Hello all, I know it is uncharacteristic to get two of these posts in one week, but I wanted to update the Tell Me MORE items I sent you last Thursday.

HERE is the final version of the Study Guide:

TellMeMore_StudyGuide_2018_CS6 copy

Please feel free to share this link with your group/class members.  I will also have some printed copies at the Welcome Center.

Also, as mentioned, the videos for each week will be live here:


If it’s easier for you, you can also check the video out here:

Tell Me More Week 1: Bill Grueninger from First Christian Church on Vimeo.

Thanks again, JG



Hello all, I hope your week has gone well. Thank you to those of you who were able to make it to the Leader Huddle last Sunday night.  If you were unable to make it, I included some thoughts below.


This weekend we begin our TELL ME MORE series.  During this study, we will tackle four big questions as we try to understand our own identity and who God really is:

  • Who Am I? (What does the Bible say about me and God?)
  • Who is Our Father? (What if I don’t know what a “good father” looks like?)
  • Who is Jesus?
  • Who is the Holy Spirit?

As we dive into these topics, we will discover a difference between the MORE we think we want and the MORE we really need. Whether it’s a better way of life, healthier relationships, direction in life, or deeper meaning, MORE is available to you.

The final copy of this study will be available in the next couple days, but I wanted to get some information in your hands, so the link below contains a “mostly” edited version.  I will send you the final version once I receive it.  

In the mean time, here is something to get you going.

TellMeMore_StudyGuide_2018_CS6 copy

Please feel free to download this and share it with your group/class, or we will have some paper copies available at the Welcome Center this weekend.

You will also notice that there are videos that go along with each week of the study.  Here is the link: https://www.tellmemore.church/videos.  Right now, they are still the videos from last year, but they will be updated in the next couple days.   If you don’t have a way to display these at your group (laptop, iPad, etc.), please encourage your group members to watch them before they come to group.


At the Huddle last weekend we watched the video below on leading great discussions.  Please take a minute to check it out.


A few of you requested a Bible reading plan for our upcoming series (cool idea).  While it is much simpler than the previous series’ reading plan, here are some passages you could share with your group to read prior to each weekend.

  • Week 1: Exodus 3 and Psalm 139
  • Week 2: Joshua 1:1-9
  • Week 3: Colossians 1:15-23
  • Week 4: Romans 8:1-17

Thanks again, JG

GT Update Sept 27

Hello everyone.  I hope your week has gone well.


I’ve heard from many of you regarding the Huddle, but I thought one more reminder couldn’t hurt.  PLEASE JOIN US THIS SUNDAYSunday SEPT 30 from 6-7:30 PM in MOSAIC CAFE for our SECOND LEADER HUDDLE of the school year.  Dinner is provided.




We have reached the final week of the “In The Beginning” series.  I have really enjoyed this series and particularly the weekly small group discussions.  As we close out the book of Genesis this week, we will be studying the life of Joseph.


Here is a link to download the week 4 Group/Class Guide: In the Beginning- Joseph

Please feel free to download this and share it with your group/class, or we will have some paper copies available at the Welcome Center this weekend.


Next week we begin the Tell Me MORE series.  We will be discussing this at the Huddle this weekend and more details will be available here next week.




Thank you again for your faithful leadership of your group or class.  Have an awesome weekend, and I hope to see you Sunday evening at the Huddle.

Thank you, – JG

Grow Together Update Sept 20

Hello everyone, and happy almost weekend. I wanted to start today by taking a minute to say thank you to each of you for making your group or class a priority.  I know all to well that we are each busy and have to divide our time, energy, and resources in multiple directions each week.  Thank you for making it a priority each week to lead and love the people of our church that God has entrusted to your care.  I feel humbled and honored to serve with each of you, so THANK YOU!!!!!


PLEASE JOIN US NEXT SUNDAY, Sunday SEPT 30 from 6-7:30 PM in MOSAIC CAFE for our SECOND LEADER HUDDLE of the school year.  Dinner is provided.

PLEASE RSVP by clicking here by Wednesday Sept 26.  I would love to see you all there.



Thank you for taking the time to share feedback with me about the first two weeks of this series.  I have really enjoyed the first 2 discussions with my small group and I have heard good feedback from a number of you.  Please feel free to share with me.  I would love to hear how  your group is going.

Here is a link to download the week 3 Group/Class Guide: In the Beginning- Jacob

Please feel free to download this and share it with your group/class or we will have some paper copies available at the Welcome Center this weekend.

Thank you again!




Hello everyone, I hope your week is going well.  I also want to welcome those of you who are new to this weekly email.  

We launched three brand new small groups last weekend, and they each met yesterday for the first time, and had a great start.  Welcome to the leaders of those groups!!!!!!


As I mentioned at the Leader Huddle and two weeks ago on the blog, we will be beginning the ministry year with a 4 week study on the book of Genesis.  We would love for each small group and class to join us in these studies for the next four weeks.  This study is intended to be used following this weekend’s sermon.

Here is a link to download the week 2 Group/Class Guide: In the Beginning- Abraham

Please feel free to download this and share it with your group/class or we will have some paper copies available at the Welcome Center this weekend.


Ever had someone in your group try to dominate the discussion?  If not, I’m a little jealous of you.  If so, welcome to the club.  In light of that, I came across this article that addresses “Group Dominators”.    Whether you have one or not, I would recommend taking a couple minutes to read this and think through how it might strengthen your conversations in group or class.


ARTICLE LINK: https://churchleaders.com/smallgroups/small-group-articles/332941-how-to-deal-with-a-discussion-dominator.html

Have a great week!

Thanks, – JG

Grow Together Update | GENESIS Week 1

Hello awesome Grow Together Leaders, I apologize that this is coming late Thursday evening, but the first study for the “In the Beginning” series is ready to go.


As I mentioned at the Leader Huddle and last week on the blog, we will be beginning the ministry year with a 4 week study on the book of Genesis.  We would love for each small group and class to join us in these studies for the next four weeks.  This study is intended to be used following this weekend’s sermon.

Here is a link to download the week 1 Group/Class Guide: In the Beginning- Creation and Fall

Please feel free to download this and share it with your group/class or we will have some paper copies available at the Welcome Center this weekend.

Thank you so much for joining us in this series.  I look forward to seeing what God will do with it.  Have a great weekend



Hello all, it’s that time of year again where you will begin receiving weekly emails from me regarding your Grow Together group or class.  I know it’s pretty exciting stuff, but please try your best to contain your excitement. 🙂


To get things started this year, I want to take a minute to recap some of the important information we covered in our leader huddle on August 16.  While we covered a lot of material that evening, there were two thoughts that really stuck out to me.

  • The first is that Groups and classes do not guarantee discipleship.  Yes, the goal of any group or class is discipleship (to help each other become more like Jesus), but unless we are super intentional about the way we lead our groups/classes, they can easily become about camaraderie rather than transformation.  Question: As you plan to lead your group or class this year, how are you intentionally leading the people in your group to be more like Jesus?
    • Story: I was chatting with one of our small group leaders last week and he mentioned that following the huddle he asked each person in his group to share how they have become more like Jesus in the last year as a result of being a part of the group.  It led to a great discussion in his group.  As you begin a “new year”, I would recommend a similar conversation for your group or class.  Not only could it lead to great conversation, but it would serve as a reminder to your group/class why you meet.
  • Secondly, we need to remember that Loving God and our people is primary.  This is a reminder I need often.  As a leader, there are many things we could invest our time in: organization, preparation, communication, care, study, managing the clock, etc.  While all these things are good and necessary, our primary role as leaders is to love God first and then genuinely love those we lead.  If we love God well and love our people well, the rest will fall into place. Question: What would it look like for you to love the people in your class/group well as you begin the school year? 


As I mentioned at the Huddle, we will be beginning the school year with two back to back studies that align with our weekend series.

The first study is a 5-week study in the book of Genesis called “In the Beginning”.  This study corresponds with a curriculum change for the children and students in our church.  As of this coming weekend, our Family Ministry Team (birth-12th grade) begins a curriculum called The Gospel Project, (click on the link to explore) which is a three-year journey through the Bible.  They will be spending the entire first semester in the book of Genesis.

To help highlight this change, we will be journeying through the book of Genesis throughout September. This coming weekend (Sept. 1 &2) is an introduction to the series.  There is no study to accompany week 1 of the series.  The four weeks after that (Starting Sept. 8/9), I will be writing curriculum that will be used following each weekend in classes and groups.  That curriculum will be available here on the blog by the Thursday before each weekend.  We would love for each class and small group to join us by using this curriculum following each weekend.  So, for the sake of clarity, the sermon on the weekend of the 8th/9th would be discussed between the 9th and the 14th.


The second series will be starting the weekend of October 6/7.  We will also be writing curriculum for these four weeks.  This series is a Part 2 of the Tell Me More series we did last fall.  This time we are focusing on who God is and how that plays out in the trinity.  Again, we would love to have your group and class join us during these studies.


As I close out this week, I want to say thank you so much for making an investment in the lives of the people in your groups and classes.  Thank you for helping them become more like Jesus.  Thank you for making transformation a priority in your context.  As Bobby Harrington wrote in his book “Discipleship that Fits”, “Deep personal transformation happens in close relationships with just a few, because only a few people can earn the trust it takes to be vulnerable, open, and honest in life-on-life situations.”  Thank you for investing deeply in your “few”.


Hello everyone and Happy May.  A few important reminders today.


Our Serve Together Celebration is this coming Wednesday May 9.  It’s going to be a fantastic evening.  Please RSVP by Monday at http://www.firstdecatur.org/serve/.  I would love to see you there.




Last week I sent an email with some of the important details for our Thrive Campaign, which begins this weekend.  If you haven’t had a chance to read through that, please take a few minutes so you are prepared to answer your group’s/class’s questions.

Also, in light of this campaign, I would encourage your group or class to take a few weeks and do a stewardship study along with this series.  There are several good curriculums out there, but one I would suggest is the Treasure Principle.  You can find it on Rightnow Media here: https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/Series/198062  I will admit that some of it is a bit cheesy, but the content is good.  Here is a trailer about this series.


If you can’t see the video, please click here.

Thank you for faithfully leading your group or class.  I am so appreciative of each of you.


GT Update | April 12

Hello everyone, I hope you are well!  What a strange week weather wise, right?

I took this picture of our backyard on Monday morning, 






and this one outside the church just a couple of minutes ago…

Looking at these pictures reminds me how much takes place in our lives each week.  Often by Thursday I can’t even remember what happened on Monday.  One of the cool things about being a group leader or teacher is we get the opportunity to engage people spiritually and relationally between weekends.  In light of that, thank you for caring for people and guiding them in the cold winter days of their lives and the beautiful spring days as well.




In case your group is looking for a next study, I wanted to recommend the one my group just started.  It is called “Breathing Room”.   Here is the description: In our attempt to get the most out of life, it’s easy to lose control of our lives. For most of us, breathing room feels more like a luxury than a necessity. In this series, Andy Stanley shows us how to create a breathing room in our schedules, our finances, and our relationships.

If you are interested, you can check it out here: https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/Series/230360  Also, please let me know and I will get a study guide for your group.


Lastly, I want to encourage you to join me at the Intentional Church Conference.  If you haven’t been before (and even if you have) this is a great conference for both church staff and lay leaders.  If you would like to attend this conference on Saturday April 21, please let me know and I will get you registered.

Click here to learn more: https://www.intentionalchurchconference.com


Thank you, JG









GT Update April 5

Hello Grow Together leaders, I hope you had an awesome Easter weekend!

While I realize that many of you were at the Leader Huddle a few weeks ago I wanted to recap some of the information we talked through to make sure we are on the same page.

As you probably know, Brian Talty came and shared with us and I am hoping to capture a follow-up from that for next week’s post.  In the mean time, here are some things I want to remind you of.



We will not have a group study to go along with our series in April and May.  In light of that, I want to remind you that you all have access to Rightnow Media.  There are some great studies on there.  You can find them at https://www.rightnowmedia.org If you’d like some suggestions, please let me know, or if you are looking for a study outside of Rightnow Media, please let me know.  I’m here to help!!!!



Most groups take a break from their normal routine during the summer.  While I realize that some groups are able to continue to meet, for many of us, our rhythms change enough that it makes it difficult to meet on a regular basis.  Honestly, I think taking a break can be a healthy thing too.   Not only does it honor people’s schedules, but it can make them more eager to jump back in in September.

Having said that, it is very important to not completely drift away from your group during the summer.  You still need to gather.  You still need to pray for and care for one another.  So, with that in mind, I would encourage you to begin thinking about summer now.  As a group, answer questions about how often you will gather, where and when.  I would highly encourage you to put those things on your calendar now.  Otherwise, you will get to the end of August and wonder what happened to your group.  I know that might sound crazy, but that is exactly what happened with our small group last summer.

If you are looking for a guideline, I would suggest a once a month social gathering coupled with a weekly email check in.  Please don’t take that as a requirement.  Just a thought.


You may have heard that our Family Ministry is making a shift in the fall to using a curriculum called the “Gospel Project”.  As they launch this in the fall, the church will be joining them for a 4 week series.  So, for four weeks the entire church will be studying the same thing.  Pretty cool Huh?  We will also have an adult small group/class curriculum to go along with those 4 weeks.  More to come on that.

The last 3 years, we have partnered with a number of churches in our community for a series in the fall, and used a common curriculum for small groups and classes.  We will be doing that again this fall, only it will happen in October (right after the Gospel Project series) instead of September.  For the time being we are still working on topics for this series.  More to come about that in the weeks ahead.

Well, thank you again for your taking the time to read this.  As always, please let me know if you need anything!  Have a wonderful week!

Thanks, JG