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SUMMER PARTIES

Hello Group Hosts!

You all continue to do an amazing job with your groups!  We love seeing how much all the groups are bonding and what a difference you all are making!

This current session on Healing has been amazing!  This session will end on 6/10.  The Summer session won’t start up until July 22, so you have 6 weeks off!  Can you believe it!  I would like all of you to be thinking of what you want to do with your group during this time.  We would like for you to continue to meet, but to do fun things. It is would be awesome if you could do something every other week or even every week. Here are some ideas of things you can do:

  • Find something you can do to serve the community as a group. 
  • Yardwork for elderly person
  • Rotate to each persons home in the group and have a cookout/potluck
  • Go to a park and have picnic
  • Go to Movie in theater or host backyard movie at your house 
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to lunch together after church on a Sunday
  • Game Night
  • Backyard Volleyball
  • Royals Game
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Escape Room
  • Bowling
  • Pool Party

These are just a few ideas for you to think about, but plan what to do with your group during these 6 weeks and make the most of it.  It is important to do fun things as a group.  

Also please continue to send me your attendance each week during this time off.

If there is anything I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Tina

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GROUP HOST - QUESTIONS, ANSWERS, TIPS AND EXPLORATION

GROUP HOSTS VIDEO TOPICS

  • INTRO – 00:00 – 03:03
  • GROUPS VISION (CLARIFYING WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO) – 03:03 – 06:21
  • GROUP SCHEDULES (SUMMER, HOLIDAYS, SEMESTERS, NATURAL BREAKS) – 06:21 – 20:42
  • GROUP VIDEOS (PASTOR TALKS TOO FAST, OVERWHELMING CONTENT) – 20:42 – 24:58
  • GROUP QUESTIONS (QUESTIONS ARE TOO COMPLEX) – 24:58 – 27:07
  • REACHING OUT TO THE GROUP’S NON-ATTENDERS (SHOULD WE CONTINUE?) – 27:07 – 29:34
  • ATTENDERS AND HOST HOME BOUNDARIES (HOW TO HANDLE?) – 29:34 – 32:58
  • NEW PEOPLE & GROUP CHEMISTRY (IMPEDING OUR MOMENTUM) – 32:58 – 37:50
  • GROUP NIGHTS AND ATTENDERS (THEY KEEP CHANGING IT ON US) – 37:50 – 40:11
  • GROUP HOSTS & TAKING THE FULL WORKSHOP – 40:11 – 42:31
  • WRAP UP – 42:31 – 44:09

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LEADING YOURSELF FIRST

Leading others begins with leading yourself. You’re in a unique position to influence the lives of the people in your group. But you have to lead yourself first.

 

DEPEND ON GOD

Self-leading begins with being fully dependent on God. The best leaders have learned how to follow God. They know they are always under his authority. Keep in mind that you’re a steward of what God has entrusted to you—beginning with yourself. Your gifts don’t belong to you and they aren’t there to serve you. God has given them to you so you can use them to serve him. Most important, in order to lead yourself well, you must follow the Holy Spirit. Learn how to let the Spirit lead you. Don’t get out in front of him. This can be tricky (you are, after all, a leader). But it’s important to remember that God is in charge, not you.

 

BE SELF-AWARE

Leading yourself involves knowing yourself. You should be a lifelong student of yourself. If you can’t currently answer the following questions, start moving in the direction where you can.

  • What is your personality type?
  • What are your top three spiritual gifts?
  • What energizes you?
  • What drains you?
  • How do you best connect with God?

In addition to being a lifelong student of yourself, you need to have people in your life who know your weaknesses and struggles and who love you enough to point them out to you. We all have imperfections we can’t see. The remedy is a trusted circle of friends to hold us accountable.

Leaning into other people isn’t enough, though. On a regular basis, you need to ask God to reveal your faults, to refine you, and to make you more and more like Jesus (Ps 139:23-24).

 

BE INTENTIONAL

To lead yourself well, you have to be intentional—you have to do something. All self-leaders do five things:

  1. BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND. Self-leaders have a vision for the kind of people they want to be and they pursue that vision.
  2. ACTIVELY LEARN. Self-leaders recognize that they’re responsible for their spiritual development. They explore and discover. They’re curious.
  3. PRACTICE REST. Self-leaders make time to reflect and recharge. They maintain a sustainable pace.
  4. PURSUE HEALTH. Self-leaders take the necessary steps to become or remain physically, emotionally, and relationally healthy.
  5. LEAD FROM THE INSIDE OUT. Self-leaders recognize they can never rise above the limits of their own characters. They cultivate integrity and moral authority by maintaining harmony between what they say and how they live.

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LEADING THE GROUP DISCUSSION

You probably have a mental picture of what it will look like to lead—what you’ll say and how group members will respond. Before you get too far into planning, there are some things you should know about leading a small group discussion.

 

CULTIVATE DISCUSSION

It’s easy to assume that a group meeting lives or dies based on the quality of your ideas. That’s not true. It’s the ideas of everyone in the group that make a small group meeting successful. Your role is to create an environment in which people feel safe to share their thoughts. That’s how relationships will grow and thrive among your group members.

Here’s a basic truth about spiritual growth within the context of community: the study materials aren’t as important as the relationships through which those materials take practical shape in the lives of the group members. The more meaningful the relationships, the more meaningful the study. The best materials in the world won’t change lives in a sterile environment.

 

POINT TO THE MATERIAL

A good host or hostess creates an environment where people can connect relationally. He or she knows when to help guests connect and when to stay out of the way when those connections are happening organically. As a small group leader, sometimes you’ll simply read a discussion question and invite everyone to respond. The conversation will take care of itself. At other times, you may need to encourage group members to share their ideas. Remember, some of the best insights will come from the people in your group. Go with the flow, but be ready to nudge the conversation in the right direction when necessary.

 

APPROACHING THE MATERIAL WITH FRESH PERSPECTIVES

We’ve carefully designed this study for your small group. We’ve written the materials and designed the questions to elicit the kinds of conversations we think will be most helpful to your group members. That doesn’t mean you should stick rigidly to the materials. Knowing when to depart from them is more art than science, but no one knows more about your group than you do.

The stories, questions, and exercises are here to provide a framework for exploration. But different groups have different chemistries and different motivations. Sometimes the best way to start a small group discussion is to ask, “Does anyone have a personal insight you’d like to share from this week’s material?” Then sit back and listen.

 

STAY ON TRACK

This is the flip side to the previous point. There’s an art to facilitating an engaging conversation. While you want to leave space for group members to think through the discussion, you also need to keep your objectives in mind. Make sure the discussion is contributing to the bottom line for the week. Don’t let the discussion veer off into tangents. Interject politely in order to refocus the group.

 

PRAY

This is the most important thing you can do as a leader. The best leaders get out of God’s way and let him communicate through them. Remember: books don’t teach God’s Word; neither do sermons or discussion groups. God speaks into the hearts of men and women. Prayer is a vital part of communicating with him. Pray for your group members. Pray for your own leadership. Pray that God is not only present at your group meetings, but is directing them.

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HOSTING MEETINGS TIPS

Traits of a HOST certainly influence a Group’s conversation. Facilitating rather than teaching allows the leader to encourage all members to discuss what they are learning. Leaders who facilitate well: 

  • Are not afraid or offended by a Group member’s input that is troubling or “out of left field.” 
  • Are prepared for difficult questions and discussions but limit their own opinions and input. 
  • Understand that they should be talking only 20 percent of the time at most.  
  • Encourage others to share, listen attentively when others speak, and are affirming. 

 

Asking great questions is the best way for leaders to create conversational environments. This was Christ’s example. Throughout his ministry, he was asked many questions and responded with few answers. Instead of answering, he questioned. Jesus knew that a great question forces people to consider the truth, think about their own experiences, and reflect. 

Tips: 

  • Ask open-ended questions, not those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. 
  • Ask questions that evoke feelings, make people think, and lead to insights. 
  • Ask questions that have more than one right answer. 
  • Ask questions that encourage personal examples. 
  • Ask questions that stimulate others to apply what they are learning. 

Responding to questions by promoting participation from the whole Group and asking good follow-up questions engages everyone. Responses should connect questions to the topics; allow the leaders and others to admit their own personal struggles; and encourage self-discovery by allowing group members to arrive at conclusions for themselves. 

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GROUP HOSTING IDEAS

While there’s no formula guaranteeing a successful Group, here are some tips for the first three months so you can get your Group off to a great start.

 

FIRST MEETING

  • Take five minutes at the end of the meeting to tell the Group what excites you about where the Group is headed.
  • Make sure everyone knows what day you’re meeting, what time, and where.
  • Ask someone in your Group to collect and share everyone’s contact info, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
  • Reminder:  Take a few minutes prior to the arrival of your Group members to pray for the evening.

 

First Month:

  • Complete the Group Agreement together.
  • Meet one-on-one with a least one Group member or couple this month.
  • You might plan an overnight retreat with your Group during the first six months.
  • Reminder: Consistently pray for your Group members by name.

 

Second Month:

  • Share life stories.
  • Take a few minutes to share your excitement to learn this Semester’s Workshop topic with the Group
  • Start talking about your next study.
  • Meet one-on-one with at least one Group member or couple this month.
  • Reminder:  The most important thing you can do as a leader is to stay connected to God through regular, personal quiet times.

 

Third Month:

  • Set up your first community service opportunity (at the end of the semester).
  • Continue talking about the next Semester Workshop Topic.
  • Let someone else lead the discussion at the meeting.
  • Meet one-on-one with at least one Group member or couple this month.
  • Reminder: Invite someone wiser to pour into you on a consistent basis.

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