Winter 2018, Week 7

Hey, Leaders.  We are now in week seven, and each of our groups should be very comfortable with each other and digging in every week. Hopefully this series has gone well for your group. This week we will be talking about second chances and how to have wisdom and humility in that area.  

Important Note:  our Community Group Leader Meeting is coming up on March 4th during the 10:45 service, so make plans now to be there.

Here are this week’s resources:

Winter 2018, Week 6

This week we get to talk about the power of encouragement and calling out the best in others, so I would like to do that for you as a leader. It is a godly and special trait for someone to be willing to give of their own time and energy for the benefit of others. It is the foundation of all that Christ chose to do for us; and as you do it for others, I believe they get a glimpse of Christ in you. What you do is honorable, godly, and very important. Thank you for being a person who lives this out and cares for others. From what I have seen in life, God gives more fulfillment to those who give of themselves for others than He gives to anyone else.  May you feel deeply fulfilled knowing that what you do not only matters, but it also changes lives for eternity. You are all a blessing, and I appreciate you.

 

Here are this week’s resources:

Winter 2018, Week 5

Hey leaders, we are jumping into a new series that I am excited about because it should be great for our Community Groups. We are calling it “____ _________ ________” (Sunday’s Message Title) for reasons you will understand after Sunday, but the point of the series is building relationships and the significance of belonging. Since the goal of Community Groups is to connect people to God’s Word and to His people, the series ties directly to what our groups are all about.  For people to connect to one another there has to be a sense that they belong and are accepted, and that is what we will be discussing. Please dig into this series as it is foundational to what we do and who we are as groups. This should be a great series in helping us realize not only the ability our groups have but also the power and impact they make in people’s lives.

Thanks for the way that you serve as leaders and for the sense of  belonging you create for others. You may never know just how impactful what you do each week really is.

 

Here are this weeks resources:

 

Winter 2018, Week 4

Leaders, I am excited to let you know that we are trying something that we have never tried before in groups. Instead of the usual questions and sharing time, this week we are shooting for an experience.  We are going to live out a part of Acts 2 together. We are going to talk together, encourage one another, take communion together, pray together, and worship God together. I know you are half excited for how cool this might be and half terrified of how bad and awkward this might be, but let’s focus more on the excited side. I realize this is stretching for most of us, so please do not hesitate to contact me (Josh) if you have any questions or concerns. Also, please be very aware of the level of your group and adjust accordingly.  If you have people in your group who are not followers, please make sure they do not feel any pressure about taking communion and explain why it is for followers only.

 

Here are this week’s resources:

Winter 2018, Week 3

Well, being that we covered money and tithing last week, for this coming week we decided we should talk about divorce, homosexuality, predestination, and politics. Good news: you do not need to think of a reason to quit as a leader!  That is just a joke, and we are actually talking about the mission of the church this week. We are coming to the end of the “My Church” series and wrapping it up with the mission of the church and God’s people. The main point will be that the church is not just about us as individuals, but about serving God and taking the good news to others. The goal is not to do this in a way to make people feel selfish and ashamed but to push toward living life the way God created us to live and experiencing the joy and fulfillment of using our gifts, skills, and talents to get to be a part of his bigger plan! I hope that you have a great week.

 

Here are this week’s resources:

Winter 2018, Week 2

Leaders, I know it is only week two and groups are just getting rolling, but it just so happens that the topic for this week is on giving and that Scott will be pretty much focused on the financial aspect of giving. Needless to say, it could easily be a week that causes people to feel uncomfortable, so my thought is simply to wade into the discomfort this week and allow for the discussion to be as open as possible with as much honesty as everyone can bring. Although this will probably not be an easy week, it may be an incredible week.  It has the potential to change people’s lives forever by helping them see how they can break free from the control money can have on them.

I know that some of you as leaders may be thinking about your finances and tithes, etc., and how you may be falling short in some ways also. Please be honest with that and also give people the freedom to be honest with where they are. Scott will probably say this in his message, but the national average of giving is somewhere around two or three percent.  That means that a vast majority of people struggle in this area, and we want our groups to be a place to have an open and honest conversation about giving.

Here are this week’s resources:

Winter 2018, Week 1

Leaders, we are back for the winter season of Community Groups.  I hope that Christmas and the close of 2017 was a special time for you and your loved ones. As we head into a new year and a new series, Scott is planning to talk a lot about belonging and relationships, so this season has the potential to be a very impactful one for your group.

 

Although we live in a world with people all over the place, it seems more and more people feel alone and isolated. They often feel as though they do not have a place to be accepted or allowed to be themselves, and our hope is that we will be able to change that for some. We want to show people that they are loved and do have a place to belong.  We want to help people see how much God loves them. It is pretty incredible to think we have the opportunity in our groups to do that, so . . . here we go, winter season!  Pray for God to do incredible things.

 

As we start out on a new season, this is a good time to reestablish some of the ground rules for community groups which will hopefully give us the best groups possible.

  • Keep things in the group confidential.

  • Do NOT give advice unless someone asks for it.

  • Make sure to give everyone an opportunity to talk.

  • Answer the questions before coming to group.

  • Do not feel the need to address every question.

  • Allow for respectful disagreement and engage struggles.

  • Make it safe, make it fun, and be free to be who you are.

  • Make sure people in your group enjoy it and feel comfortable.

  • As a leader, ask appropriate follow-up questions after people have already responded.

  • Encourage and affirm people when they share vulnerable parts of life.

  • Remember, people usually do not grow in their comfort zone, so push a step further.

  • Allow each person to journey at their own pace.

Leaders, I hope that you have a great season!  As always, if you need anything or have any questions, feel free to call or text Josh.

 

Here are this week’s resources:

Fall 2017, Week 10

Well, leaders, this is the last week of the fall season, and I hope that it has been a great one for you and your group.  For Community Groups as a whole, I feel we made some great strides in all areas:

·         Our average attendance rose from 21 percent of our people being in groups last year at this time to about 33 percent of our people so far this year, using the numbers we have logged for this season. Our goal at this time is still to be above 40 percent, and we moved substantially closer. 

·         Beyond the numbers, I have also heard stories of significant life change and that some real depth and honesty has been going on in groups.  (A down side about groups, though, is that we seldom get to share most of that stuff publicly.) 

·         In many ways, this has been a great season, and it reminds me of just how important all of you are as leaders.  None of the life change, none of the stories, and none of the people who now feel they have a home and belong would be in that place if it were not for the groups and you who have chosen to step forward and lead. 

Your service is a tremendous blessing, and I am very grateful for all that you do, so THANK YOU!  Now please have a great last week, and be sure to take some time to celebrate this season as a group.

Here are this week's resources:

Fall 2017, Week 9

Leaders, we are at week nine and only have one week left after this. Because of that, this is the last week we will have the regular routine with questions and discussion. The hope for week 10 is that the group will take some time to encourage one another and celebrate the growth you have seen in one another--and maybe have some dessert and games if you would like. 

For this week we are talking about how to search and rescue those who have fallen away from the flock. Remember that all of us have turned our backs to varying degrees and that humility is the secret sauce that makes all of this work. Hopefully we get to be a part of some great rescue stories in the near future.

Please share with me at josh@churchonthehill.com any stories and feedback you have heard either from this series or the community group season. We also have both the community group leader survey and the participant survey ready, so please make sure every individual in your group fills one out.  Thank you for the difference you are making in the lives of others.

Here are this week's resources:

Fall 2017, Week 8

Hey, Leaders!  This week Scott will be kicking off our new series “Secret Sauce,” looking at Matthew 18 and talking about the importance of humility. This series will take us through the end of the Fall Community Group season—which is the week of November 12, with actual end date on the 18th.  As usual, the last week of the season will be more of a wrap-up and celebration of the season and not a usual question time. Even with the start of this new series, we are not moving away from the deeper and more personal questions we have transitioned to, so make sure to look at the questions ahead of time so you know how you want to navigate your group for the week. 

 

Please share with me at josh@churchonthehill.com any stories and feedback you have heard either from this series or the community group season. We also have both the community group leader survey and the participant survey ready, so please make sure every individual in your group fills one out.  Thank you for the difference you are making in the lives of others.

Here are this week's resources:

Fall 2017, Week 7

Hey, Leaders!  Don’t forget the CG Leaders’ Meeting this Sunday, October 22, at 9:00 am in the Prayer Room.  In case you’re reading this for the first time, though, after the meeting, I hope that the training on Sunday morning was helpful for you and that you have some good, new ideas on how to be a better listener and ask good follow-up questions. If you were not able to attend the meeting and would like that information, please let me know and we can plan a time to talk through it. 

 

By this point in the season we trust that your groups are feeling connected and that the trust level is fairly high and reflected in your discussions now that we have made the transition to make the questions more personal. You can help your group take the next steps by modeling the vulnerability that we are striving for and by sharing deeply from your life. This is usually the time of the season when groups really start to engage in discussing big things in life, so please be praying for your people and for God’s movement and wisdom as things go deeper. 

 

I hope that you have a great week and get to be a part of God’s amazing work in the life of others even as you also see Him working in yours. Here are this week’s resources.

 

Here are this week's resources:

·  Leader Guide

·  Questions

·  Ideal meeting schedule

·  2017-2018 Community Group Schedule

·  Leader Insights from kickoff training dinner

Fall 2017, Week 6

Hey, Leaders!  As crazy as this is, we are already past the halfway point in the season. I hope that your group members feel like you have grown together and are really working to apply the Bible to daily life. As we are now past the halfway point, we are starting the transition to deeper and more personal questions. Please make sure to take a look at the questions ahead of time and pick out the ones you want to focus on and the ones that would be best for your group to skip over. As a reminder in case you have not looked at the schedule lately, we will have a CG leader meeting on October 22nd during the 9AM service. 

This week is about love being an action and this funny clip from Dan in Real life came to mind. No point with this, other than a good laugh. 

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Have a great group!

Here are this week's resources:

·  Leader Guide

·  Questions

·  Ideal meeting schedule

·  2017-2018 Community Group Schedule

·  Leader Insights from kickoff training dinner

Fall 2017, Week 5

Hey leaders, we are in week five, and I hope your group is going great. This has been a very life-changing series for my group, and I hope it has been the same for yours. Hopefully you have received a call by now, but I want to remind you of the change this season with the addition of coaching for our leaders. We are asking that you use the grow model we have laid out, which will be the foundation for our conversations as the season goes on. The goal is that we will become more strategic and impactful as leaders, so in case you do not remember how we are using the model, I have it laid out below. 

·         G is the week’s Goals.  This is not something the whole group sits down and talks about; it is something you as the leader decides. For example, you might decide that this week you will get Eric more involved and comfortable by having Jose talk to him before group or by asking him his answer to the first ice breaker question. 

·         R is the Reality of the current situation.  You determine how far or close to the goal you are and whether the goal is achievable. 

·         O is for the Obstacles or Opportunities that currently exist.

·         W is the Way forward--the action steps for the week that you will follow up with next week. 

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Have a great group!

Here are this week's resources:

·  Leader Guide

·  Questions

·  Ideal meeting schedule

·  2017-2018 Community Group Schedule

·  Leader Insights from kickoff training dinner

Fall 2017, Week 4

Hey Leaders, now that we are in week four, from this point on our groups will be closed to newcomers, other than new people to the church who are looking for a group. Even in that case you will be contacted, and we will decide if we should add someone to your group at that time.  We do that because the questions are becoming a little more personal and will add more depth to our discussions. Please be mindful of this and take time to ask follow-up questions to push a little deeper. 

This week we plan to get more into the swing of coaching, and either Steve Grizzle or I will be calling you to follow up on how you are doing with your group, using  the GROW model as a basis for our conversation. In case you did not get a call last week, let me explain it:

·         G is the week’s Goals.  This is not something the whole group sits down and talks about; it is something you as the leader decides. For example, you might decide that this week you will get Eric more involved and comfortable by having Jose talk to him before group or by asking him his answer to the first ice breaker question. 

·         R is the Reality of the current situation.  You determine how far or close to the goal you are and whether the goal is achievable. 

·         O is for the Obstacles or Opportunities that currently exist.

·         W is the Way forward--the action steps for the week that you will follow up with next week. 

 

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Have a great group!

Here are this week's resources:

·  Leader Guide

·  Questions

·  Ideal meeting schedule

·  2017-2018 Community Group Schedule

·  Leader Insights from kickoff training dinner

Fall 2017, Week 3

Hey Leaders it is week three so this will be the last week that we still allow open sign ups. From week four on groups are closed to everyone except people who are new to the church and even in that case you will be asked before someone is added to your group. The questions will begin to get a little deeper this week so feel free to skip ones like question six if your group is not ready for it. I am hoping that your groups is going great and that you are enjoying the changeology series. Have a great week!As always please let me know is you have any questions or comments. 

Here are this week's resources:

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Fall 2017, Week 2

Well Leaders, I hope that you had a great first meeting and are looking forward to this next meeting. We will be in this Changeology series for most of this season so because of that we are not going to jump into the deep questions of what do you most want and need to change in your life. Instead we are going to learn the process of how we actually change and to take a slow healthy approach that leads to lifelong changes. So please take your time and make sure your group gets to know each other and builds trust. Obviously your group needs to become a safe place for everyone before they will be willing to talk through any significant things they may need to change. As always please let me know is you have any questions or comments. 

Here are this week's resources:

Fall 2017, Week 1

Leaders we are back! Community Groups are back in session and I don't know about you but I am excited. Apparently you have all been doing an incredible job and and people are starting to understand just how great and impactful groups can be, and because of that glimpse and God moving in people's hearts we have nine new leaders and eight new groups. That is a huge jump for us and great news and any way you look at it in my opinion that increase can be directly linked to all of you as leaders. You all have done a great job and raised the bar for groups and people's lives are changing and others are wanting in. I can not wait to see what this season holds as we keep moving in the right direction.  

Here are this week's resources:

Spring 2017, Week 7

Leaders, This is our last meeting of the season! Hopefully you having a fun get together with your group and taking the time to celebrate and highlight this past season. As we usually do, one of the questions asks for group members to go around and encourage one another. I know that this is not easy to start but I highly encourage giving it a shot as it has an incredible power to bring the group together and also raise the vulnerability, on top of that it encourages people and makes them feel loved and we all could use that.  Finally, if you would please fill out a leader survey to help us as a team get better and have your members fill out a participant survey to help your group get better. I know these are helpful IF they get filled out, but we have had very few filled out so please find a way to make this happen this season. Lastly, if your group decides to do a service project this season, please let me know. I hope this week will be a great meeting and as always please share any highlight stories.   

Here are this week's resources:

 

Spring 2017, Week 6

Leaders, we knew going into this season that it was going to be a short one, but this season has flown by. This week will be pretty packed so be aware of your group time as this will be a really easy one to go over on time. This is the second to last week of the season and it will be the last week with the usual question structure. For the last week we recommend a celebration of some sort whether it be a BBQ or a game night, just something to celebrate and cap off the season that is a fun time. Also this past season my group chose to do a half day service project of going to a elderly woman's house from our church and helping her take care of her yard and clean out her shed. Adding the service element was a huge success for our group and was one of the best things we have done as a group so I highly recommend trying to add one at the end of each season if your group can. Both the fun and service obviously need to be planned ahead so I suggest bringing them up this week to try to plan it or just see if people are into it. If you need suggestions of service projects please ask Susan Ellis sellis@churchonthehill.com or just ask for suggestions from the group. Please feel free to help a group member, sometimes that is the most impactful. Finally, if you would please fill out a leader survey to help us as a team get better and have your members fill out a participant survey to help your group get better. I know these are helpful IF they get filled out, but we have had very few filled out so please find a way to make this happen this season. I hope this week will be a great meeting and as always please share any highlight stories.   

Here are this week's resources:

 

Spring 2017, Week 5

We are in week 5 of our Jesus is ______. series and covering the "Jesus is here" section of the book. This week the book is driving home the point that we are "the one that Jesus loves" and at one point asks how good does God have to be before we will believe He is for us? As leaders we get the chance to push on people the ridiculous love that God has for each one of us and talk about what it means to have the holy spirit with us always. This season is very short and we only have three more meetings including this one so please feel free to dive in and push for depth as the season is already winding down. This should be a great week getting to talk about the fact that we are never alone and have incredible power dwelling within us. I hope you enjoy this week and have a great group! 

Happy Mother's day to all of you Moms. I have a two year old, that means I have an incredible amount of respect for all that it takes to be a Mom.

Here are this week's resources: