GT Update Nov 16

Hey all, can you believe Thanksgiving is only a week away?  Amazing isn’t it.

LEADER HUDDLE

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I wanted to remind you that we have a LEADER HUDDLE this Sunday at 6 PM in MOSAIC CAFE.  DINNER IS PROVIDED.  This time we are going to be talking about:

HELPING YOUR GROUP GROW.

Just to be clear, this is NOT how to make your group larger.  It is how to help the people in your group/class become more like Christ.

 

 

 

 

If you are unable to make it, I will send a follow-up email the week after Thanksgiving.

SERVING OPPORTUNITY

I mentioned in my last post the possibility of a small group or class serving at Hickory Point Christian Village.  I realize that is a big step so I wanted to invite you join a group who is already serving there, so you can experience what it is like.  They will be serving again on Dec. 20.  If you would like to join them to see what it is like, please let me know.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

I will be out of the office next week, so there will be no update, but I wanted to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.  I am so grateful for each of you and the way you serve, lead and shepherd.  It is a blessing to serve with you.  I hope you enjoy a great day with family and friends.

Thank you, JG

GT Update | Nov 2

Hey Everyone, can you believe it’s November already?  Doesn’t it seem like we began the Tell Me MORE series just a couple of weeks ago?   Anyway, in our home, Nov 1 is the beginning of Christmas Music season.  I know some of you are cheering right now and others are trying to figure out how to tactfully express your disdain.  Please understand that I’m not trying to convert you to our holiday timeline, I just love Christmas music and don’t want to limit it to the 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Having said that, Thanksgiving is only a 3 weeks from today.  Being thankful is fundamental to what it means to be a Christ follower. With that in mind, I thought it would be cool if several group leaders shared ideas on how you could take time to be thankful as a small group or class?   In light of that, please share an idea in the comment section below.  That way everyone can see it and borrow it.

LEADER HUDDLE

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I wanted to remind you that we have a LEADER HUDDLE on the Sunday before Thanksgiving (Nov 19) at 6 PM in MOSAIC CAFE.  DINNER IS PROVIDED.  This time we are going to be talking about:

HELPING YOUR GROUP GROW.

Just to be clear, this is NOT how to make your group larger.  It is how to help the people in your group/class become more like Christ.

 

 

 

 

GROUP SERVE OPPORTUNITY

You may have heard me say before that the goal of our Grow Together Groups is to: 

  • Share Life
  • Pursue God
  • Invest in Others

Those first two are a little easier to do, but Investing in Others can often be challenging.  With that in mind, it is my goal to routinely bring ideas of how your group can Invest in Others.

As it turns out, right now we have a small group who serves at Hickory Point Christian Village one evening a month.  The group spends time talking with the people there, playing games, and building relationships.  That partnership has gone very well, and HPCV is asking if we might have other groups who would be interested in coming one night to serve.  The best options for them would be the 2nd or 4th Monday or Wednesday night of each month.  If you think your group would be interested in this opportunity please let me know and I would be happy to help you connect. 

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I am here to help.

Thanks, JG

GROW TOGETHER UPDATE | OCT 26

Hey all, I’m sorry there was no post last Thursday.  I apologize if you wasted hours staring at your phone or computer waiting for my email to pop up. 🙂  I was in class last week learning about leadership and administration in the church, and actually had the opportunity to tour several other churches learning about how they approach leadership and discipleship.  I am excited to share in the days ahead some of the things I learned.

LEADER HUDDLE | NOV 19 

Before we get too far into this post, I want to ask you to make it a priority to be at our LEADER HUDDLE on Sunday Nov 19 at 6 PM in MOSAIC CAFE.  DINNER IS PROVIDED.  This time we are going to be talking about:

HELPING YOUR GROUP GROW.

Just to be clear, this is NOT how to make your group larger.  It is how to help the people in your group/class become more like Christ.

 

 

 

 

THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING

Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is 4 weeks from today and Christmas is 2 months from yesterday.  I know some of you hate me right now.  However, holidays can have a funny impact on people’s schedules, and as it turns out, people’s schedules impact their group attendance.  With that in mind, please talk to your group now about a holiday rhythm.  Some groups continue to meet throughout November and December and only miss a week or two.  Others meet right up until Thanksgiving and then try to gather socially during December.

Much like summer, we often forget how full our schedule can be going into the end of November and December with family and business parties, school concerts, and last minute shopping.  Having a plan now can help you figure out how to plan your group study between now and the end of the year.  Or you can ignore this advice, but if you complain to me in December about how nobody is able to make it to your group, I’m going to say “I told you so”. 🙂

SPEAKING OF STUDIES

Studying God’s word is fundamental to what we are doing in our groups. In light of that, I know that I’ve mentioned this study before, but my small group right now is going through the Tony Evans study on the books of 1st, 2nd and 3rd John.  We are only 2 weeks in, but if you are looking for a study, I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

Again, I want to say how grateful I am for each of you.  You are not only group organizers or conversations leaders or providers of delicious snacks, you are DISCIPLERS.  Thank you for taking that role seriously!

Thanks, JG

GROW TOGETHER UPDATE OCT 12

TELL ME MORE ABOUT TELL ME MORE

I want to say a big thank you to those of you who have taken the time to tell me more about your experience with TELL ME MORE.  If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts so we can continue to improve studies like this in the future.

Share your feedback here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YNJKW3Q

NEXT STUDY IDEA

2 weeks ago I shared several study ideas with you. However I came across a study today that I thought would be an excellent study as well.  If you haven’t already picked a next study for your class or group, please check out: The books of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John by Tony Evans. Here’s the trailer:

The 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Books of John – Trailer from RightNow Media on Vimeo.
If you are unable to see the video, please click here.

ENCOURAGEMENT

I once heard someone say “Assume that everyone you see today needs encouragement.”  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we spent more time encouraging one another in what is right and good?  So, I want to leave you with that assignment today.  Assume that your co-worker, spouse, child, parent, grandparent, boss, teacher, student, small group member, neighbor, cashier, coach, client, or random stranger needs encouragement today.  Let me know how it goes.

By the way, you are all amazing, and God is using you.  Keep up the good work.

Thanks, JG

Grow Together Update Sept 28

Hey all, this week’s post is quite long, so I thought we’d kick it off with a brief video.  Please take a minute to check this out.

Untitled from Jonathan Grunden on Vimeo.

If you are unable to see the video, please click here

GROUP SERVE OPPORTUNITY

The WSOY Community Food Drive is taking place next Friday, Oct. 6.  The next morning (Oct. 7) we will be sorting food donations at Catholic Charities from 9-11 am.  This is a great opportunity for your group/class to serve together.  If you would like to sort food with us, please email me and let me know by next Thursday.

MEETING UP 

In the next few weeks, I want to  meet up with each of you for coffee or pop (soda) to talk about what’s going on in the life of your group.  The purpose of these gathering is simply to check in, hear how things are going and answer any question you might have about your group or class.  Click here to email me and let me know some times that might work for you to connect.

TELL ME MORE WEEK 4

We are in the final week of the Tell Me MORE series.  This weekend Pastor Brian is concluding the Tell Me MORE series, by answering the question “How Do I Respond to a Broken Relationship?”  Here is the video for week 4.

If you are unable to see the video, please click here: https://vimeo.com/232714438

NEXT STEPS

Now that we are wrapping up the Tell Me MORE series, it’s time to figure out what your group will study next.  As a quick note, several groups, including mine, take a week off after finishing a study and use that week to gather socially and build relationship.   Please don’t feel like you have to do that, but occasionally it is valuable to take a break from study and to use a group time to get to know one another better.

As you think about what to study next…

I want to remind you that you have Rightnow Media at your disposal.  There are literally hundreds of great studies on Rightnow Media.  If you don’t already have a free account you can create one by clicking here.  Also, if you need a leader guide for any study, please let me know.  We have an account to purchase those so they can be shared with other groups down the road.

 

STUDY PATHWAYS

As I mentioned in our August Leader Huddle, I wanted to send along some “Study Pathways” this year.  In other words, instead of randomly choosing one study after another, I thought these collections of studies might help you focus your growth for the year.  Below are 4 pathways and links to each of the studies in those pathways. 

Pathway 1: Tried and True These are some of the most popular studies with groups in our church.

Pathway 2: Marriage and Family

Pathway 3: Books of the Bible Studies

Pathway 4: Long Intentional Study

Please let me know what your group is interested in and I will help you get the resources.

ASK GREAT QUESTIONS

I know this post is much longer than normal, but I also wanted to leave you today with some encouragement about leading great small group discussions.  This is a quick post called “Ask Great Questions” from a book called “The Essential Guide for Small Group Leaders

Ask Great Questions

There’s nothing worse than a dud of a discussion.  How do you prevent awkward silence?   It’s all about the preparation and attitude.  Here are some tips for asking great discussion questions:

  1. Get Familiar with the Study or Discussion Guide: Read the questions out loud before the group meets.  As you read them, consider how you would answer them.  If they don’t make sense to you or seem too simple, fix the questions so they will work in your group.  Adapting and rewording questions is a discussion-saver!
  2. Ask Open-Ended Questions: If any question can be answered with “yes,” or “no” or a single word, don’t ask it.  If it can’t be avoided, add, “Why did you answer that way?”
  3. It’s all about the “What,” “So What, and “Now What.”:  What is the study all about? So what- why is this important?  Now what do we do with it?  A good discussion works through all three of those questions. 
  4. Avoid Questions that fish for “Just the Right Answer.”  Yes, there are right and wrong answers, but if the group members sense there is just one answer very few people will speak up out of fear of being wrong.
  5. Don’t celebrate the “right answer”: This is the same as number 4 except you throw a party when you hear the answer you want.  Celebrate the right answer and you will shut down future discussion.
  6. Don’t Answer Your Own Questions: If no one responds to a question, then ask a follow-up, “Did that question make sense?” Silence might be an indicator that group members are thinking, or it might be an indicator that the question needs to be reworded. Asking this follow-up question will help you know which is true.
  7. Don’t Judge Someone’s Answer: You might hear some doozies, but resist the urge to correct others.  Instead ask follow-up questions to seek more replies, like “Where do you see that in Scripture?” or “What do the rest of you think about that?”

I hope this stirs up some ideas on how we can each ask better questions in our groups.
Thanks again JG

Grow Together Update | Sept 21

Hello Grow Together Leaders, I wanted to say thank you for all the feedback about your small groups and classes over the last couple weeks.  It’s been great to hear about the discussions you’ve had.  Please keep them coming.

LEADER HUDDLE POSTPONED

I sent an email out earlier today, but the leader huddle we were supposed to have this coming Sunday has been postponed.  Unfortunately not very many people were able to make it.

Please mark your calendar now for our next huddle on Sunday Nov. 19 at 6 PM

 

COFFEE TIME 

In light of our leader huddle being cancelled, I wanted to extend an opportunity to meet up with each of you for coffee or pop (soda) to talk about what’s going on in the life of your group.  The purpose of these gathering is simply to check in, hear how things are going and answer any question you might have about your group or class.  Please email me and let me know some times that might work for you to connect.

TELL ME MORE WEEK 3

This weekend Pastor Wayne is continuing the Tell Me MORE series, by answering the question “Why Are Christians Hypocrites?”  As a reminder each week’s study is intended to be used following the sermon.  In other words, please plan to do week three of the study between Sept. 24-30.

 

VIDEOS

There is a brief video to go along with each week’s study.  Week Three’s video features our very own Brian Talty.  You can find all four videos online at www.tellmemore.church/videos.

As a preview, here is the week three video:


If you are unable to see the video, please click here.

Thank you again for faithfully leading your group or class.  Please let me know if you have any questions.
God Bless, JG

 

Grow Together Update | Sept 14

Hello Grow Together Leaders, I hope your first week of the Tell Me MORE series went well.  I have heard great things from a number of leaders and received some very thought-provoking questions.   Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

TELL ME MORE WEEK 2

This weekend Pastor Brian is continuing the Tell Me MORE series, by answering the question “Why Do People Do Bad Things?”  As a reminder each week’s study is intended to be used following the sermon.  In other words, please plan to do week two of the study between Sept. 17-23.

 

VIDEOS

There is a brief video to go along with each week’s study.  Week Two’s video features Greg Taylor, the Senior Pastor at First Christian Church in Clinton.  You can find all four videos online at www.tellmemore.church/videos.

As a preview, here is the week two video:

If you are unable to see the video, please click here.

LEADER HUDDLE

Our next Leader Huddle is next Sunday (Sept. 24) at 6 PM in Mosaic Cafe.  Please plan to be at this huddle.  I would love to hear your feedback on the Tell Me MORE study.  Plus we will be doing some training and discussing next steps for your group.

 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE

I think small groups and classes are awesome, and I’m assuming you do too since you are in one. So, I thought it would be cool to use this coming week to get the word out about Small Groups at First Christian.  One of the best ways to do that is social media.  During your group or class this week I would encourage you to take a picture of your group and post it online with a comment about how much you love your group.  In fact, let’s make it interesting.  When you post your picture,  tag me and I will put your name in a hat and do a drawing for a fun prize.

Thanks again, JG

 

GROW TOGETHER UPDATE | SEPT 7

Hello Grow Together Leaders, yes the weekly Leader Blog is back (let the celebration begin).  If you are a new leader this year, we want to welcome you.  Thanks for stepping in and helping the people in your groups become more like Jesus.

Each week I will write a post with news, encouragement, important updates, etc.  So, let’s get right to it for this week.

TELL ME MORE

This weekend Pastor Wayne is kicking of the Tell Me MORE series, by answering the question “What Happens After I Die?”  As a reminder each week’s study is intended to be used following the sermon.  In other words, please plan to do week one of the study between Sept. 10-16. Hopefully you’ve already picked up study guides for your group.  If not, there will be some available at the Welcome Center this weekend.  Please stop by and grab enough for your group.

VIDEOS

There is a brief video to go along with each week’s study.  Week One’s video features our very own Wayne Kent.  You can find all four videos online at www.tellmemore.church/videos. As you read through the study guide, you will see where those fit.  Please think through how you will show those to your group (laptop, iPad, etc.)

As a preview, here is the week one video:

If you are unable to see the video, please click here.

QUESTIONS

I am here to serve and help any way I can.  I know there are often questions or concerns in the beginning of the year, and I would love to help you navigate those.  Please don’t hesitate to email me with any questions.  I promise to get back to you quickly.

Thanks again for leading.  I am really looking forward to this year!

JG

Grow Together Update | May 18

THE BLOCK

Yesterday I had the privilege of walking through the Block with Pastor BJ and planting some fruit trees in his neighbors’ yards.   I’m a bit ashamed to admit that it was really my first time doing any sort of work in the Block neighborhood.  There have been many times my family and I have wanted to serve, but each time inevitably our calendar is full of various other activities and responsibilities.  I’m sure some of you know how that goes.

As we walked around I was overwhelmed by the sense of community in the Block.  BJ couldn’t take more than a few steps without a neighbor calling out to say hello.  Honestly, it was refreshing, and yet so very different than my neighborhood where people do their very best to keep to themselves.  As I arrived at home, I was reminded that I can’t allow myself to be content living such an isolated and busy life that I miss opportunities to connect with and bless others.

All that to say that I am so grateful to be a part of a church that cares for the people in our community.  I am so grateful that Pastor BJ and his family and so many others are ministering to and with the people living in the Block neighborhood.  But, I don’t want to sit back and watch it happen.  I want to be a part of it, even in small ways.  I would also love to encourage you to do the same.  

SERVING LUNCH

Pastor BJ and Amanda are still looking for small groups to provide lunch on July 1, August 5, September 2, October 7, and November 4 and they are also having a block party on Friday, July 14 from 5:30-7.  If your group would be willing to take one of these dates, please email me and let me know soon.  

I know I mentioned this opportunity before and a few groups jumped on it, but I wanted to throw it out again because I think it is a great way for our groups to be outwardly focused and yet partner with the work of our church.  It is also an opportunity to stay connected with your group this summer.

I would love to see our groups cover all 6 of these dates.  If you have questions, please let me know.  Thanks, JG

 

 

Grow Together Update | May 11

Hello Grow Together Leaders, it was great to see many of you at the Serve Together Celebration on Monday evening.  Whether you were able to make it or not, I just want to take a minute to say thank you for the time and energy you have invested over the last year in leading your groups and classes.  I know that leading and teaching are often thankless jobs and I want you to know that I appreciate everything you do.

 

SUMMER IDEAS

I realize that some groups will continue to meet throughout the summer while others will take a break.

For those taking a break, please be intentional about putting a date on the calendar now to “re-start” your group in fall.  That way everyone will have the same expectation.  Also, I would highly encourage you to try and gather with your group at least 3 times between now and Labor Day for the purpose of having fun together.  It is important to the health of your group for you to stay connected.   Also, please remember that people’s lives don’t stop.  Especially because you aren’t meeting regularly, please be intentional about staying in touch with each other’s lives and praying for one another.

For those continuing to meet, please find some time to take a brief break with your group.  Even a couple weeks off or a change up of rhythm can be important to keeping the group fresh and the experience meaningful.   Too much routine can be a bad thing.  If nothing else, take a break from leading/teaching for a couple weeks and have someone else do it.  Not only will it be good for your group, but they might appreciate you more. 🙂

FALL SERIES

As with the last 2 years, we will be doing a series right after Labor day along with other churches in the Decatur Area.  We are very excited about this again.  This series will include small group/class curriculum that we would love for your group to join us in.  In the coming weeks, I will be in contact about a summer huddle where we will talk about what all of this will look like.  Please let me know if you have questions or suggestions for this series.

 

Thanks again, JG