Leader’s Guide to Growth Group Homework

For the week of September 24, 2017
(This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

REAL MAN WEEKEND -- OCTOBER 27-29
This is a great opportunity for the guys in your Growth Group to get connected. Getting away for an entire weekend together facilitates connections that typically take months to realize. You can sign up online using your credit card, mail in your registration, or drop it off at the church office with your deposit during the week. Just write “Attention: Men’s Weekend” on your envelope. Cost ranges from $165-$189, depending on which rooms are chosen. There are also two special discounts on standard rooms: a “4 Friends” option and a “Father/Son” option. Chris Brown will be our speaker.   – see back of the guide for more details.

⇛ BEGIN TO MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR SOCIAL & SERVICE PROJECT
Begin to think about what project you would like to do. Check our website for some options - northcoastcommunityservice.org

LEADERS NOTES

⇛ Review Covenant
Go over the Covenant with anyone who missed the first week. Remind anyone who hasn’t signed the Covenant to do so. Email it to your growth group admin, turn it in by mail, or drop it off at the office or Growth Group box at the Info Booth on your campus by Sun, Oct. 8.

⇛ Special Note About Week #2
Remember we’re on week #2 with your group. People are still acclimating, especially any new people. Lead your group through the questions according to how well everyone knows each other. There are plenty of questions in this guide to take you deeper. And remember, as a leader your goal each night is to lead your group in such way that you hear from everyone and use the Bible as your guide. Know that if you do this each week the people in your group will grow! Remember you don’t need to cover all questions.  Great conversation is far more important than covering all the questions.

⇛ Prayer Note
Check out the Tips on Group Prayer on the back of this Leader’s Guide. If you have new people in your group, please make sure you go over this. And NEVER make someone pray. Group prayer is similar to public speaking, which is the #1 fear people have. More than once we’ve had people tell us they quit Growth Group because a well-intentioned person required everyone to pray.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

*Side Note: Any time we talk about parenting and upbringings we need to be sensitive to the fact people in the group may have had a negative or abusive upbringing and some may not have parents.

1. This weekend we heard there are two extremes in parenting: “Head in the Sand” and “Easily Panicked.” What few words would you use to describe the type of parenting style you experienced while growing up?

This question has some risk but is a good way to get to know the group better.
Additional Question: How do you think your kids would describe your parenting style?

 

2. Can you think of anything you were taught by your parents or parental figures that made an impact on you and that you want to pass on?

This question also has some risk but is a good question for getting to know each other better.

 

Are there any traditions from your upbringing that you still practice today?

This could involve religion, holidays, events, following sports teams, trips, TV shows, movies etc.
Additional Question: Were you raised with any religious beliefs? How was spirituality addressed? 

 

3. Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?

DIGGING DEEPER

1. Larry reminded us that children tend to follow our example more than the words we say. Yet often we spend more time talking to or at people with less focus on the example we’re setting. Galatians 5:22-23 gives us a list of things we can practice to set a good example for those closest to us. As you read through each fruit of the Spirit, pick 3 or 4 of them to write down and give an example of how you could demonstrate each of them to your children, friends or family.

 

Galatians 5:22-23 - 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance (other versions use “long suffering”), Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control

E.g. – Peace: Work on deescalating fights between the kids  

E.g. – Self-Control: Focus on not yelling when angry

E.g. – Love: Text my wife “I love you” a few times a week

Additional verse on self-control: Proverbs 25:28

Additional Questions: Which fruit is most important for you to focus on? How would you describe the importance of the fruit of the spirit to someone else?

  

Go back through the fruit of the Spirit and number them from 1-9 in terms of which fruit you’re practicing the most (1) and which needs the most work (9). 

2. Discipline can be a very polarizing topic with almost every parent having a different view. The good news is God is pretty specific about how and why he disciplines his children. What insight does Hebrews 12:4-11 give and how can that help us in our own parenting (future parenting or grand parenting)?

 

Hebrews 12:4-11 - 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

God wants to shape us as his children to help us become more holy. God’s discipline helps us become more useful for His purposes. Loving our own children means making hard choices that help shape their character more than make them happy. Our children will have many friends but only one set of parents.

“God has a purpose for training you. Think of David after a lion attacked when he was just a boy tending the sheep. He could easily despair and ask, “Why did God allow such a terrible thing to happen to me? I barely escaped!” But if David could see ahead, he could see God had a giant named Goliath he was destined to face, and the battle with the lion prepared him ahead of time. God always has a purpose. We can trust Him.” –Guzik

Additional Verses: Hebrews 6:8, Proverbs 3:11-12, Proverbs 10:17
Additional Question: Often times the way we were disciplined directly affects how we discipline our own children. How have you seen that play out in your own life?

 

What’s your first response to the idea that God disciplines those he loves?

How does this verse align or differ from your own experience of discipline while growing up?  

3. No matter how we may have hurt people in the past, we have an opportunity to seek forgiveness today and heal relationships. Unfortunately, many of us seeking forgiveness use statements such as “I’m sorry” which risks little vulnerability (eg. “whatever I did I’m sorry”) and seldom brings healing. On the flip side, asking someone to forgive us is incredibly vulnerable and often opens the door to genuine healing. How might the verses below help those truly seeking someone’s forgiveness?

 

Matthew 5:23-24 - 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

This verse prioritizes our need to seek forgiveness from those we may have wronged.

 

James 5:16 - 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Admitting what you have done wrong or how you’ve hurt someone is a huge component of healing. Pray for those you have hurt and if possible with those you’ve hurt.

 

Romans 14:19 - 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

I love this reminder to pursue peace and to build others up. Can you imagine how relationships would change and healing would take place if we were doing this more often!?

 

Ephesians 4:32 - 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Be kind and compassionate, forgiving and seeking forgiveness not to our standard but to God’s. Remembering we’ve been forgiven should change our view on forgiveness with others.

 

How comfortable do you feel asking for forgiveness when in the wrong on a continuum from never to sometimes to always? 

This question may be hard for people to answer.

Additional Question: How did your family apologize when growing up? Can you think of any times you had to seek someone’s forgiveness? Any times someone had to seek your forgiveness?

 

TAKING IT HOME

As you think through this week’s teaching and homework, is there anything you’d like to work on to help you set a better example to family or friends in the upcoming weeks? 

TIPS ON GROUP PRAYER

Prayer is an important part of being in Growth Group. Over the years we've found that group prayer goes better when we follow three simple guidelines.

WE PRAY FOR ONE TOPIC AT A TIME - Anyone in the group is free to introduce a prayer request either before prayer begins or during the prayer time. Once a topic is introduced, the group focuses on that request alone. Once it's covered, the group moves on to the next topic.

PRAY MORE THAN ONCE - Because the group is focusing on one topic at a time, each person is encouraged to pray several times during the prayer time for those topics they feel most led to pray about. No one is required to pray.

WE KEEP OUR PRAYERS SHORT AND SIMPLE - Group prayer goes better when members keep their prayers short and to the point. When someone prays for a long time, it's hard for the other members to stay focused and long prayers tend to intimidate those who are just learning to pray out loud in a group. No one’s required to pray out loud. 

REAL MAN WEEKEND
“The Palomar Experience”- Oct. 27-29

Lookin’ for some crazy guy stuff to do? Want to kick back or get refocused on God? Join us for another epic man’s weekend that will get you recharged and refreshed as Chris Brown leads us into a look at what a real man is and isn't! The weekend will also include plenty of man event options like paintball, high ropes course, skeet shooting, archery, zipline, horseback riding, etc. Space is limited so don’t delay! Register online today!