Community Group Leader’s Guide
For the week of January 13, 2019
- Have name tags available so that newcomers feel welcome
- Print encough Group Covenants for everyone
- Pray for quick bonding with your group
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
Welcome to the Winter Quarter of Community Groups!
This week we kick off our Winter Community Group Quarter. Your first meeting will include a potluck dinner, time to get acquainted, as well as time to discuss your Community Group Covenant. The homework has been shortened this week to allow ample time to accomplish all of this.
To prepare for your first meeting, take some time to focus on the questions below and be prepared to share your answers with the group. Have a great meeting as you come together to connect, encourage one another to grow and see how God work!
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Add these questions if you have new people in your group or a completely new group. If it hasn’t happened while eating dinner, have everyone in the group share how long they have been attending STF, which campus they attend, and their occupation. Note: You’ll probably only have time to do two of these questions at most, so choose accordingly.
1. Tell us a little about yourself…
Where is your favorite place to relax?
How do you make yourself fall asleep when you can’t seem to get to sleep?
What movie or book (other than the Bible) do you most often quote?
2. As we start 2019, what are one or two things you’re looking forward to in the New Year?
3. 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?
NOTE ABOUT THIS WEEK’S HOMEWORK: Most of your time should be spent on Launching Your Community Group and going over the Group Covenant. If you have time, feel free to use the DIGGING DEEPER questions but don’t feel obligated. Make sure you have copies of the Group Covenant for everyone to read.
1. This week we heard how Jesus usually doesn’t fit the box or description we give Him. The life He lived and the instructions He and His disciples gave us in Scripture are oftentimes contrary to how many people live or think. What’s contrary about the instructions given in the following verses?
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. [NIV]
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. [NIV]
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.  Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. [NIV]
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else,  for each one should carry his own load.
Is there one you’re better at than the other? Is there one you need to further develop?
2. Jesus made it clear in this week’s passage that God is more concerned about people and their needs than the religious duties we get hung up on. What does the following passage teach you about the relationship between meeting the needs of others and loving God?
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  This is my command: Love each other. [NIV]
LAUNCHING YOUR COMMUNITY GROUP QUARTER
One of the key reasons we meet in Community Groups every week is to gain the encouragement and support we each need to keep our focus on Jesus. Before you go over the Covenant in your group, take a moment and write down your responses to the two questions below:
What are you looking forward to in your Community Group this quarter?
Important question for everyone to answer.
Looking back at this week’s sermon, is there any specific part of who Jesus is that you want to stay focused on this quarter?
This is a good question to make into a prayer request
Transition Statement to Covenant: “It’s great to hear what each of you have said about what you want out of your time in the group. One of the great benefits of being in a Community Group is the opportunity to have help from others as we seek to be strategic and intentional about our spiritual growth. The Community Group Covenant is designed to serve as intentional guidelines to help us make the most of our time together.”
Pass out Covenants and go over them with your group. See below or download the Covenant online below the Announcements.
THE PURPOSE OF COMMUNITY GROUPS
Community Groups exist to promote spiritual maturity and personal growth through meaningful Christian relationships and the study of God’s Word. (Romans 8:29 & Hebrews 10:24-25). Here’s how it will happen:
Romans 8:29 – 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.(NIV)
Hebrews 10:24-25 – 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.(NIV)
Each week we’ll take time to share what is happening in our lives. At first this sharing will include planned “sharing questions.” But after the first few weeks, it will become more informal and personal as we feel more comfortable.
Each week we’ll study a section from God’s Word that relates to the previous weekend’s sermon or an appropriate personal growth topic. Our goal is to learn how to live out our Christianity in everyday life.
Each week we’ll learn how to take care of one another as Christ commanded (John 15:9-13). This care can take many forms, such as prayer, encouragement, listening, challenging one another and meeting real needs.
John 15:9-13 – 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.(NIV)
Spiritual growth is fostered not only by what we gain through the support and input of others, but also through service to others. The role each of us fills is important to the health of the church and for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the community in which we live (Ephesians 4:11-16). Throughout the quarter, it is our hope that you can find and/or be affirmed in the ways God has designed you to serve and make a difference in God’s Kingdom.
Ephesians 4:11-16 – 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.(NIV)
Close in prayer: Next week the Homework questions will include an introduction to praying in a group so if you have a new group or a lot of new members, it’s suggested that you wait until next week two to do any group prayer.
PARENTS OF TEENS
Winter Retreat is back! It will take place February 15-18 at Camp Gilead in Polk City. This years theme is WASTELAND from Isaiah 43:19, where the big idea is…God could be doing amazing things to grow you spiritually when you feel like you are in a spiritual drought. Click the link to register!
CHURCH PARTNERSHIP SUNDAY
Join us on 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.
Night of Gathering
January 27th, at 7 – 8:45 p.m. at the Ballast Point Campus, Brandi Taber, wife of Pastor Jim Taber, as our special guest. In addition to meeting Brandi Taber, you’ll hear details about the launching of a new church in Billings, Montana, with which STF is partnering.
Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12-step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain, or addiction. It’s a safe place to find community and freedom.
Every Thursday Night Including all holidays
- 5:30 – 6:15 PM
Dinner Full Dinner $6.00; Salad and Soup $3.00; Children under 5 Eat Free
- 6:30 – 7:30 PM
Large Group CR Praise Team and Band provide worship, followed by either a teaching or a testimony (which alternate).
- 7:30 – 8:30 PM
Small Groups During this time we break up into small discussion groups, which are gender and issue specific. Newcomer’s Orientation Every Thursday
- 8:30 – 9:00 PM
Coffeehouse This is a time for fellowship and for meeting new people. Light refreshments are served with soft drinks and coffee. This is free for everyone.
UPCOMING SERVE DAYS
PB&J Ministry Homeless Outreach- Fri, Jan. 25th at 5:00 pm at our Davis Islands Campus. All Campuses are welcome to join. This is a great opportunity to work together with “The City” college students and PB&J Ministry. The focus is building ongoing relationships with our homeless community and to share (PB&J) Prayer, Blessings, & Jesus with them.