GROW TOGETHER UPDATE | SEPT 13

Hello everyone, I hope your week is going well.  I also want to welcome those of you who are new to this weekly email.  

We launched three brand new small groups last weekend, and they each met yesterday for the first time, and had a great start.  Welcome to the leaders of those groups!!!!!!

IN THE BEGINNING: CREATION AND FALL

As I mentioned at the Leader Huddle and two weeks ago on the blog, we will be beginning the ministry year with a 4 week study on the book of Genesis.  We would love for each small group and class to join us in these studies for the next four weeks.  This study is intended to be used following this weekend’s sermon.

Here is a link to download the week 2 Group/Class Guide: In the Beginning- Abraham

Please feel free to download this and share it with your group/class or we will have some paper copies available at the Welcome Center this weekend.

GROUP TIP: HANDLING SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION DOMINATORS

Ever had someone in your group try to dominate the discussion?  If not, I’m a little jealous of you.  If so, welcome to the club.  In light of that, I came across this article that addresses “Group Dominators”.    Whether you have one or not, I would recommend taking a couple minutes to read this and think through how it might strengthen your conversations in group or class.

 

ARTICLE LINK: https://churchleaders.com/smallgroups/small-group-articles/332941-how-to-deal-with-a-discussion-dominator.html

Have a great week!

Thanks, – JG

Grow Together Update | GENESIS Week 1

Hello awesome Grow Together Leaders, I apologize that this is coming late Thursday evening, but the first study for the “In the Beginning” series is ready to go.

IN THE BEGINNING: CREATION AND FALL 

As I mentioned at the Leader Huddle and last week on the blog, we will be beginning the ministry year with a 4 week study on the book of Genesis.  We would love for each small group and class to join us in these studies for the next four weeks.  This study is intended to be used following this weekend’s sermon.

Here is a link to download the week 1 Group/Class Guide: In the Beginning- Creation and Fall

Please feel free to download this and share it with your group/class or we will have some paper copies available at the Welcome Center this weekend.

Thank you so much for joining us in this series.  I look forward to seeing what God will do with it.  Have a great weekend

JG

GT UPDATE AUG 29

Hello all, it’s that time of year again where you will begin receiving weekly emails from me regarding your Grow Together group or class.  I know it’s pretty exciting stuff, but please try your best to contain your excitement. 🙂

HUDDLE REVIEW

To get things started this year, I want to take a minute to recap some of the important information we covered in our leader huddle on August 16.  While we covered a lot of material that evening, there were two thoughts that really stuck out to me.

  • The first is that Groups and classes do not guarantee discipleship.  Yes, the goal of any group or class is discipleship (to help each other become more like Jesus), but unless we are super intentional about the way we lead our groups/classes, they can easily become about camaraderie rather than transformation.  Question: As you plan to lead your group or class this year, how are you intentionally leading the people in your group to be more like Jesus?
    • Story: I was chatting with one of our small group leaders last week and he mentioned that following the huddle he asked each person in his group to share how they have become more like Jesus in the last year as a result of being a part of the group.  It led to a great discussion in his group.  As you begin a “new year”, I would recommend a similar conversation for your group or class.  Not only could it lead to great conversation, but it would serve as a reminder to your group/class why you meet.
  • Secondly, we need to remember that Loving God and our people is primary.  This is a reminder I need often.  As a leader, there are many things we could invest our time in: organization, preparation, communication, care, study, managing the clock, etc.  While all these things are good and necessary, our primary role as leaders is to love God first and then genuinely love those we lead.  If we love God well and love our people well, the rest will fall into place. Question: What would it look like for you to love the people in your class/group well as you begin the school year? 

FALL STUDIES

As I mentioned at the Huddle, we will be beginning the school year with two back to back studies that align with our weekend series.

The first study is a 5-week study in the book of Genesis called “In the Beginning”.  This study corresponds with a curriculum change for the children and students in our church.  As of this coming weekend, our Family Ministry Team (birth-12th grade) begins a curriculum called The Gospel Project, (click on the link to explore) which is a three-year journey through the Bible.  They will be spending the entire first semester in the book of Genesis.

To help highlight this change, we will be journeying through the book of Genesis throughout September. This coming weekend (Sept. 1 &2) is an introduction to the series.  There is no study to accompany week 1 of the series.  The four weeks after that (Starting Sept. 8/9), I will be writing curriculum that will be used following each weekend in classes and groups.  That curriculum will be available here on the blog by the Thursday before each weekend.  We would love for each class and small group to join us by using this curriculum following each weekend.  So, for the sake of clarity, the sermon on the weekend of the 8th/9th would be discussed between the 9th and the 14th.

 

The second series will be starting the weekend of October 6/7.  We will also be writing curriculum for these four weeks.  This series is a Part 2 of the Tell Me More series we did last fall.  This time we are focusing on who God is and how that plays out in the trinity.  Again, we would love to have your group and class join us during these studies.

 

As I close out this week, I want to say thank you so much for making an investment in the lives of the people in your groups and classes.  Thank you for helping them become more like Jesus.  Thank you for making transformation a priority in your context.  As Bobby Harrington wrote in his book “Discipleship that Fits”, “Deep personal transformation happens in close relationships with just a few, because only a few people can earn the trust it takes to be vulnerable, open, and honest in life-on-life situations.”  Thank you for investing deeply in your “few”.

GT UPDATE MAY 3

Hello everyone and Happy May.  A few important reminders today.

SERVE TOGETHER CELEBRATION

Our Serve Together Celebration is this coming Wednesday May 9.  It’s going to be a fantastic evening.  Please RSVP by Monday at http://www.firstdecatur.org/serve/.  I would love to see you there.

 

 

THRIVE CAMPAIGN BEGINS THIS WEEKEND

Last week I sent an email with some of the important details for our Thrive Campaign, which begins this weekend.  If you haven’t had a chance to read through that, please take a few minutes so you are prepared to answer your group’s/class’s questions.

Also, in light of this campaign, I would encourage your group or class to take a few weeks and do a stewardship study along with this series.  There are several good curriculums out there, but one I would suggest is the Treasure Principle.  You can find it on Rightnow Media here: https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/Series/198062  I will admit that some of it is a bit cheesy, but the content is good.  Here is a trailer about this series.

https://player.rightnow.org/209049

If you can’t see the video, please click here.

Thank you for faithfully leading your group or class.  I am so appreciative of each of you.

-JG

GT Update | April 12

Hello everyone, I hope you are well!  What a strange week weather wise, right?

I took this picture of our backyard on Monday morning, 

 

 

 

 

 

and this one outside the church just a couple of minutes ago…

Looking at these pictures reminds me how much takes place in our lives each week.  Often by Thursday I can’t even remember what happened on Monday.  One of the cool things about being a group leader or teacher is we get the opportunity to engage people spiritually and relationally between weekends.  In light of that, thank you for caring for people and guiding them in the cold winter days of their lives and the beautiful spring days as well.

 

 

BREATHING ROOM

In case your group is looking for a next study, I wanted to recommend the one my group just started.  It is called “Breathing Room”.   Here is the description: In our attempt to get the most out of life, it’s easy to lose control of our lives. For most of us, breathing room feels more like a luxury than a necessity. In this series, Andy Stanley shows us how to create a breathing room in our schedules, our finances, and our relationships.

If you are interested, you can check it out here: https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/Series/230360  Also, please let me know and I will get a study guide for your group.

INTENTIONAL CHURCH

Lastly, I want to encourage you to join me at the Intentional Church Conference.  If you haven’t been before (and even if you have) this is a great conference for both church staff and lay leaders.  If you would like to attend this conference on Saturday April 21, please let me know and I will get you registered.

Click here to learn more: https://www.intentionalchurchconference.com

 

Thank you, JG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GT Update April 5

Hello Grow Together leaders, I hope you had an awesome Easter weekend!

While I realize that many of you were at the Leader Huddle a few weeks ago I wanted to recap some of the information we talked through to make sure we are on the same page.

As you probably know, Brian Talty came and shared with us and I am hoping to capture a follow-up from that for next week’s post.  In the mean time, here are some things I want to remind you of.

 

REST OF SCHOOL YEAR

We will not have a group study to go along with our series in April and May.  In light of that, I want to remind you that you all have access to Rightnow Media.  There are some great studies on there.  You can find them at https://www.rightnowmedia.org If you’d like some suggestions, please let me know, or if you are looking for a study outside of Rightnow Media, please let me know.  I’m here to help!!!!

 

SUMMER

Most groups take a break from their normal routine during the summer.  While I realize that some groups are able to continue to meet, for many of us, our rhythms change enough that it makes it difficult to meet on a regular basis.  Honestly, I think taking a break can be a healthy thing too.   Not only does it honor people’s schedules, but it can make them more eager to jump back in in September.

Having said that, it is very important to not completely drift away from your group during the summer.  You still need to gather.  You still need to pray for and care for one another.  So, with that in mind, I would encourage you to begin thinking about summer now.  As a group, answer questions about how often you will gather, where and when.  I would highly encourage you to put those things on your calendar now.  Otherwise, you will get to the end of August and wonder what happened to your group.  I know that might sound crazy, but that is exactly what happened with our small group last summer.

If you are looking for a guideline, I would suggest a once a month social gathering coupled with a weekly email check in.  Please don’t take that as a requirement.  Just a thought.

FALL 

You may have heard that our Family Ministry is making a shift in the fall to using a curriculum called the “Gospel Project”.  As they launch this in the fall, the church will be joining them for a 4 week series.  So, for four weeks the entire church will be studying the same thing.  Pretty cool Huh?  We will also have an adult small group/class curriculum to go along with those 4 weeks.  More to come on that.

The last 3 years, we have partnered with a number of churches in our community for a series in the fall, and used a common curriculum for small groups and classes.  We will be doing that again this fall, only it will happen in October (right after the Gospel Project series) instead of September.  For the time being we are still working on topics for this series.  More to come about that in the weeks ahead.

Well, thank you again for your taking the time to read this.  As always, please let me know if you need anything!  Have a wonderful week!

Thanks, JG

 

 

GT UPDATE MARCH 22

Hello everyone, I hope your week has gone well.  Also, I really enjoyed our Leader Huddle last Sunday. Thank you to those of you who made it out.  If you were unable to make it, we missed you.  I will recap next week what Pastor Brian had to share as well as some of the feedback and observations I walked away with from the meeting.  It was extremely enlightening and encouraging to me.

MISUNDERSTOOD: JESUS ACCORDING TO MARK | WK 6

We are in the final week of the Mark series.  My group and I have really enjoyed this study, and I trust it has been beneficial to you and your group/class as you have been preparing your hearts for Easter.

I also want to once again give a big Thank You to Laura Reimer for sharing in writing this series with me.  She has done a fantastic job again this week, and I genuinely believe it has made the experience stronger.  THANK YOU LAURA!!!

Here is a link to download the week 6 Group Guide: 

Misunderstood – Jesus According to Mark 6

Please feel free to download this and share it with your group/class, or we will have some paper copies available at the Welcome Center this weekend.

VIDEO: Here is a preview of this week’s video:

Week 6 Misunderstood: Jesus According to Mark from Jonathan Grunden on Vimeo.

Thank you again for your ongoing leadership both in your group and class, but also within the church as a whole!  Have a great day!

God Bless, -JG

GT Update March 15

Hello everyone, looking forward to seeing many of you on Sunday evening at our Leader Huddle!!!  Monicals is on the menu, and Pastor Brian will be there so please be on your best behavior. 🙂

 

 

MISUNDERSTOOD: JESUS ACCORDING TO MARK | WK 5

Thank you for joining us in the first 4 weeks of this study.

Here is a link to download the week 5 Group Guide: 

Misunderstood – Jesus According to Mark 5

Please feel free to download this and share it with your group/class, or we will have some paper copies available at the Welcome Center this weekend.

VIDEO: Here is a preview of this week’s video:

Week 5 Misunderstood: Jesus According to Mark from Jonathan Grunden on Vimeo.

Thank you so much!  Have a great week!  As always, please let me know if you need anything!

Thanks, JG

GT Update March 8

LEADER HUDDLE MAR 18

PLEASE JOINS US NEXT SUNDAY, Sunday March 18 from 6-7:30 PM in MOSAIC CAFE for our FINAL LEADER HUDDLE of the school year.  Dinner is provided.

PASTOR BRIAN will be coming to share something important with us.  PLEASE RSVP by clicking here by Wednesday March 14.

 

MISUNDERSTOOD: JESUS ACCORDING TO MARK | WK 4

Thank you for joining us in the first 3 weeks of this study.  Again this week, I want to say a big thank you to Laura Reimer, for using her incredible writing skills.  She put together this week’s study, and it’s awesome.  By the way, if you are interested in reading her blog, you can check it out here: http://www.laurareimer.net

Here is a link to download the week 4 Group Guide: Misunderstood – Jesus According to Mark 4

Please feel free to download this and share it with your group/class, or we will have some paper copies available at the Welcome Center this weekend.

VIDEO: Here is a preview of this week’s video:

Week 4 Misunderstood: Jesus According to Mark from Jonathan Grunden on Vimeo.

Thank you for faithfully caring for and leading the people in your small group or class. Have a great weekend!

-JG

 

GT UPDATE | MAR 1

Hello fabulous Grow Together Leaders,

LEADER HUDDLE MAR 18

Please join us Sunday March 18 from 6-7:30 PM in MOSAIC CAFE for our FINAL LEADER HUDDLE of the school year.  Dinner is provided.  Because this is our final huddle of this school year, please do your best to be at this meeting.  We have a lot of exciting things to talk about.

 

 

MISUNDERSTOOD: JESUS ACCORDING TO MARK | WK 3

I have really enjoyed the first 2 weeks of this study with our small group.  I hope you have too.  If you have a minute to share your group’s/class’s experience I would love to hear it. Click here to email me.

 

 

Here is a link to download the week 3 Group Guide: Misunderstood – Jesus According to Mark 3

Please feel free to download this and share it with your group/class, or we will have some paper copies available at the Welcome Center this weekend.

VIDEO: Here is a preview of this week’s video:

Week 3 Misunderstood: Jesus According to Mark from Jonathan Grunden on Vimeo.

click here if you are unable to see the video. 

Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing you at the Huddle on March 18.

Thank you, JG