COMMUNITY GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of January 23, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
Things to Remember:
Drinks when people arrive
Goals for the Evening:
Continue to build relationships
Start talking about plans for your social
Talk about service project options
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 your CG Pastor, turn it in by mail, or drop it off at the office or Welcome Booth on your campus by Sun, Jan 30.
⇨ SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT WEEK #2
Remember we’re on week #2 with your group. People are still acclimating, especially any new people. Lead your group through the questions according to how well everyone knows each other. There are plenty of questions in this guide 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. Know that if you do this each week the people in your group will grow! Remember you don’t need to cover all questions. Great conversation is far more important than covering all the questions.
⇨ PRAYER NOTE
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. And NEVER make someone pray. Group prayer is similar to public speaking, which is the #1 fear people have. More than once we’ve had people tell us they quit Life Groups because a well-intentioned person required everyone to pray.
Submit your group’s attendance online from the email sent to you on the day of your group meeting.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Depending on time, you may only want to answer one or two questions in this section. It is important to ask #3 this week, especially if you didn’t ask it last week. Have fun with first one below. It’s meant to be light-hearted and engaging for everyone.
Discussion Tip: Go around the circle and have everyone answer, or open it up to the group and ask someone who doesn’t talk much to answer. Remember, giving the group time limits helps keep one person from dominating the discussion.
Would you rather …
Good question to have everyone answer.
Which of the two points in the sermon, “He stores our tears” and “He wipes our tears away” in the message this weekend would be most surprising to the average person?
Good question to have everyone answer. This question may lead into the “Digging Deeper” section.
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?
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.
Discussion Reminder: If you are hearing from everyone in your group, chances are you won’t have the time to discuss every question. You may start with one that catches your attention so you don’t run out of time. For example, it’s not odd to start with question #2, then go to #3 and if you have time come back to #1.
1 Peter 1:6-7 – 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Its tests how genuine your faith is.
Additional Questions: We often focus on the big obvious challenges. But there are also subtle small ways we can be challenged and where our faith (or commitment to Jesus) can be revealed. What might be some examples of this at work, home, social life? See 2 Timothy 2:14-16, 22-26 to help understand the small but significant tests.
2 Corinthians 1:3-6 – 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
God comforts us and will use similar situations to comfort others.
Which of the Scriptures above are the most encouraging to you and why? Which one is most challenging?
Good one to hear from everyone. Some may say there are none that they feel challenged by, rather they are all encouraging.
If you were facing a great difficulty or challenge, what would you want someone to do (or not do) in their attempt to comfort or help you?
Many may have the same answer, but good to see what the group says.
John 14:25-27 – 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
God’s spirit will guide you.
Philippians 4:6-7 – 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Prayer (could use this passage to refer to when talking about prayer at the end of your meeting).
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
God’s spirit & people.
Additional Verses: 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 15:33
Can you think of any examples of how these resources have helped you? Is there one you tend to forget more than the others?
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.
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 Group Prayer” (below) is crucial. In most cases it’s also a good reminder for returning groups. More than once, we’ve had people tell us they quit a Community Group or didn’t join a group because they had to pray out loud.
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?
TIPS ON GROUP PRAYER
Prayer is an important part of being in Community Group. Over the years we’ve found that group prayer goes better when we follow three simple guidelines.
When discussing – use the proactive leadership style – clear direction, yet flexible
Small groups thrive on participation! The purpose of this Covenant is to help you to discuss and clarify your group’s goals, expectations, and commitments.
COMMUNITY GROUPS: THEIR PURPOSE
Community Groups exist to promote spiritual maturity and personal growth through meaningful Christian relationships and study of God’s Word (Romans 8:29 & Hebrews 10:24, 25). We’ll do this by focusing on four primary activities:
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.
Our goal is to interact interpersonally on the topic and how we can practically follow Christ, not to answer all the questions.
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.
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 our community (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.
FIVE MARKS OF A HEALTHY GROUP
For our group to be healthy, we need to…
Make spiritual growth our number one priority (Romans 8:29). ⇒ Tangents – they are okay sometimes, but sometimes we need to be refocused. We’ll need to keep spiritual growth our focus and stay on topic.
Accept one another (Romans 15:7). ⇒ We will have different preferences.
Take care of one another (John 13:34).
⇒ When crisis happens we’re there to help with support, prayer, encouragement, listening, meals etc.
Treat each other with respect (Ephesians 4:25-5:2).
⇒ Listening to one another, if one’s talking let’s all listen, nothing worse than two conversations going on at once.
⇒ Our goal is to listen, not give advice. (Advice is given when asked for) We are not here to judge or fix – unless someone asks. An example of giving advice is by saying, “Well this is what I think you should do.” On the other hand, that doesn’t mean we can’t question what is said or what someone is doing.
⇒ Some of us have the gift of gab, also known as a dominator – be careful, I as a leader might have to help you.
⇒ Be careful of gossip prayers. For example, “we need to pray for (person’s name) because they are doing this …”
⇒ No put-downs.
⇒ What is said here, stays here – of course we never promise confidentiality if something shared would be harmful to yourself or someone else and/or if I, as the leader, need to seek counsel on how to respond to an issue in the group.
Keep our commitments to the group (Psalm 15:1-2, 4b).
⇒ Please give us a call if you can’t make it to Life Group so we know what’s going on and how to pray for you.
GUIDELINES & COMMITMENT