Grow Together Weekly Update | Dec 17

Merry Christmas

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 1.54.23 PMOn behalf of my family I want to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas. We are blessed to be a part of the First Christian family and to have the opportunity to serve with each of you.  We hope you have a great Christmas!



Common Threads [January Series]

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 12.43.40 PMAs I’ve mentioned over the last several weeks, we have a new series beginning the weekend of Jan 9/10.  In this series, we will examine five common threads that run through our prayer lives. Each week, we will look at a biblical perspective and prayer perspective on one of five common themes people tend to ask for prayer for [relationships, health, direction, spirituality, and finances].

As a part of this series, I am creating a Grow Together study designed for your group or class to use following each week’s sermon.  I would love it if every group would participate in this study.  

There will be a downloadable discussion guide for each week of the study.  I will have all of those posted on line soon. But in the mean time, to give you a perspective on what these will look like, you can download the 1st week’s guide here: Common Threads – Small Group Study – Week 1

I will also have paper copies available if you would prefer not to download.

Adding People to Your Group???

Starting the weekend of Dec 26/27, we will be inviting the congregation to join a small group during this 5 week study.  Our hope is that these people will stick in their groups far beyond the 5 weeks.  Ideally, we would love to add people to your existing group.  If you are interested in having people join your group, please email me at and let me know.

Thank You

ThankYou-71Finally, thank you for making a difference in the lives of the people in your groups and classes.  Thank you for walking with them through the storms they face, and praying for them along the way. Thank you for helping them become more like Christ.  Thank you for challenging them to grow and explore in a deeper way who God made them to be.  Thank you for reflecting God’s love, grace, and kindness.  Thank you for leading with me!  Have a great Christmas!



keep-calm-its-22-days-until-christmas-2Hello Grow Together leaders!  Welcome back from Thanksgiving.  I hope you were able to enjoy some quality time with family and friends over the last couple weeks, while also enjoying copious amounts of food.  As hard as it is to believe we are now only 18 days away from Christmas (or 17 or 16 depending on when you read this).






Unto-Us-Homepage-Slide-890x406Over the next three weeks, starting last weekend, there will be a resource in the program (bulletin) to help our congregation prepare for Christmas.  As you lead your classes and small groups, I would recommend checking this out to see if you would like to use one of these thoughts as a conversation starter for your group.  If you would like to sign up for a digital version of this resource, please TEXT FIRSTDECATUR TO 24587 or click here to sign up for the email.


Last time we talked about the importance of taking a break during the holiday season.  While taking a break from meeting is extremely important to honoring the rhythm of life during the holidays, please make sure to stay connected to the people in your small group or class.  The holidays, while often joyful, can also be a season of financial and relational stress.  As a shepherd and leader in people’s lives, please continue to communicate with and care for your group even when you aren’t meeting for a few weeks.


snow1As I mentioned before, we are beginning a five week series January 8/9 focused on five areas of life that people tend to pray about [Relationships, Health, Direction, Spirituality, and  Finances]  This series will be called Common Threads.  Each week we will look at a Biblical Perspective and a Prayer Perspective for one of the above topics.

Due to the feedback that people really enjoyed groups/classes being in sync with the weekend sermons during the Room for Doubt series, we are designing a study to follow each weekend of this series. We would love every group and class to consider joining us during this series.  More information to come about this next week.


calendarThere are a few opportunities coming up in the next couple weeks, that I wanted to make sure you were aware of.  These are great events to attend on your own, with a group of friends or with your small group or class.



Christmas-Eve-2015-Homepage-Slide-890x4061Tickets will be available again this weekend for Christmas Eve.  Please make sure to pick up the tickets that you need for you and your family to help us make sure we have room for everyone who would like to come.

Womens-Christmas-2015-Homepage-Slide-890x4061The Women’s Ministry Christmas Event is Sunday December 13 at 5 pm.  Please RSVP by December 9 to or 217.875.3350.  Please click here for more information. 


Carols-For-Advent-Homepage-Slide-890x406-2The Carols for Advent event will be Sunday December 20 from 5-6 pm.  Consider coming together with your class or group. Click here for more information about this event.


Thank you again for leading and making a significant investment in the lives of the people in your group or class.  As always, please don’t hesitate to call or email me at with any questions.

Thank you, JG