Read Romans 8:14-39 and underline in your Bible all that has to do with what the Spirit offers us as followers of Jesus, then make a list below.
Romans 8:14-39 New International Version (NIV)
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Discussion Tip: Have your group build this list together with each person sharing just a couple of their answers. They may come up with more than what is listed below.
(Note: Feel free to use Romans 8:1-13 also. We used this passage for a question the first meeting of the quarter, but many may not have discussed it due to the potluck and social setting of that first meeting.)
- Do not need to fear (v. 15)
- Present sufferings are short term in light of eternity (v. 18)
- We can have hope we are saved (v. 24)
- Spirit intercedes for me (v. 26)
- All things can work together for good (v. 28) – see question #2 below to work this one out.
- The all-powerful God is for me; no one else stands a chance (v. 31)
- I am more than a conqueror (v. 37)
- Nothing can separate me from the love of God (v. 38)
- Other – you and your group may come up with more.
Additional Study– Digging even deeper with your group: Brainstorm with your group on questions that help evaluate if you’re putting your faith in action and/or do a Bible search of other verses that reinforce or expand your understanding of what God offers us before you move onto the next sub-question.
Here are a few examples:
- Is there a fear that is regularly weighing me down? (2 Timothy 1:7)
- Are there any long-term difficulties I am going to have to live with?
- How can I recognize God is at work in this difficult situation?
- Do I know God is listening to me more than I realize? Do I ever use this as an excuse not to talk to Him (aka pray) about what’s going on in me?
- Is there a reason I believe God is not for me? Is it because there’s something I need to stop, change or confess?
- Do I ever feel separated from God? Is that because of Him or me? How do I seek God? (Matthew 6:33)
Looking back at your list, which one or two are the most affirming for you to live out your faith confidently?
Good question to have everyone answer. Encourage personal examples of how it is encouraging. You may want to include the next question also.
Is there one that is more challenging than the others?
Romans 8:28 is one of the most misunderstood verses when life is difficult. How do Romans 5:3-5 and the rest of what you just read in Romans 8 help us to better understand this verse?
Romans 5:3-5 New International Version (NIV)
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
- How could this be taken out of context and used to actually hurt, more than help in difficult situations?
- How would you want someone to show you empathy in a difficult situation? When and who would you want to share this verse with you?
Showing empathy and acknowledging a person’s difficult situation is crucial. This verse is often used to imply bad things are good or that everything is going to turn out “good.” Bad things are not good and everything does not turn out “good.” What this is saying is that God can bring good out of bad, but it does not make the bad good. As followers of Jesus, we live by a greater purpose and know that God is at work even when we may not see it. More explanation at this link: bibleref.com/Romans/8/Romans-8-28.html
Is there a situation in your life where you need help seeing how God is at work even though it may seem He is not?
Use this question for your closing time together. Again, breaking into small groups may be helpful to allow everyone to share their thoughts.
TAKING IT HOME
If you don’t have any new people in your group you may want to divide into men-only / women-only groups to discuss this next section and pray together. You could also break into smaller groups of 3 to 5 and have everyone answer these questions.
Looking back on this week’s sermon and study, what’s most important for you to remember?
Good question to have everyone answer.
Are there any suggestions from the above passages of Scripture that you feel like you need to add to your life?