Grow Together Update | January 19

Hello awesome Grow Together Leaders, I hope your week has been well.


open-groupAs a part of the Matthew series, we will be inviting people in the congregation to get involved in small groups.  Our hope is to form some new groups, but also to place people in existing groups.  I realize that not every group is ready for new members, but if your group would be interested in welcoming new members, please click here to email me and let me know.



francis-recalibrateIf you heard Pastor Wayne’s State of the Church message two weeks ago, you know that as a church we are in a season of prayer and evaluation.  If you happened to miss that message you can watch it online here.   Over the last few weeks we have been praying as a staff for God’s direction and we spent time this week prayerfully doing some strategic planning.  We are also inviting the congregation to join us in a week of prayer Feb. 6-10. More details to come on that.

However as I was chatting with a friend today, I was reminded that this is something we can each do within the context of our small groups and classes.  I would ask you to consider taking time in the next couple weeks to pray with your small group or class for our church, our leaders, and God’s direction in the coming year.  

As the church is in a season of recalibration, it may also be a good time to recalibrate your group or class.  Community has a funny way of veering of course slowly over time.  If your group has been meeting for a while, or you just sense that it might be time to recommit yourself to specific goals or practices, I would encourage you to take some time to discuss with your group what might need to change or be modified so that you can reach the ultimate goal of being more like Jesus because of the time you spend together.


devoted-together-memeThis weekend Pastor Brian will be preaching part 2 of the Devoted Together series.  We will be talking about what it means to be Devoted to Jesus as we worship together. Being in a small group or class is a huge part of being in a community who is Devoted Together.  I wanted to share with you the insert that will be in the program this weekend.  See below.  We will be specifically talking about the bottom section called “Worship”.  As you think about your class or group time this coming week, I would encourage you to spend a few minutes talking about what this means for each individual as well as your group/class.


Thank you again for faithfully leading and shepherding the people God has entrusted to you.  Please let me know if you need anything.

God Bless, JG

Grow Together Update | Jan 12

Hello awesome Grow Together Leaders,


hqdefaultI have had a lot of questions about the upcoming Matthew series, so I wanted to take a minute to bring some clarity.  Here is what I know:



  • The Matthew series will begin the weekend of Feb 11/12 and run through Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 2/3).   In total that is 30 weeks.
  • For the most part we will be taking a straight walk through Matthew, except around Easter.  We will take a break from the flow of Matthew to line up the events of Holy Week (Matthew 21:1-28:15) with Holy Week (April 9-16).  We have some cool things planned that week.  More to come on that.
  • Once Holy week is over we will jump back into Matthew 9, where we leave off on April 2.
  • For the first 6 weeks of the Matthew series (at a minimum) I will be creating a group study guide that will follow each weekend’s sermon.  I would love for as many groups and classes as possible to utilize the study guides for those 6 weeks (Feb 12 – March 25).
  • One of the reasons I am doing that is because I think it is very healthy for our people to use group and class time to build on what they are learning about each weekend.  I also am planning to use these studies to help new small groups get started.  If you know someone who is not in a group, but should be, please encourage them to sign up starting the weekend of Jan 28.
  • A few of you have expressed that you already had plans for that period of time, and that is 100% OK.  Please go ahead and use those plans.  For people in your group or class who would still like to utilize these studies, they will be available to use for individual study.
  • Studies will be available to leaders late in the week before they are taught that weekend. That way, you will have a couple of days to think through them even if your group meets on Sunday afternoon or evening.
  • If these 6 weeks of studies go well and people seem interested I will continue to make these available throughout the 30 weeks.

Hopefully this helps bring clarity.  If you have any questions, please click here to email me.


GT Invite.001Also, please mark your calendar for Sunday Feb. 26 at 6 pm. That will be our next Grow Together Huddle, and I would love to see as many of you as possible so we can do an evaluation of the ministry and talk about next steps for groups and classes.



Well, I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to seeing you this weekend sometime. Thank you for your leadership of your group, and please don’t ever hesitate to contact me with any concerns or questions.

– JG



happy-new-year-images-1Happy New Year! I hope you were able to enjoy the last few weeks and create lasting memories with your family and friends.  As we look forward to what this year holds and as your small groups and classes kick off again, I wanted share part of an article I wrote for our newsletter.  Please check this out and think about how this might fit in your group/class setting.

The New Year provides an opportunity to reset practices and habits in our lives that aren’t the way we want them to be, or know they should be.  It’s an opportunity to re-take control of our calendar, our diet, our spending, our relationships, and the list goes on.  So, what’s on your list?  What would you like to be different in 2017?
As we recommit to eating better, exercising more, and spending less, this time of year is also a great time to reconsider the time we spend reading the Bible.  Reading the Bible is not only something we should do in order to grow, it is a way we can intimately connect with God and understand his desires for our lives.  Personally, my favorite Bible reading resource is YouVersion, which can be found on the web at Creating an account is simple, and once you’ve created an account, you have access to dozens of versions of the Bible as well as personalized reading plans, all for free. 
As you think about your goals for 2017, I would encourage you to begin a YouVersion reading plan today. If you’re interested in reading the whole Bible, there are a number of plans that will help you read straight through the Bible or read it in the order it was written.  Or, if you’d like to start smaller, there are reading plans accompanied by devotionals on a variety of topics including: marriage, prayer, doubt, anxiety, men’s topics, women’s topics, etc.  There are also apps available so you can read on your phone, tablet, or computer.
As you think about your group or class, how could you engage in a reading plan together over the next couple weeks, month, or year?  If you decide to go this route, I would love to hear how it works for your group.


whats-next2As you know, a couple times a year we like to sync up what is happening on the weekends with our small groups and classes.  We believe this is a great way to help build on and apply what is being discussed each weekend.  Last fall we worked through the Finding Your Way Back to God curriculum.  This Winter and Spring we will be spending 25 weeks or more studying the book of Matthew.  This will begin the weekend of Feb 11/12 and carry us through the school year into the summer.
It is my hope to add people to groups, and launch new small groups for the beginning of this study.  If you are looking to add a few people to your group, please let me know. 
As a result, I will also be creating study guides for groups and classes that go along with these weeks of the series.  I would love it if your group would spend a few weeks in the beginning of this series journeying with us.  More to come on that.


question-mark15As a part of the Devoted Together series, Pastor Wayne has asked me to preach the last weekend of January with a focus on Grow Together and Serve Together groups.   I am both excited and terrified about this experience and would appreciate your prayers.  As I prepare for this sermon, I would love to hear from you about why being in a group/class has mattered to your life and spiritual journey.  If you would be willing to share with me, please click here and email me your answer.


If your group is looking for a new study to get you going until the Matthew study begins in February, I would like to suggest the “Watch Your Mouth” series.  You can check it out here.
If you are interested in this study, you can find it on Rightnow Media here: