Category Archives: Small Groups

GT Update | Dec 7

Hello all, as promised this week’s post is a follow up on the Huddle we had a few weeks ago.  Honestly, the things we talked about that evening have been stirring in my mind for the last few weeks.  I am excited to implement them in my group.  If you were there, hopefully this will be a good reminder.  If you were unable to make it that evening, please read through and let me know if you have questions.

STARTING OUT

LEADER HUDDLE NOV 19.002

As we ate dinner, each table answered these questions.  While it’s probably not as much fun on your own, it is worthwhile to think through your win, struggle and greatest hope for your group or class.  Thinking through these can help you as you plan your trajectory for the winter and spring.

 

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO SUCCEED? 

LEADER HUDDLE NOV 19.004One of the most important questions I have for you is “What do you need to succeed?”  My desire is to provide the tools, resources, or answers you need to make the most of your experience as a leader.  Please take a minute to think through anything that could help you succeed, and then please email me and let me know.  Just to be clear, a life-size cutout of Brian Talty is not essential to your success. 🙂

MORE LIKE JESUS 

LEADER HUDDLE NOV 19.008In our Huddle in August we talked about the goal of our groups being to help the people in them become more like Jesus.  But, that is a tough goal to measure.  How do we know if the people in our groups and classes are more like Jesus today than they were 3 months ago?  Sometimes, the most important thing we can do is clarify the wins that get us to achieving that goal.  In other words, we need to figure out what we want to look back on and celebrate.  The following thoughts are ideas that I believe push us toward our ultimate goal.

There are 3 areas we can focus on to help the people in our Groups grow. 

EDIT: As I began writing this post, I realized it was going to be extremely long.  So, I am going to focus on one of these areas each of the next 3 weeks.  Here is part 1.

1. IT STARTS WITH LEADERSHIP

LEADER HUDDLE NOV 19.010

I want to start with a disclaimer.  Every leader from time-to-time questions whether they are qualified to lead and if they are doing a good job.  I want you to know that I believe each of you are doing a good job (even when it doesn’t feel like it), and God has placed you in this role for this season, so you are qualified through the Spirit.

So, Please don’t read the following and feel discouraged, and if your group is struggling, please come talk to me.  I would love to offer some encouragement and help you figured out next steps.

Having said that, here are some key ways to “win” as a leader, and ultimately help the people in your group become more like Jesus.

  1. Attitude reflects leadership.  Please keep in mind that your attitude about your group is contagious.  If you are passionate about growth, your group will most likely be passionate about growth.  If you are phoning it in each week, your group will likely follow suit.
  2. You are the greatest influence on your group.  Yes, ultimately God is the one doing the work, but the time you invest in leading significantly impacts the health of your group.  You are the greatest point of influence and direction in your group. This is most important in regard to change.  Change in your group begins with you.
  3. The most important thing you can do as a leader is care for yourself.  As the spiritual shepherd of your group, sometimes you are the sheep who needs the most attention.  Your personal spiritual journey sets the tone for the group.  You can’t lead where you haven’t been, and you can’t fill others when you are empty.  Sometimes the best thing you can do to influence others is tend to your own soul.   We each have seasons where this needs to be our greatest focus.
  4. There are 2 roles a leader plays:  A leader and manager.  Leaders focus on vision and direction, and managers focus on people and systems.  As a group leader, you must be both of these.  You will naturally gravitate toward one or the other, but it’s important that you keep your group pointed toward the goal and simultaneously care about people and keep your group time organized.

So, as we come to the end of part 1 I have a few questions for you to wrestle with on your own. 

  1. In light of the above, what is your biggest take away?
  2. How does this information encourage you as a leader?
  3. What is one change you would like to make in your leadership to make a greater impact on your group?

Thanks for reading. Next week we will talk about “winning” in your group time.

 

 

 

GT Update | Nov 30

Hey all, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  My family had a nice trip to Tennessee and we are glad to be back and running again.  There is a lot to cover today, so please set aside a few minutes to read the information below. 

We had a great Leader Huddle 2 weeks ago.  In fact, I am still processing many of the things we talked about and how they apply to my small group.  For those who were unable to attend the Huddle (or those who were there and want some reminders), I will include a recap in my update next week.  

 

INVEST IN OTHERS

As you know, the purpose of our groups and classes is to help the people in them become more like Christ.  There are three ways we accomplish that: Sharing Life, Pursuing God, and Investing in Others. In light of that, here are 2 opportunities to invest in others.

 

First, next Saturday (Nov. 9) we are looking for 10 people to come serve at Catholic Charities to help pack food for Children in our community.  We will be serving from 10 am – noon.  This food will be given to children in our community to help provide for them and their families during the holiday season.  If you, your group, or part of your group would be interested, please email me.  First come, first serve.

 

I’ve mentioned before that we have a group that serves monthly at Hickory Point Christian Village.  That group will be serving again on Wednesday Dec. 20 at 6 PM.  They have invited any group leader or group to join them to see what they do.  My family and I will be attending that night.  If you or your group would like to come, please email me and let me know.

 

HOLIDAY BIBLE STUDY

Keeping up with your group can be tough during the month of December.  In fact, I know that many groups will only be meeting once or twice between now and Jan 1.  Having said that, here are two ideas for your group during this season.

An Invitation to Christmas.  If your group is meeting one time in December, I would highly recommend you watch this video together: https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/Series/145943  Not only is it a powerful teaching about the meaning of Christmas, but it lines up well with what we are talking about as a church over the next few weeks.

 

YouVersion Group Reading Plan.  This week, youversion (www.bible.com) released the ability to read a Bible Reading Plan as a group and discuss online.  In other words, you can subscribe to a reading plan as a group, read online individually and then discuss online.  For more information about how it works, check out this article.

If you are interested in giving it a try, I would suggest starting with a simple 5 Day plan like this one: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/49-the-christmas-story

WOMEN’S EVENT NEXT FRIDAY

Next Friday (Dec. 8) is our “Preparing Your Heart and Home for Christmas” event.  I am really excited for this event and think it would be a great opportunity for the women in your group to attend together.  There will be a great speaker, delicious dessert, wonderful music and each person will take home a beautiful handmade item, provided by local artisans.  Tickets are $10, which includes the cost of the handmade item.    You can PURCHASE TICKETS HERE . Tickets are limited, so please purchase soon.

THANK YOU AGAIN.  Please check back next week for a recap of our Leader Huddle.

Thanks JG

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