It’s hard to believe that Christmas was two months ago already, and we only have twelve weeks until the end of school.  The dreary days of winter are almost over and soon summer will be sneaking up on us.  As you prepare for your group or class this week, please keep this in mind, and make the most of these last few months before people slip into their summer routines.

COFFEE or whatever

coffee-and-breakfast1As I mentioned last week…it is my personal goal between now and the end of March to connect with each of you for coffee or breakfast or lunch or dinner or whatever.  I really just want to spend some time hearing what God is doing in your group, helping talk through any issues you are facing and learn what I can do better to serve you.  If you would please click this link EMAIL JONATHAN HERE and send me two times that might work for you, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you to those of you who have already responded.


I know that many of you are always on the hunt for great curriculum for your class or group.  I mentioned a few group studies in my post 3 weeks ago. But from time to time, I want to highlight things as I come across them.  Here is one I would highly recommend.


Timothy Keller | The Prodigal God

In this six-session small group Bible study DVD, pastor and bestselling author Timothy Keller uses one of Jesus’ best-loved parables – the Prodigal Son – to illustrate the depth of God’s love and how his grace extends into some very unexpected places.

Click here for more information

If you are interested in this study, we have the DVD, and I would be happy to help you order the discussion books.  They are under $8 a piece.





Last week, Pastor Wayne shared this article with me:

What Business Can Learn from NBA Champions The Golden State Warriors

I would highly encourage you to take a quick read through.  As I read this article I thought of many things: my workplace, my family, the time I spend with people at church, but most of all I thought about what we each do.

Now I realize that having fun, caring for each other, and cooperation are not the only keys to success.  These only work in a setting where the players are highly disciplined and skilled, but I think we can glean some thoughts from this article that pertain to the health and success of our groups and classes.

  1. HAVE FUN – I just spent time 2 weeks ago talking about this so I won’t belabor the point, but I deeply believe that fun is key to spiritual growth.
  2. CARE FOR EACH OTHER – I suspect that most of us are doing a great job caring for the people in our group/class, but how is your group doing at caring for one another? According to the article, “deeper connections among co-workers can translate into greater devotion to the organization’s mission.”  The mission of our groups and classes is that people would be more like Jesus.   I believe that if we can help our group members care better for one another, all involved will ultimately be more like Jesus.  So, what is one way this week you could help your group members care better for each other?
  3. COOPERATION IS KEY – “Individual unselfishness.” I love this phrase because that is a beautiful way of describing what community should look like.  We all bring talents and insights to our settings.  When our group or class is working at it’s best, it isn’t about any one person in the group.  It is about each person bringing what God has given them, and looking for ways to use those gifts and abilities to build up one another.  When we are cooperating, not only should we be building up each other, but those on the outside should notice something different about us.  I think Jesus said something about that: John 13:34-35


As you read the article, was there anything that stood out to you?  I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks, JG



Happy Thursday Grow Together Leaders, I hope your week has gone well. I wanted to start off this week by saying Thank You.  It is a blessing to serve alongside each of you.  Thank you for investing yourselves in the lives and spiritual journeys of others. It is not always an easy task, but it is an important one.


Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 3.33.07 PMI am sure many of you are receiving the twice a week sacred readings during the Revealed series.  However, if you aren’t I would highly recommend utilizing these.  I would also recommend encouraging your group/class to do the same and then briefly sharing your insights with each other when you gather. If you would like to sign up, you can text FIRSTDECATUR to 24587 or follow this link to sign up for the email version: BIBLE STUDY SIGN UP.

COFFEE or whatever

coffee-and-breakfast1One of my favorite parts of being a Discipleship Pastor is the opportunity to connect with small group leaders and teachers and hear about what’s going on in your group/class.  It is my personal goal between now and the end of March to connect with each of you for coffee or breakfast or lunch or dinner or whatever.  I really just want to spend some time hearing what God is doing in your group, helping talk through any issues you are facing and learn what I can do better to serve you.  If you would please click this link EMAIL JONATHAN HERE and send me two times that might work for you, I would greatly appreciate it.


As I pray this week for your class or group, I would love to know if there are any specific ways I can pray.  If there is something specific about your group I can pray for, please click on this link Prayer for my group and let me know.

Thank you again for everything you do.  I look forward to connecting soon.

Thanks, JG



postponed leader huddle.001Unfortunately I picked a weekend when many of you are away or unavailable.  In attempt to have a huddle when a greater number can attend, I am postponing this weekend’s leader huddle.  More information to come soon.





As I’ve said before, the goal of our groups and classes is that the people in them would be more like Jesus because of the time we spend together and the relationship we have with them.  If that is true, than my next questions may seem counter-intuitive, but here we go:

How fun is your group/class?

When is the last time your class/group had fun together?

Seriously, take a minute to think about those questions.

I’m not suggesting at all that discipleship is not a serious subject.  Believe me, I take the spiritual development of our congregation very seriously.

However I also believe that:

  • fun over time leads to deeper connection
  • deeper connection with one another leads to greater trust and vulnerability
  • greater trust and vulnerability leads to more frequent opportunities for conversation and life moments that can lead to spiritual movement.

I am not saying that fun always leads to spiritual growth.  I’m certain that we can all think of a million examples of fun leading away from spiritual health.  However, I also think that sometimes we forget that fun can play an important role in the way we connect with people.  So, let me ask you again: How fun is your group/class?  

More importantly, how can you use fun this week to build the connection in your group/class, so that you can in turn create opportunities to help one another become even more like Jesus?  [please share your idea in the comments section]

Thanks so much!  Have a great week! JG


Happy February Grow Together Leaders!!!


LH.001Just a reminder that our next Grow Together Leader Huddle is a week from Sunday: Valentine’s Day | Feb. 14 | 12:30 -1:45 PM in Mosaic Cafe.  Lunch is included.




Unfortunately I have only heard from 7 people.  Wether you are coming or not, please click here to email me your RSVP.  Your RSVP is important to help me plan.  



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Below is week 5 of the Common Threads Group curriculum.  Thank you so much for joining us in this series.


Common Threads – Small Group Study – Week 5

As with the last few weeks, copies will be available at the Welcome Center, or you can feel free to print them on your own or email them to your group in advance.



Before we get into next studies, I wanted to share one practice that my group has adopted.  Basically, the week after we finish a study, we just take a week to meet, hang out, eat some food, and possibly play a game or two.  While it doesn’t break our rhythm of meeting, I think it creates a necessary break and creates space for us to connect in a different way.  On those weeks we ask each person in the group to bring a snack to share.  I came across this website called Perfect Potluck, which has helped us make sure we don’t end up with a table full of cookies. 🙂  If you are interested in using that, here is the site:

Also, for those of you who may be trying to arrange meals for a family in your group who might need them, this is a great site to help organize that:

For those of you who are just finishing up the Common Threads study or just starting to think about your next small group study, I wanted to send a few ideas your way.


I know I recommended this one before, but this is a great one if your group has not gone through it.


This one is a great study through the book of Philippians


This one is about not just being a fan of Jesus, but making a full heartedly commitment to him and following him.

If you are interested in any of these studies or others, please let me know and I will be happy to get you the leader resources.



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Just a reminder that Equip classes begin Feb. 10 (this coming Wednesday).  This weekend we will be highlighting Love and Respect, but there are a variety of classes available. For more information, please check out the website here:

If someone in your group is interested in signing up, they can register online here: Equip Registration Form. Paper registration will be available this weekend as well. Registration closes on Monday Feb. 8.




Thank you again for leading so well!  Talk to you soon. JG