Community Group Leader’s Guide
For the week of January 20, 2019
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
- Complete homework and pray for your group before they arrive
- Provide name tags if you have new members in your group
- Have drinks available
GOALS FOR THE EVENING
- Continue to build relationships
- Pray together
- Go over the Covenant with anyone who missed the first week. Remind anyone who hasn’t signed the Covenant to do so. Email it to email@example.com or drop it off at the office by Sunday January 27th.
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT WEEK #2
Remember we’re on week #2 with your group. People are still acclimating, especially any new members. Lead your group through the questions according to how well everyone knows each other. There are plenty of questions in this homework to take you deeper. 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. You do not need to cover all questions. Great conversation is far more important than covering all the questions.
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. NEVER make someone pray.
Submit your group’s attendance online through your email you receive at the conclusion of your meeting.
Depending on time, you may only want to answer one or two questions in this section. It is important to ask #3.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
1. If you could live in a movie, TV show, or book, what would it be?
2. In 2019 which one of the following do you hope to experience the most and why?
- Something else (_______________)
3. Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or anything that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
This question gives people the opportunity to discuss questions or issues that come up beyond the written questions. People’s responses can often lead into one of the questions in the “Digging Deeper” section. Some weeks this question will result in a lot of discussion, other weeks, not so much.
1. An active prayer life brings spiritual maturity which in biblical terms is called sanctification. What do the following verses say about how to grow spiritually through your prayer life?
John 17:17 (NIV)
17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
Philippians 3:12-15 (NIV)
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
Maturing in faith takes time, perseverance, and studying Scripture on a regular basis. Additional scripture is Philippians 4:6-7.
2. This weekend we heard about finding God’s call for our lives based on who we are in Christ. While each of us have a specific purpose, as followers of Christ God has a larger calling for all believers to be disciple-makers. Read the verses below and jot down what each verse says all followers of Christ are called to do.
Luke 14:26-33 (NIV)
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
To “give up”(33) may mean we give up something physically, but more often it means we let go emotionally so that what we possess no longer possess us. Is there one verse that is typically easier for you to put into action? Is there one that is more challenging than the others for you? If so, explain.
Good question to hear from everyone.
3. A goal we have at South Tampa Fellowship is to be a church that intentionally loves people so that they will see Jesus through our actions and words, and be drawn to him. As you read the following passages, underline/highlight/circle any specific guidelines that could help our effectiveness in our place of influence.
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 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.
Ephesians 6:7 (NIV)
7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,
What does it look like to serve “with all your heart”?
Psalm 119:9-11 is a great passage for additional conversation as it is God’s Word in our life guides us.
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.
If you have new people we suggest waiting another week so they can get to know each other better. Make sure you take some time to think through how you’re going to cover the topic of prayer if you have new people.
1. Here are a few practical suggestions on how to develop your personal prayer life.
- Schedule it
- Get away on occasion
- Pray aloud to help you focus
- Listen, as well as talk
- Use Scripture as your guide
Which, if any of these, do you already tend to do?
Take some time to reflect on where you create margins in your life to be rested, restored and renewed. If that is an area you need to work on, what are some specific ways you could take time to physically, mentally and spiritually recharge?
2. What things would you like to incorporate into your prayer life to help you become more spiritually mature in the next few weeks?
3. What are one or two specific things your Community Group could be praying for you?
TIPS ON PRAYER
Prayer Transition: The #1 fear most people have is speaking in public. Group prayer falls into this category. If you have new people in your group, going over “Tips on Prayer” is crucial. In most cases it’s also a good reminder for returning groups.
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?
- Prefer to pray silently instead of out loud
- Find my mind wandering when praying
- Like to write out prayers
- Look forward to time in prayer
- Don’t really know how to pray
Prayer is an important part of being in Community Group. 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.
MEN’S BIBLE STUDY
Wednesday mornings from 6:45-7:45 at our BP Campus, Pastor JJ, or occasionally one of the other STF pastors, leads men of all ages through a time of prayer and Bible study.
Advance notice isn’t necessary — just show up on Wednesday morning and get some support for your spiritual foundation.
Night of Gathering
Next Sunday, January 27th, at 7 – 8:45 p.m. at the BP Campus, Brandi Taber, wife of Pastor Jim Taber, will be our special guest speaker. You will get the inside scoop about the launching of a new church in Billings, Montana, with which STF is partnering. You do not want to miss this event!
Discipleship Bible Study
February 4 Discipleship Bible study will begin. Here you’ll gain a deeper understanding of God’s Word, apply His Word to your life, and encourage others through sharing life experiences and intentional accountability. To register, please click here and select the Book (One, Two, or Three) where you’d like to begin and the best day/time to meet with a group. Email Lauren@stfchurch.com with any questions.
CHURCH PARTNERSHIP SUNDAY
Join us NEXT SUNDAY, January 27th to welcome and get-to-know Pastor Jim Taber of Billings, Montana who along with his wife, Brandi, will be in partnership with STF in launching a new church in Billings. We are excited to see what God will do in Montana through this partnership.