NEW LEADER TRAINING VIDEOS
Congratulations on being approved for leadership. Because we believe that life change happens within the context of intentional relationships, group leaders are vital to the success of this ministry.
Leadership is an opportunity to serve those you lead, but it%27s also an opportunity for you to grow in your relationship with Jesus. This site is here to equip you as a leader, but also to encourage you in your own faith journey.
As you lead, have conversations with your Groups Director, and engage in training opportunities, you'll hear about the Three Vital Relationships again and again. That's because they're key indicators of spiritual growth - ways for you to measure the health of your group as well as maintain an awareness of your own growth.
THESE ARE THE THREE VITAL RELATIONSHIPS:
INTIMACY WITH GOD
God desires an intimate relationship with each and every one of us. We believe the mark of a mature follower is continual pursuit of a relationship with God.
COMMUNITY WITH INSIDERS
Sustained life change happens within the context of intentional relationships. Community with other people on the same spiritual journey is where we find encouragement and where we're challenged to practice what God is teaching us.
Hebrews 10:24-25a explains it like this:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.
INFLUENCE WITH OUTSIDERS
God invites us to partner with him in the process of evangelism. We believe it's important to prioritize relationships with unbelieving friends for the purpose of seeing those friends come to faith. We want you and your group members to invest in the lives of your unbelieving friends. Then, when the time is right, we want you to invite them to one of our relevant environments where they'll be encouraged in their spiritual journeys.
STARTING WELL CARD
In order to stay connected to God, it%27s important to recognize how he%27s involved in your life. We%27ve found there are Five Things God Uses to Grow Your Faith. This list isn%27t from the Bible and it may not even be complete, but we%27ve discovered that when people talk about their faith journeys, these five things come up again and again:
Practical Bible teaching—Bible study, listening to sermons, reading Bible commentaries—brings Scripture to life with startling relevance to our everyday lives. It provides us with insight into who we are, who God is, and who God wants us to become.
God puts people in our lives that shape and influence us in extraordinary ways. He speaks to us through our relationships with others, whether they%27re lifelong friends or acquaintances that drop into our lives for a short season.
God uses things like prayer, personal time reading the Bible, fasting, and time alone with him to deepen our relationship with him. These disciplines aren%27t a chore. Instead, they fine-tune our hearts to God%27s.
Jesus showed us by example that we find life by giving our lives away to others. God provides each of us with opportunities to step away from serving ourselves in order to serve others.
When something big happens in our lives–good or bad, planned or unplanned–the ways we think about and interact with God are changed. These circumstances wake us up and get us to pay attention. They remind us that God is present and active in our lives.
Your Community Group will be organized around three activities:
- Sharing — unstructured time when you connect relationally and talk about what%27s going on in your lives.
- Study/discussion — time you spend studying the Bible, a book, a video series, or a curriculum.
- Prayer — time you spend sharing prayer requests and praying for one another.
There%27s a tendency to undervalue sharing, to treat it as "unproductive" time. But sharing is the fuel for a group. The relational connections you foster and encourage will help your group members to apply what they learn in study and pray more boldly and authentically for one another.
One thing you can do to encourage relational connection is to ask great questions. Doing so (especially in the early stages of a group) helps people get to know one another, demonstrates your interest in group members%27 lives, and encourages everyone to join in the conversation and be real about who they are and what%27s going on in their lives.
Asking great questions is more art than science, but this list of icebreaker questions will get you started.
When you begin a new group, be sure to use the Starter Study. It%27s specifically designed to help you set a foundation for a successful group by casting vision for the importance of sharing, study, and prayer in the group. It will help your group members understand how community is essential to spiritual growth.
We use the Community Group Agreement to align group members' expectations about what group is and what it isn't. The Agreement includes a list of Values & Goals that are helpful in establishing the kind of safe, predictable environment where people feel free to share openly and transparently about themselves.
While prayer and discussion of curriculum are key elements, the driving force behind the group is the building of relationships.
The atmosphere should encourage openness and transparency among members. This is an environment where people should feel free to be themselves.
For authenticity to occur, members must be able to trust that issues discussed within the group will not be shared outside the group.
Group members should never say anything that will embarrass their spouses or other members of the group.
A primary responsibility of the group is to prioritize for specific relationships. This requires a willingness to be available to meet one another's needs.
Group members recognize that one of the goals of their group is to start a new group within the life cycle of the group. This allows others to experience the Community Group relationship.
Promoting participation among group members is vital to a healthy group experience. There are two that are unique to you. Only you can do them because you%27re the group%27s leader:
- Show up to group meetings thinking about the spiritual growth of everyone in the room.
- Establish a tone that supports connection and growth.
Everything else should be shared with the members of your group. involving everyone in the life of the group by sharing responsibility for tasks such as:
- HOSTING MEETINGS
- PROVIDING SNACKS
- PLANNING SOCIALS
- LEADING PRAYER TIME
- FACILITATING GROUP DISCUSSIONS
For most groups, it%27s not too early to begin sharing responsibilities during the eight-week starter period. Doing so is a great way to give your group members a sense of ownership of the group. It communicates that, while you%27re responsible for leading the group, it%27s not up to you to manage all aspects of the group meetings. That is everyone%27s responsibility. Promoting participation can also help your group members to form deeper relationships with one another.