COMMUNITY GROUP LEADER’S GUIDE
For the week of September 12, 2021
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
⇨ CONTINUE TO MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR SOCIAL & SERVICE PROJECT
Begin to think about what service project you would like to do. Some ideas could be found by playing tourist in our own town! Check out www.visittampabay.com for some ideas or download the app, Visit Florida.
Some ideas include: Miniature Golf; Lunch and Laser Tag; Dinner and Bowling; Game Night; Progressive Dinner (choose 4 homes to each host a course, everyone carpools); Sunset Cruise; Potluck; or a field trip together of any of our fabulous museums in Tampa Bay area.
Submit your group’s attendance online by responding to your email from church center. Be sure to download the app, Church Center to manage your group, get lessons, and any other additional resources we offer to help you lead your Community Group.
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
Remember, a successful group meeting is one where we hear from everyone and keep God’s Word at the center. The “Getting to Know You” questions are designed to help start conversation off in a positive direction and to help all group members feel comfortable to share. This builds momentum toward the “Digging Deeper” questions.
1. What is the story behind the time you went the longest without sleep?
2. What do you fear and why?
This week, there are three questions plus possible follow-up questions. Feel free to choose the question that works best for your group. Remember the goal of a successful meeting: to hear from everyone and keep God’s Word at the center. Ask the group to help you as the facilitator to create this environment. This will help you interact with dominators (person who dominates the conversation) later on. ☺ Mention this early and often in your group. As always, let everyone know it is ok to pass or not answer a question. This helps build trust with group members who may not feel 100% comfortable sharing vulnerably yet.
1. This weekend we began a new series based the 1st ever multi-season TV show based on Jesus called, “The Chosen”. What comes to mind when you hear the words “chosen by God”?
Possible follow-up: What thoughts and feelings does the phrase “God’s plan” evoke in you?
2. Mary Magdalene was possessed by seven demons, which sounds like a horror movie, and means Mary didn’t earn the Savior’s help with good behavior. Read the following verse, offered in different translations and then answer the following questions listed below.
Isaiah 43:1-3 New International Version
“But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
Isaiah 43:1 New Living Translation
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.”
Isaiah 43:1 The Message
“But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine.”
Note: If your group prefers a circle/highlight/underline, feel free to have them do that as you read the verses out loud as a group.
What do you need to be rescued from? (A difficult personal history and pain? Financial hardship? A worldview that says we must save ourselves? Darkness, addiction, or some other sin cycle?)
How might Isaiah 43:1 challenge you to think differently about your situation? And what might it be calling you to do differently?
Possible follow-up statement and question: “Redeem means: “To buy purchase back; to ransom; to deliver from chains; to rescue and restore”. Re-read the following translations of Isaiah 43:1 and share with the group what the word “Redeemed” means to you in your personal life.
3. What would you say to someone who feels unworthy of Jesus’s love and call to follow Him (like Mary Magdalene)?
Do you feel worthy of being called by Jesus? Why, or why not? (Read John 3:16-18 after answering this question. There are several translations listed to help)
John 3:16-18 New International Version
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:16-18 New Living Translation
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. 18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son
John 3:16-18 The Message
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
Note: None of us is worthy of God’s loving attention. To be called by Him and to accept His invitation through Jesus – to be chosen and rescued in spite of our absolute unworthiness – requires us to trust Him, which includes letting Him make whatever changes to our lives He deems best. And, when we do, fear no longer has a place. God can redeem your choices and experiences. God can heal your heart, body, and relationships. The King of the Universe has called you by name.
TAKING IT HOME
Facilitation Note: As you facilitate, it may be worth a reminder that we are not here to fix the people in our group or give them advice. If you see this happening, as a facilitator, you will want to stop them and gently redirect. Giving advice without someone asking for it is a quick way to shut down transparency.
1. Titus 3:4-7 addresses God’s unmerited rescue of believers. Take special notice of the changes that following Jesus brings to our lives. Highlight, Underline, Circle anything that stands out. The different translations are offered to help gain perspective.
Titus 3:4-7 New International Version
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:4-7 New Living Translation
When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.[a] 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
Titus 3:4-7 The Message
3-8 It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, easy marks for sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this.
Looking back at your notes and study questions, what’s most important for you to remember and why?
Encourage: As Hebrews 10:24-25 reminds us, one of the many benefits of meeting weekly with a group of believers in a Community Group is to encourage each other as we continue to become more like Jesus.
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.