Frequently Asked Questions
A Growth Group is a home fellowship made up of 10-16 people who meet weekly to share, study and support one another. A trained leader and host lead each group. An average meeting lasts for an hour and a half, followed by light refreshments.
Here at North Coast Church, Growth Groups are the hub of our ministry. They're the place where the real ministry of the church takes place as we study God's Word, while supporting and sharing our lives with one another. We believe that meeting together on a regular basis is time well spent. Our goal each year is to have at least 80% of our adults involved on a weekly basis. It's a mark we've been able to hit every year since we began Growth Groups in 1983.
Growth Groups meet on various nights of the week in homes throughout North County and beyond. Most evening groups meet 7-9 pm. The daytime groups meeting times vary.
Each Growth Group session lasts 9 to 11 weeks. We have Fall, Winter & Spring sessions. At the end of each session, you will have the choice of staying in the same group, trying a new group or even taking a break. Most groups stay together throughout the entire year. Growth Groups do not meet mid-June through August.
Joining a Growth Group requires a 9 to 11 week commitment to attend weekly meetings and do the homework ahead of time. Obviously, allowances are made for sickness, vacation, work conflicts and other special events, but not much more. This commitment is the key to a strong Growth Group. You have the first three weeks to attend the group to make sure it's a good fit for you.
Most of the studies are based on the previous weekend's message. These "sermon-based" Growth Groups are built on what we call a "Lecture-Lab" model. Imagine the weekend message as a lecture on Christian living, and the Growth Group as a lab where you get to roll up your sleeves and discuss how the weekend's message works in real life. Each week there will be a series of Bible passages and questions on the back of the sermon note sheet to study before the meeting . It will usually take 20 to 40 minutes per week to complete the homework.
Few things in life are free and Growth Groups are no exception! The cost of Growth Groups is the cost of commitment. During the first meeting, each group will complete a "covenant" together. This simple form helps each group discuss their priorities and commitment. Part of that commitment is the promise to attend each week and to complete the homework as well as to attend the quarterly social and do one service project for the year. You have the first three weeks to decide if your group is a good fit for you.
When you join a Growth Group, you're promising to attend and be prepared each week. It's this commitment that makes Growth Groups work. We realize it's a big commitment, but it only lasts for 9 - 11 weeks. At the end of each quarter, you have the choice of recommitting for another quarter, trying a new group, or taking a break from Growth Groups altogether.
Growth Groups are for adults only. (Exceptions can be made for nursing newborns, up to six months.) We leave it up to each family to work out their own child care. Sometimes it works best for families to share a sitter or to swap child care with another family whose Growth Group meets on a different evening. We have child care available at the Vista campus on Thursday nights (6:30-9:30 PM). The cost is $14 for the first child, $14 for the second, with a $32 maximum charge per family.
Child care is also available for the Tuesday morning Arise groups that meet at the Vista campus, at the Wednesday & Thursday morning REAL Women groups that meet at the Carlsbad campus, and at the Thursday morning Women's Study groups that meet at the San Marcos/Escondido campus.
Use our Child Care Registration Form to let us know that you plan to use the child care service.
When selecting a group, we strongly recommend you choose a group based on its leader-host team and Station-in-Life (common stage in life), rather than its location. Over the years, we've found that groups do best when members share a common Station-in-Life and other interests with their leaders, hosts, and other group members. In the end, you'll find it's worth the drive!
Our groups are divided in the following Station-in-Life groupings: Singles, Young Marrieds, Young Families, Parents of Children K-6, Parents of Teens, Empty Nest, Senior Adults, Young Adults, Inter-generational groups (General), etc. Remember, these Station-in-Life groupings are intentionally kept fuzzy and are meant to help you self-select an appropriate group for you. They are not intended to box you in.
If you have any questions (especially if you are new to North Coast Church), please don't hesitate to call the church, and we will gladly assist you. Keep in mind that it might take two or three groups before you find the perfect fit, but don't worry, you'll find it!
Before each Growth Group quarter begins there are three ways to sign up for a group - online, at our weekend services, or by calling the church office. During the weekend services, Growth Group staff members and pastors are available at the sign-up booths to help you choose a group and answer any questions. Booklets are available at the booths with general information about each Station-in-Life, and the weekend bulletins contain a "Quick Guide" to available Growth Groups. There are three sign-up weekends before the beginning of our Fall Quarter in September, and two sign-up weekends before our Winter Quarter in January and our Spring Quarter in April.
We also offer "Intro Growth Groups" which run for three weeks and begin in August, November and March. These groups are designed for people new to Growth Groups who would like to find out how they work and what they are all about. We also offer "Summer Connections Groups" for three weeks in July.
You can call the Growth Group office at any time to speak to Growth Group staff members who can assist you in finding and signing up for a group, or answer any questions at (760) 724-6700.
Yes, our High School and Jr. High ministries both offer small groups for students. Although these groups are not included in this publication, they are very important to our church. For more information about Junior High or High School groups, please contact our Church Office at (760) 724-6700 or email [email protected].