Grow Together Update | March 30

Hello awesome Grow Together Leaders, I hope you are well!  There is a lot to cover this week, so please read through and let me know if you have any questions.

SERVE THE BLOCK

As small groups and classes we have an incredible opportunity to serve in the Block this summer.  Pastor BJ and Amanda Elven are looking for several groups who will serve a lunch meal in the Block one Saturday this summer.  At a minimum they are looking for 4 groups, but could take up to 16.  Please talk with your group/class and choose a weekend to serve our friends and neighbors in the Block.

 

HERES WHAT IS NEEDED: 

  • Choose a Saturday.  We are starting with May 6, June 3, July 1, and Aug 5, but can extend beyond that.
  • Let me know. Email me to let me know which date you picked. 
  • Make a meal. Coordinate with your group or class to make a meal for 50 people.  Please prepare the meal in your homes.   If you would like financial assistance to help with the meal, please let me know.
  • Show up, serve, and eat. Coordinate a time with Pastor BJ or Amanda Elven, show up, serve the meal, and hang out and eat with the neighbors. 

I would love to see our Grow Together groups fill the entire summer.

MATTHEW SERIES ONGOING

Below is the final study for the Matthew series.  However, the series will continue through Labor Day.  If your group would like to continue studying Matthew, here are some ideas to help you.

  • At the bottom of this post is an outline for the remaining weeks of the series so you can plan ahead for what we will be talking about each weekend.
  • There is a lot of great information online including reputable commentaries.  One I wanted to share with you is the Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible.  If you have questions please feel free to ask me or google.  If you are unsure if something is reputable, please don’t hesitate to ask.
  • Probably the most important thing is to take great notes each weekend and write down thoughts that are intriguing to you.  Those thoughts often generate great discussion.
  • To involve your group members more, consider asking group members to rotate leading the discussion.  Not only will this help them pay better attention on the weekend, it will allow them to step into a greater leadership role in the group.
  • Lastly, I’ve mentioned this a few times, but please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions as you prepare.  I’m happy to help.

MATTHEW WEEK 8

jesus-according-to-matthew-test-4HERE IS THE STUDY FOR NEXT WEEK (APRIL 1-8)

Jesus According to Matthew – Small Group Study – Week 8

Please feel free to share this link with your group. Copies will also be available at the Welcome Center.

 

MATTHEW SCHEDULE

Here are the remaining weeks of the Matthew Series

April 8 & 9 Matthew 21:1-17: Jesus’ triumphal entry and time at the temple.
April 15 & 16 (Easter) Matthew 28:1-15 Easter morning
April 22 & 23 Matthew 9:9-17. Calling of Matthew.  Jesus eats with sinners.  Came for sick not healthy. Pharisees ask about fasting.
April 29 & 30 Matthew 9:18-34 Healings: imperfect faith and God’s perfect power.
May 6 & 7 Matthew 9:35-38. The Workers are Few.
May 13 & 14 (Mother’s Day) Matthew 10: Jesus charges the disciples.
May 20 & 21 Matthew 11:20-30 (skipping 11:1-19 from Advent series): The authority of Jesus. Rest for the Weary.
May 27 & 28 (Memorial Day) Matthew 12:1-14 Lord of Sabbath
June 3 & 4 Matthew 12: 22-45: Tested by Pharisees: Satan divided against satan and asking Jesus for a sign.
June 10 & 11 Matthew 12:46-13:58: Kingdom Stories. Parables of sower, weeds, mustard seed, hidden treasure, net
June 17 & 18 (Father’s Day) Matthew 14:13-21: Jesus feeds 5000. Possibly follow up with Matthew 15:29-39
June 24 & 25 Matthew 14:22-36: Jesus walks on water. 
July 1 & 2 Matthew 15:1-28: Pharisees question about washing hands./Canaanite woman
July 8 & 9 Matthew 16:1-12: The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
July 15 & 16 Matthew 16:13-28: Jesus declared as Messiah and begins to talk about his death.
July 22 & 23 Matthew 17: The Transfiguration
July 29 & 30 Matthew 18:1-14: Causing a brother to stumble
August 5 & 6 Matthew 18:15-35: If someone offends you/forgiveness
August 12 & 13 Matthew 19:1-12: Marriage and Divorce
August 19 & 20 Matthew 19:13-20:16: Money and the Kingdom
August 26 & 27 Matthew 20:17-28: Status in the Kingdom
Sept 2 & 3 (Labor Day) Matthew 28: 16-20: Great commission (minoring on resurrection since we preached on it on on Easter)

Thank you, JG

Grow Together Update | Mar 23

Hello fantastic leaders, I hope you are all doing well.  Thank you to those of you who responded to my email earlier in the week about how your group is doing.  If you haven’t had the chance to respond yet, I would still love to hear from you.

MATTHEW SERIES – REMINDER

As a reminder, there will be two more weeks of Group Studies to go along with the Matthew series, including the one below.  If your small group would like to continue studying Matthew beyond week 8, I will be sharing some resources next week to help you do that.  Please check back next week for those ideas.

MATTHEW WEEK 7

jesus-according-to-matthew-test-4HERE IS THE STUDY FOR NEXT WEEK (MARCH 26-31)

Jesus According to Matthew – Small Group Study – Week 7

Please feel free to share this link with your group. Copies will also be available at the Welcome Center.

 

As a reminder, if your group is looking for a study for the next couple months, please check out last week’s post , rightnow media or give me a call for ideas.  I would love to help.

Thanks again!

  • JG

Grow Together Update | Mar 16

Hello awesome leaders, below is some important information about our Matthew Study and SOME AMAZING SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES (read all the way to the bottom)

MATTHEW SERIES 

When we began the Matthew series we said we would write small group studies for at least the first six weeks.  We have decided to extend that to eight weeks, which will lead right up to Palm Sunday.  For Palm Sunday we will be jumping to Matthew 21, so that felt like a natural break for these studies.  If your small group would like to continue studying Matthew beyond week 8, I will be sharing some resources next week to help you do that.

MATTHEW WEEK 6

jesus-according-to-matthew-test-4HERE IS THE STUDY FOR NEXT WEEK (MARCH 19-25)

Jesus According to Matthew – Small Group Study – Week 6

Please feel free to share this link with your group. Copies will also be available at the Welcome Center.

NEXT STUDIES

If your group or class is looking for a powerful one week study, I would highly recommend “In Light of Eternity.  This film offers a powerful glimpse into the light God is shining in the dark places of Africa by telling the tales of transformed lives as well as those who devoted their resources toward the service of others.

There is a video and study guide available on Rightnow Media here: https://www.rightnow.org/Content/Series/229920 Caution: This film was shot on location in East Africa and contains mature themes and brief images of extreme suffering and naked children. 

There is also a great new study on the book of Jonah.  Please check that out here: https://www.rightnow.org/Content/Series/225914

There is also a 4 week series on generosity that looks really good.  You can find that here: https://www.rightnow.org/Content/Series/198062

SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES

As we talked about at the last huddle, one of the things we all want to be about is helping our groups serve together.  In light of that, I got an email from the Block ministry this week inviting our groups and classes to serve.  Here is what Amanda shared with me:

“We are getting ready for a new season of ministry in the Block, and we wanted to let you know about some opportunities for small groups to serve in the neighborhood. 
First, we are planning to provide a meal at each of our first Saturday events.  Many of the families in the Block receive backpacks with food at the end of the school day on Friday to help families get through the weekend.  When school is out of session they stop receiving those bags.  The park district has a program that provides lunch on weekdays, but many families are hungry over the weekend.  We would love to invite small groups to prepare and serve lunch to our neighbors.  The dates of our events are May 6, June 3, July 1, August 5, September 2, and October 7.”
I think this would be an awesome way for groups and classes to join our existing ministry in the Block.  If you would be interested in serving, please email me at jgrunden@firstdecatur.org, and I would love to help you get connected.
Thanks again, JG

Grow Together Update | March 9

Hello Grow Together Leaders and happy Thursday.

PRAYER

It is my regular habit to pray for each of you and your groups, so I would love to know if there are specific situations in your life or your group that I could lift up with you.  If there is something in your life, or the life of your group that you would like prayer for, please click here to share your request with me.

 

MATTHEW WEEK 5

jesus-according-to-matthew-test-4HERE IS THE STUDY FOR NEXT WEEK (MARCH 12-18)

Jesus According to Matthew – Small Group Study – Week 5

Please feel free to share this link with your group. Copies will also be available at the Welcome Center.

 

MEN’S RETREAT

I am extremely excited about our upcoming Men’s Retreat.  I think it is going to be a great opportunity for the men of our church to connect with one another and grow while having a lot of fun.  I would encourage the men in your small group or class to come together. REGISTRATION END MARCH 20

YOU CAN REGISTER FOR MEN’S RETREAT BY CLICKING THIS LINK

If you missed the video in church last week or would just like to watch it again, here you go:

If you can’t see the video follow this link: Men’s Retreat 2017 from First Christian Church on Vimeo.

EMPOWERING YOUR SMALL GROUP

In light of the conversation at our huddle about involving others in the leadership of your group, I wanted to pass along the article below.  However, before you read it I want to give you one caution, and here it is: Please don’t read this article and beat yourself up.  None of us can read this article and say that we’ve got this all figured out.  I am only sharing this with you to help generate ideas as you figure out how to empower others in your group. Here is the article:

http://churchleaders.com/smallgroups/small-group-articles/300143-single-important-thing-leading-small-group-jim-egli.html

Thank you for taking a few minutes to read through.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

-JG

Grow Together Update | March 3

Hello awesome leaders, I hope your week is going well.  This week’s post comes to you from Michigan where Winter is still alive and well.

MATTHEW WEEK 4

jesus-according-to-matthew-test-4HERE IS THE STUDY FOR NEXT WEEK (MAR 5 – 11)

MATTHEW WEEK 4 STUDY

Please feel free to share this link with your group. Copies will also be available at the Welcome Center.

 

SHARE YOUR STORY

share-your-story02I was reminded again this week of the power of our personal stories.  Each one of us has unique life experiences, and as we come together in our groups, it is important that we share those stories with one another.  If your group hasn’t done that before or maybe not in a while, I would encourage you to set aside some time, each time you meet, for one or two people in your group to share their story.

As I was thinking about this idea I came across this resource, called a “Life Map”, that you can give the people in your group to help them think through their story before they share it.  Here is a link to the resource: http://groupleaders.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Commuity_LifeMaps.pdf

Thank you for leading so well.

-JG

Feb 23 Grow Together Update

Hello awesome Grow Together Leaders, I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the Grow Together Huddle this Sunday.  If you haven’t RSVP’d yet, please email me by Saturday.  In light of the Huddle, this week’s update is going to be a little shorter than normal.

MATTHEW WEEK 3

jesus-according-to-matthew-test-4Thank you again to those of you who have shared feedback on the studies so far.  I deeply appreciate it.  Please keep it coming. Having said that, below is the study for next week.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

 

HERE IS THE STUDY FOR NEXT WEEK (FEB 26 – MAR 4)

jesus-according-to-matthew-small-group-study-week-3

Please feel free to share this link with your group. Copies will also be available at the Welcome Center.

Have a great weekend, and I will see you Sunday night at 6 pm in Mosaic Cafe.

Thanks JG

Grow Together Update | Feb 16

Hello Grow Together Leaders, I wanted to remind you that a week from Sunday is our Winter Leader Huddle…

GROW TOGETHER HUDDLE – FEB 26

GT Invite.001Next weekend,  Sunday Feb. 26 at 6-7 pm is our winter Grow Together Leader Huddle. I would love to see at least one leader from each class or small group at the huddle.  We will be doing an evaluation of the ministry and talk about next steps for groups and classes.  This is also a great opportunity to connect with other leaders in our ministry and to eat some delicious desserts.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO EMAIL ME YOUR RSVP.

MATTHEW WEEK 2

jesus-according-to-matthew-test-4I heard some good and very helpful feedback from many of you on the Week 1 Matthew study, and I would encourage you to keep that coming.  It is my goal to make these studies work well for your group/class.

As a reminder, for at least the first six weeks of this study, we will be providing resources for you and your small group or class to use following the sermon.

HERE IS THE STUDY FOR NEXT WEEK (FEB 19-25)

jesus-according-to-matthew-small-group-study-week-2

IF YOUR GROUP/CLASS IS USING THIS STUDY

  • Please download this document and share it with your group (after the weekend), or stop by the Welcome Center this weekend and pick up a copy.

IF YOUR GROUP MEETS EVERY OTHER WEEK

  • While the studies will come out weekly, their formats will follow a similar style each week.  I would encourage you to take both studies from the weeks between your meetings and choose a few questions from each week.

IF YOUR GROUP/CLASS IS NOT USING THIS STUDY

  • Please encourage the people in your group to use this study on their own.  We will be texting a link to the study (the same document as above) out on Sunday afternoon. If the people in your group don’t receive those texts, they can simply text FIRSTDECATUR to 24587 or click here to sign up for emails.
  • Even if your group is doing a different study, consider taking a few minutes of your group time to ask your group members what they took away from the series each week.  That way, you can encourage them to build on what is being taught each weekend.

Thank you again, JG

FEB 9 | GROW TOGETHER UPDATE

Hello fantastic Grow Together leaders, week 1 of the Matthew series has arrived.  We are so excited to see what God is going to do in our church, each of our lives, and your groups and classes though this long slow walk through the book of Matthew.

JESUS ACCORDING TO MATTHEW – WEEK 1

jesus-matthew

As I promised the last several weeks, for at least the first six weeks of this study, we will be providing resources for you and your small group or class to use following the sermon.

HERE IS THE STUDY FOR NEXT WEEK (FEB 12-18)

jesus-according-to-matthew-small-group-study-week-1

IF YOUR GROUP/CLASS IS USING THIS STUDY

  • Please download this document and share it with your group (after the weekend), or stop by the Welcome Center this weekend and pick up a copy.
  • One of the questions included is “What questions do you hope to have answered throughout this series (about Jesus, about how his words apply to a specific topic, about a specific aspect of following him)?” Please have your group answer this question and share the answers with me.  I would love to pass those along to the preaching team as they shape the weeks to come.

IF YOUR GROUP MEETS EVERY OTHER WEEK

  • While the studies will come out weekly, their formats will follow a similar style each week.  I would encourage you to take both studies from the weeks between your meetings and choose a few questions from each week.

IF YOUR GROUP/CLASS IS NOT USING THIS STUDY

  • Please encourage the people in your group to use this study on their own.  We will be texting a link to the study (the same document as above) out on Sunday afternoon. If the people in your group don’t receive those texts, they can simply text FIRSTDECATUR to 24587 or click here to sign up for emails.
  • Even if your group is doing a different study, consider taking a few minutes of your group time to ask your group members what they took away from the series each week.  That way, you can encourage them to build on what is being taught each weekend.

PRAYER

16425857_10154092222221541_4186501823278482763_nThank you to those of you who were able to join us this week for our “Week of Prayer”.  As a reminder there are still opportunities tomorrow (Friday February 10) at 7 am, Noon, and 6 pm. 

While our “Week of Prayer” is wrapping up, our ministry of prayer together remains.  One of the ways you can continue to be involved in praying together is by joining our Weekend Prayer team. Each weekend we have a team of people praying for our services, our volunteers and staff, and events and initiatives taking place in the life of the church. If you would like to be involved in this team please email me at jgrunden@firstdecatur.org.

YOUR GROUP PRAYING FOR THE CHURCH

Not only would this be a great way for individuals in your group/class to serve, but it could be a great way for your group to serve together.  I would like to ask you to talk to your group or class about choosing a weekend to come and pray for our church.  If you let me know what weekend and time work of your group, I will let you know where to meet and make sure you have everything you need.

Thank you again,

JG

 

 

FEB 2 GROW TOGETHER UPDATE

Hello awesome Grow Together Leaders, it truly is a blessing to serve with each of you.  Thank you for the way you lead and shepherd the people in your groups and classes, so that together we can become more like Jesus.

MATTHEW SMALL GROUP STUDIES

jesus-according-to-matthew-test-4Next weekend (Feb 11/12) we begin our 30-week “Jesus According to Matthew” series.  As I’ve mentioned previously for the first 6 weeks of this series we will be creating small group material designed to follow each weekend’s sermon. Starting next week we will have Week 1’s study available on this page, and I will leave copies at the welcome center as well.  We would love it if your group or class would join us for these 6 weeks. 

RIGHT NOW MEDIA

rightnowmediaI wanted to take a minute to remind you that one of the tools you have available to you as a small group leader or teacher is our church subscription to Rightnow Media.  Not only can you find studies for your group, there are a lot of great studies and training sessions you can use for your personal study and development. If you don’t currently have an account, you can get a free one by using this link: https://www.rightnow.org/Account/Invite/firstdecatur.  Please also share that link with anyone in your group or class who would like an account.

THIS WEEKEND

devoted-together-memeThis weekend is the first opportunity for our congregation to commit or re-commit to the Devoted Together Covenant.  We will also be encouraging everyone, including those who are not ready to make that commitment, to use that form to update their contact information.  One of the questions we are asking is for people to let us know if they are in a “Grow Together Ministry”.  To help us have the most accurate records, would you please encourage the people in your group or class to check that box “yes”, and write your name when it asks for their leader’s name.

PRAYER WEEK NEXT WEEK

PrayI also wanted to remind you that next week (Feb 6-10) is our prayer week.  Each day will be different, but each day will have 3 identical opportunities to pray (7 am, Noon, and 6 pm).  Please encourage your small group or class to join us each day as we pray for God’s direction for our church and his provision for what he has called us to. 

THANK YOU – JG

Grow Together Update | January 19

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

IS YOUR GROUP OPEN?

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.

 

RECALIBRATE 

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 PART 2

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.

devoted-together-covenant-only-insert

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