What's Coming Up for our Community Group Year?

Here are 3 quick reminders as we prepare for our fall Community Group trimester beginning on September 16th:


Group Leader Kick-off Training. Sunday Night, September 9th, 5:00PM-7:15PM

  • Our Group Leader Kickoff Training events have received a name, "RE:GROUP".  We'll refer to these events as "RE:GROUP" going forward. 

  • You will be receiving an RSVP email shortly.

  • WHO SHOULD WE INVITE? Do you have any potential group leaders you'd like to invite to Kick-off? Email or text your coach their names so we can send them the RSVP invite email.

2. Fall Group Trimester Dates

September 16th - November 17th

3. Is your Group changing? 

  • Let your group coach know if your group has any changes as we move toward the fall:

    • New/Different Leaders?

    • New Night?

    • New Location?

    • New Campus?

    • Multiplication?

    • Roster Updates?

  • We'd be happy to update your groups profile online and help you think through these changes. You can also make these changes on our Groups Database: Group Vitals.

What questions do you have as we approach the fall? Please let us know.

We hope you are enjoying the summer break and getting a chance to cool off on this 91 degree day!

Additional Resources:

Why Summer Is Danger For You and Your Group

10 Simple Ideas To Connect With Your Group This Summer

4 Phases of Healthy Multiplication (Breakout Audio/Notes)

Do You Have A Question?

We would love to be of assistance to you.  Reply to this email or check outNorthridgeLeaders.com to find Group Trimester dates, curriculum options, leader tips, group forms, sermon discussion questions, past leader training content, and much more!


 Jason DeGraaff

Community Groups Pastor

Life is better connected!

A New Video Resource For You and Your Group

As a Community Group Leader at Northridge we wanted you to be the first to know and have access to an amazing new resource for you, your family, and your group.

Watch this video from me and Drew Karschner to learn more.

Have any questions? Let us know.

Thanks for all you do to help your group members grow deeper in their relationship with God and each other.

We believe this resource will be a valuable tool to help us each grow in our faith!

Jason DeGraaff
Community Groups Pastor
Life is Better Connected


3 Important Community Group Updates

As we near the end of our winter Community Group trimester (March 17th) here are a few details to help you plan ahead.


At the beginning of the trimester we shared that we'd like all Community Groups to celebrate communion in their group at the end of our trimester.  As you plan ahead for which week works best for you, we wanted to let you know we will also be celebrating communion in our Night of Worship service on Sunday night, March 4th at 6:00PM.  

Communion Supplies: 

If you would be interested in using the same Prefilled Communion Cups

we use in our services, we purchased a limited supply.  They will be available at the info center at your campus the next few Sundays.

Communion Instructions: 

HERE is our communion instructions guide to help you prepare for communion in your group.


As we mentioned last Sunday, we will be hosting an Open Baptism service at Northridge on Sunday, March 11th. This will be a great opportunity for those who have been putting off baptism to take that step. Those getting baptized won't be required to record a baptism video.

As a Leader, we would encourage you to ask everyone in your group if they have been baptized, and if not, encourage them to take that step. This may also be a great opportunity to find out if you have any group members who have yet to cross the line of faith.

If you as a Group Leader have not yet been baptized, then this is your opportunity to lead by example for your Community Group.

You and your group members can preregister for the baptism service HERE.

Membership Class

One of the requirements of Community Group Leadership is membership. The way we talk about it in our Leader Application and New Leader Orientation is that you either need to be a member, or on your way to membership in the next 6 months.

If you are Group Leader but not yet a member, this is your next step. 

Our next Membership Class for each campus is on Sunday, March 25th from 12-2PM.

You can preregister for the Membership Class HERE.

Here are a few additional resources you may find helpful:

9 Ideas To Change Up Group This Week

Is your group in a rut? Here are 9 ideas to mix things up and reengage your group.

7 Reasons Community Groups Lose Momentum

How do you keep your group from losing momentum? Here are 7 group momentum killers to avoid.

Help With Timing Issues

We can demonstrate a respect for the people in our group by showing respect for their time in a tangible way: by starting and ending on time.

Do You Have A Question?

We would love to be of assistance to you.  Contact Your Coach or search this website to find group trimester dates, curriculum options, leader tips, group forms, sermon discussion questions, past leader training content, and much more!


Jason DeGraaff

Community Groups Pastor

Life is better connected!

Community Groups ABCs Logo Not Words.png

Why Confronting Is Showing Love And How To Do It Well

This Group Leader article was written by Nancy Simmonds who serves on staff at Northridge as a Community Group Coach, Counselor, and our Webster Kids Director. Nancy shares highlights from a counseling article on confrontation I think you'll find helpful as you care for your group members.

In a recent issue of the Journal of Biblical Counseling, J. Alasdair Groves shares why confronting someone about their sin is actually the most loving thing to do. He goes on to share some guidelines on when to confront and when not to, as well as how to confront lovingly for the good of the other person.

Here are some highlights from this article:

  • The Bible is clear that confronting can be a "vital element of love."
  • "Refusing to confront a fellow sinner stumbling toward destruction is not kindness, politeness, or being non-judgmental; it is selfishness. It places our desire to avoid discomfort ahead of the good of another person."
  • We have natural tendencies to lean either away from or toward confrontation: 
    • Some of us are hesitant to confront but we often end up judging from a distance, gossiping, avoiding the person or just pretending the problem doesn't exist.
    • Some of us appear to thrive on confrontation, always ready to put others in their place. We can be full of harsh words, leave a string of broken relationships in our wake, and can be short on grace. 

No matter what direction you lean, Alasdair shares some helpful insights on how to confront well.

When Should You Confront? 

NOT every time. We are all sinners in need of a savior and we need to humbly remember that! At each opportunity we have a choice to let love cover the offense OR confront the offender.

When To Cover: 

 "The vast majority of our responses to sin ought to fall into the category of covering an offense." Covering means continuing in the relationship without making an issue of their sin.

When To Confront:

Confront when it is causing significant harm to the offender's relationship to you or others. However, you may want to ask these questions first:

  • How close is your relationship?
  • Who else is in their life that could speak into the issue?
  • How big of a problem is it?

How Should You Confront?

Here are 10 ways to confront (from least to most forceful):

  1. The first step is to prepare your own heart, NOT think about what you want to say! Loving confrontation is always gentle and focused on the other's good. 

  2. Ask genuine questions that invite self-reflection, not judgmental leading questions.

  3. Encourage them in what they are already doing about the problem.

  4. Show compassion for other's temptations.

  5. Exhort - urge them to pursue God-pleasing behaviors and attitudes.

  6. Express concern - describe the behavior and your concern.

  7. Warn - call attention to specific negative consequences of their behavior.

  8. Plead - appealing to the relationship that the two of you have.

  9. Rebuke - name the problem, call it wrong and insist it stop.

  10. Pull back - change how you relate to the unrepentant person.

Ultimately, the aim in confrontation is help the other person repent - turning from their sinful ways to God's ways for God's glory and their good! 

If you found this helpful and you want more details, you can download J. Alasdair Groves's article for $1.99 here: Nine Ways to Confront in Love, A Primer for the Timid.

  Nancy Simmonds    Community Groups Coach

Nancy Simmonds

Community Groups Coach


Here are a few additional resources you may find helpful:

How to Have "The Talk:" Overcoming the Dread and Delay of Crucial Conversations (Breakout)

This breakout will give you tools and approaches that prepare for emotionally charged conversations. It will introduce strategies to transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue, making it safe to talk about almost anything, so you can be persuasive without being abrasive.

How To Address Unhealthy Dating Relationships (Breakout)

What do you do when someone in your group makes a bad relationship decision? Whether it is dating an unbeliever, living with their boyfriend, sleeping with their girlfriend, or dating while in the process of getting a divorce. This breakout will give you a Biblical framework for how to think about these issues and practical steps on how to carefully address them with the members of your group.

Discipleship & Counseling Training (Northridge Equip Class - Begins March 3rd)

This ten week training will teach you how to compassionately and skillfully use God's word to help people grow and change for God's glory, whether through casual conversations, mentoring, leading a group, discipleship, or counseling.

Do You Have A Question?

We would love to be of assistance to you.  Contact your Group Coach HERE or search our website to find other counseling resources, Group Trimester dates, curriculum options, leader tips, group forms, sermon discussion questions, past leader training content, and much more!

Community Groups ABCs Logo Not Words.png

How Do You Know If You Are Succeeding As A Leader?

At our Group Leader Kickoff on Sunday, January 7th, we addressed an important question we as leaders should know how to answer, "How do you know if you are succeeding as a Group Leader?"

Community Group ABCs Logo and Letters Square.png

In short, we know we are succeeding when we are helping our Group Members experience Biblical Community - aka the ABCs: Applying the Bible, Building relationships, and Caring for each other.

Whenever we see our group members living out the ABC's, that is success!

The best way to help our Group Members live out the ABC's is by practicing the 6 Group Leader Essentials (See below). These are 6 essentials that we as leaders can't go without!

Which of these 6 Essentials do you need to work on? Identify one, review it, and make a goal to improve this trimester.

Group Leader Kickoff Training Recap

Lead Pastor Drew Karschner shares with our Group Leaders about some of the stories about what God has been doing at Northridge as well as sharing upcoming sermon series and events that would be helpful for Group Leaders as they plan ahead for the Community Group Trimester.
How do you know if you are succeeding as a Group Leader? In this talk, our Community Group Pastor Jason DeGraaff answers how to know if we are succeeding as a leader and introduces the Group Leader Essentials we as a Group Leaders can't go without if we are going to be successful.
In this video Andy Woodall talks about the importance of Pursuing Christ as our #1 Group Leader Essential. This is 1 of 6 Group Leader Essentials that we believe Group Leaders can't go without.
In this video Nate Miller talks about the importance of Cultivating Relationship as our 2nd Group Leader Essential. This is 1 of 6 Group Leader Essentials that we believe Group Leaders can't go without.
In this video Nancy Simmonds talks about the importance of Promoting Participation as our 3rd Group Leader Essential. This is 1 of 6 Group Leader Essentials that we believe Group Leaders can't go without.
In this video Aaron Hixson talks about the importance of Modeling Authenticity as our 4th Group Leader Essential. This is 1 of 6 Group Leader Essentials that we believe Group Leaders can't go without.
In this video Brad Files talks about the importance of Providing Care as our 5th Group Leader Essential. This is 1 of 6 Group Leader Essentials that we believe Group Leaders can't go without.
In this video Mark Nelson talks about the importance of Replacing Yourself as our 6th Group Leader Essential. This is 1 of 6 Group Leader Essentials that we believe Group Leaders can't go without.

Here are a few additional resources you may find helpful:

Why and How To Share Facilitiation

Here are 3 tips on sharing facilitation and a 1 page guide and suggested email for 1st time facilitators.

How Do You Get People To Show Up To Your Group?

While we can't control people or make decisions for them, here are 2 steps that will help move people from your group roster to your living room.

Tough One: Handling The Person Who Refuses To Change

Admit it! There are times as a leader you are frustrated with an individual who you feel you've poured loads of energy and attention into, but who doesn't seem particularly interested in changing. In this breakout we will explore how to handle those who show little or no progress in their spiritual lives.

Serving Opportunity

Red Cross Blood Drive at Northridge (Irondequoit Campus)

Saturday, January 27th, 8:00AM-3:00PM

The Community Group with the most donors will win tickets to a Red Wings game. 

Do You Have A Question?

We would love to be of assistance to you. Contact your Group Coach HERE.

  Jason DeGraaff    Community Groups Pastor     Life Is Better Connected

Jason DeGraaff

Community Groups Pastor

Life Is Better Connected

Community Groups ABCs Logo Not Words.png

Group Social Media Contest Reminder + Christmas-Gram From Your Coaches

Don't forget the Community Group Christmas Contest

Post a Christmas picture on Facebook or Instagram with your Community Group between December 10th-23rd using hashtag #ChristmasWithMyGroup and tagging @NorthridgeRoc.

Christmas Community Group Option 3.jpg

We will have 3 prizes. Your group can win one of the following categories by being the group with the: 

1. Most Creative Post

2. Most People Included in a Picture

3. Most Liked Post

So, start planning now for how your group can win.

Looking for ways to connect or serve together?

Check out our last Group Leader blog HERE for 10 Christmas Gathering ideas and 7 Serving Ideas.

Jason DeGraaff 3.PNG

Jason DeGraaff

Community Groups Pastor

Life is Better Connected

Christmas Contest + Christmas Social and Serving Ideas

As we move into our winter Community Group break, we would encourage your group to stay connected before our new group trimester begins on January 14th. 

The holiday season can be a challenging time as many of us interact with broken families, as we are reminded of friends and family that are no longer with us, as we face unique temptations, and as we deal with the anxiety that comes along with this season.

Group may be on break, but our relationships shouldn't. In fact, we may need each other during the holidays more than ever. 

As you celebrate the holidays, we'd love for your group to participate in our Community Group Christmas Contest by sharing your group experience with us and your friends.

Community Group Christmas Contest

Christmas Community Group Option 3.jpg

Post a Christmas picture on Facebook or Instagram with your Community Group between December 10th-23rd using hashtag #ChristmasWithMyGroup and tagging @NorthridgeRoc.

We will have 3 prizes. Your group can win one of the following categories by being the group with the: 

1. Most Creative Post

2. Most People Included in a Picture

3. Most Liked Post

So, start planning now for how your group can win.

What are some Christmas ideas for your group to connect together?

10 Group Christmas Ideas

  • Have a gingerbread house building contest with hot cocoa and Christmas music.

  • Watch a Christmas movie like "Elf," "It's A Wonderful Life," or "The Nativity."

  • Make and give away Christmas cookies.

  • Go caroling.

  • Get outdoors - skiingsleddinghiking, or have a snowball fight.

  • Go ice skating downtown.

  • Bring your kids to see Santa at the mall and grab a meal together.

  • Attend a Christmas concert.

  • Sit together at the Christmas Eve service (see times HERE).

  • Serve together (See ideas below).

Connect with your co-leaders and set a date on your calendar this weekthen you can start brainstorming with your group what your Christmas celebrations might look like.

Looking for a serving Idea?

7 Group Serving Opportunities

  • Open Door Mission

    Fill out a volunteer inquiry form for Open Door Mission to find out more about their seasonal serving opportunities. https://opendoormission.com/getinvolved/

  • Basketball Tournament

    Youth For Christ is hosting a Christmas basketball tournament and can use volunteers to help run the event and participate. www.northridgeserves.com/blog/trunk-or-treat-and-a-christmas-basketball-tournament

  • Christmas Basket Giveaway

    Mission Share has Christmas related service opportunities such as their Christmas basket giveaways and their Christmas Hope Gifts Program. Northridger Patrick can help you find out more details and connect: www.northridgeserves.com/our-team/patrick

  • Pack Hygiene Kits

    Pack hygiene bags for Supports on the Streets or hygiene/cleaning kits for Genesis House with a Christmas themed twist (such as including Christmas cards for those receiving the bags). Contact Allie for Supports on the Streets (http://www.northridgeserves.com/our-team/homelessness) and Leanne for Genesis House (http://www.northridgeserves.com/our-team/youth).

  • Christmas Carols and Cookies for neighbors

    You can put together some cookies or other goodies as a group and pass them out to your neighbors and optionally sing Christmas carols too.

  • Kids Care For Northridge Youth Ministry

    NYM provides childcare each week on Wednesday nights for our volunteer youth leaders. You and your group can take care of a group of children from infant to 6 years old. Contact Justin Laskowski for more info: jlaskowski@NorthridgeRochester.com 

  • Serve at Northridge

    Contact your Campus Pastor or the Ministry Leader in the area you already serve to find out what opportunities Northridge has for Christmas Eve or the holidays.

Enjoy the break. Get some rest. Have fun connecting. I look forward to seeing your Christmas posts! #ChristmasWithMyGroups

See you January 7th at 5PM for our Group Leader Mid-Year Kickoff and some Outlaw Baked Potatoes!

  Jason DeGraaff    Community Groups Pastor    Life Is Better Connected

Jason DeGraaff

Community Groups Pastor

Life Is Better Connected


The Top 2 Things Group Members Wish Were Different About Your Group

Every June we send out an end-of-the-year Community Group survey to all of our Community Group members and leaders.  You have probably filled out one of these surveys. This survey provides valuable feedback so we can improve our group environments.

We take all of the results of the survey and summarize the comments to look for trends we should address.

I wanted to share with you the top 2 issues group attendees wished were different about their group.

#1 - More Social Gatherings

This was the number one thing group members wished was different about their group. 

One of the most significant ways to increase our influence in another person's life is by developing a closer friendship with them.  

We can't be best friends with everyone in group, but the more opportunities we take as a group to connect with each other, the more people will feel like they belong. When belonging grows people are more likely to participate and share what is really happening in their lives.

What is one thing your group can do to develop deeper connections outside of group?

- A guys or girls night or breakfast
- A Thanksgiving dinner
- A Christmas party
- Serving together (www.NorthridgeServes.com)
- Grabbing lunch after Sunday services
- Checking out a local venue like Radio Social

Put a date on your calendar now before the your holiday calendar fills up.

#2 - Starting and Ending On Time

This is the second most common issue that group members wish was different about their group. 

When someone shows up to group and they are unsure when it is going to end, they may be less likely to attend the following week. They may have to get up early for work or school, the kids need to get to bed, they have homework they need to finish up, or maybe they just want to get home to watch their favorite show. Whatever the case, this is a frequent frustration group members feel.

What can you do to better ensure your group starts and ends on time?

- Agree on the starting and ending time and remind your group regularly throughout the trimester.
- Set a schedule for group: When should everyone show up, and when to start and end the icebreaker, group discussion, and prayer time.
- Ask a group member to be a time keeper with the agreed upon schedule.
- Break into smaller prayer groups so you don't need to get through as many prayer requests.
- Try using prayer cards to keep group prayer time focused.

What does your group need to work on? 
What have you found helpful for your group to connect together or start and end on time?  
We'd love to learn from you!  

  Jason DeGraaff    Community Groups Pastor    Life is Better Connected

Jason DeGraaff

Community Groups Pastor

Life is Better Connected


More Resources You May Find Helpful

How to Get the Most Out of Your Prayer Time in Groups

It could be the all-night rambling. Maybe it's the complaining or the disguised gossiping. It might be the avoiding. It's certainly being contributed to by the chatting. And if we don't end on time, we can be relatively certain that those oh-so-spiritually-postured eyelids mean half of the group has fallen asleep.

Have you been frustrated with prayer time in your community group? I sure have. It can be hard as leaders to reign people in and foster God-honoring, sin-stomping, soul-working, growth-producing prayer time. How do we get there?

Enter: Community Group Prayer and Application Cards.

These cards help promote:

  • Spiritual Growth -- We  stay focused on application of the group's discussion and intentional work towards heart-change.

  • Purposeful Prayer -- Our time gets guarded, everyone has a chance to share, and out-loud prayer becomes easier for those new to it.

  • Group Unity -- We have more specific things to pray for and connect with each other about during the week.

How to Use the Prayer and Application Cards:

  1. Fill Them Out

    • When you break for prayer time, hand out the cards and give the group a few minutes to think quietly about how they're going to apply the last question from the group discussion to their lives.

    • Everyone writes their application and how the group can pray for them about it on their card. The space is limited to help people get specific.

    • A Tip from Our Group: We've recently started having everyone add a specific fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23 that we want to see God grow in us through our individual life-application. It's been another great way to see continued life-change.

  2. Share and Pray

    • Consider using a timer on a phone to divide up the remaining time and give each person an equal window for sharing.

    • One person shares from their card and then passes their card to the person next to them. That person prays about what's on the card, and can even just read the card out loud as a prayer if praying out loud is challenging for them. Then, it's their turn to share and pass their own card, and the circle continues.

    • A Tip from Our Group: We ask people to keep prayer requests for anyone else (i.e. relatives, friends, or co-workers) in emails and texts throughout the week.

  3. Reserve Comments

    • When others are sharing, ask everyone to hold off on encouragement or advice.

    • Challenge everyone to write down their thoughts, take time later to pray, and listen to the Holy Spirit. Then, they can reach out to that person during the week, instead of at group.

    • A Tip from Our Group: We hand out blank cards right at the beginning of prayer time for this purpose so that everyone has a place ready to write comments down.

  4. Collect the Cards

    • At the end, collect all of the cards.

    • Two suggestions at this point:

      • Send the prayer requests to the group in an email as a reminder of how to keep praying for one another.

      • Distribute one card to each person for focus praying for just one during the week.

    • A Tip from Our Group: Try taking a photo of all of the cards on a phone and texting it to group members, to save time.

From the first week we used these cards, our group started to focus better, to pray more consistently, to recognize deeper growth, and to be careful to honor others. More than anything, the cards have been a catalyst for visible and ongoing life-change, and for many fewer prayer-time naps.

You can download and print copies of the Prayer and Application Cards HERE or bring 3x5 cards for the same purpose.

  Becky Bennett   Northridge Community Group Leader  Author/Blogger:  www.tochoosejoy.com

Becky Bennett

Northridge Community Group Leader

Author/Blogger: www.tochoosejoy.com


More Resources On Group Prayer

Prayer Dashboard (1 Week Andy Stanley Group Curriculum)

The Prayer Dashboard is designed to help you and your group members to better understand prayer - not for the sake of better understanding, but so that you can connect more deeply with your heavenly Father.

Leading A Meaningful Prayer Time (Group Leader Training Breakout)

How do you make prayer safe for the new person? How do you improve the depth of prayer time? Check out these 10 ideas to develop a more meaningful prayer time.  

How do you get people to show up to group?

Have you ever received the name of a prospective group member who never showed up to your group? Maybe a staff member sent you a name and contact info or someone expressed interest in your group online. You reached out to them, but they never showed up. 

Maybe your group roster has more people who don't show up than people that actually attend. When you arrive to your Community Group, you end up being more discouraged about those who didn't show up than encouraged about those who came. 

So, how do you get prospective group members or the people on your roster to attend? 

While we can't control people or make decisions for them, here are 2 steps that will help move people from your group roster to your living room.

1. Practice the Rule of 3

What is the Rule of 3? It is simply reaching out to prospective group members 3 times, with 3 different contact methods (phone, text, email), over 3 different weeks. 

  • Week 1 - Call within 24-48 hours

    • Strike while the iron is hot before they psych themselves out or convince themselves that joining a group is a bad idea. 

    • It can be nerve racking to call someone on the phone you don't know, but it is a much more engaging and thorough form of communication than an email or a text. Hearing your voice will help them feel more like they know you before they show up for the first time.

    • If they don't answer the phone, leave a voicemail and then send a follow up email with the group details. Less and less people check their voicemail these days, so an email increases the likelihood they hear from you right away.
  • Week 2 - Send an email

    • If you still have not heard from them about attending your group, send them an email with the details about your group and ask if they are still interested. Asking them if they are coming encourages them to take an action step, to respond and hopefully commit.

  • Week 3 - Send a text

    • I am blown away at how many people will never respond to a call or an email, but they will respond to a text almost immediately. For people who never check their voicemail or email, there is a notification sitting on their messaging app awaiting their response.

If they do respond and let you know they plan to attend, encourage them to meet you on Sunday before your next group so they have at least one familiar face their first week of group.

We practice this same Rule of 3 on our Connections Team at Northridge. When people express interest in taking next steps we have found this process very helpful to move them from interest to participation.

2. Share the Load

Make a goal that everyone on your group roster gets a touch every week via a text, call, or in person.

One of the best ways to make sure you are able to effectively connect with the people on your group roster is divide up your roster for shared follow up. 

When you assign each Group Leader several names, it enables you to focus on a few rather than everyone. You may even ask other mature group members to help with follow up. 

Neither of these steps guarantees people will show up to your group, but it helps you know you've done your due diligence in reaching out. It also lets group prospects know there is a group for them when they are ready to take that step.

Looking for more ideas? 
Listen to the Reaching One breakout on how to find and keep new people.


Resources On Sex

As you discussed this past weeks sermon about sex in your group, you may have come across some issues or questions you are not sure how to handle. Below are a few resources you may find helpful. Please contact your coach if we can be of further help.


Jason DeGraaff
Community Groups Pastor
Life is better connected!

3 Keys That Will Grow Your Group Member's Faith

When you look back at the end of the group trimester what difference will being part of your Community Group make for you or your group members?

Community Groups provide a place where followers of Jesus can intentionally rub shoulders to spur each other to grow in our faith. Being part of community is essential to the faith of every follower of Jesus. We can't grow spiritually unless we connect relationally. 

While showing up to group is an important part of shaping and influencing our faith, there are 3 things we as Group Leaders can do to increase our impact and help those in our group become more like Christ.

1. Focus On Your Own Growth

As a Group Leader you set the spiritual tone for your group. The more you love God, the more likely you'll influence those around you to grow in love for God.

None of us have arrived, we all have areas we can grow in intimacy with God and love for others. Your group members are not more likely to grow because you've got it all together; none of us have arrived. They'll grow as you share with them your own struggles, and as they watch you surrender them to God and see God transform you. 

Watching God transform your own life may be the greatest catalyst to transform their own. 

2. Focus On One Person

As we mentioned at our Group Leader Kick-off, as you begin the group year, focus your attention on one person: either one person you can invite to group, you can develop as a leader, you can counsel, or one person you can disciple. 

Don't let the needs of many keep you from doing anything for anyone.

Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.

Who is your one? Who can you focus your attention on this trimester? What can you do for one person what you wish you could do for everyone in your group? Take a moment to think of one person you can focus on and begin to pray for them and how God might use you to influence them this year.

Miss the Group Leader Kickoff? Want a refresher? Watch here:

3. Focus On One Next Step

One practical step each of us can take at the beginning of each trimester is to focus our attention on one step we can take to grow in our faith and then share it with our group members so they can keep us accountable on taking that next step.

In fact, in our prayer time in group this next week we will include a question to discuss with your group members to identify one area they want to grow this year. Whether it is baptism, serving the church or outside of the church, reading the Bible daily, praying more consistently, replacing a bad habit with a good habit, or giving more generously, we all have steps we can take to be more like Christ.

Make sure to have each person in your group identify a next step they want to take to grow in their faith this fall, have them write it down, and then ask each other throughout the trimester about your progress.

Thanks for creating environments where more people can grow to be more like Jesus. Let us know if you have any questions or any way we can be of help along the way. 


Jason DeGraaff
Community Groups Pastor
Life is better connected!

9 Essentials Before Week 1 of Group

We can't wait to begin another year of Community Groups with you!

We, your Group Coaches, had a blast at our Kick-off training last night as we prepared for our new groups year ahead. Thanks for taking time out of your busy fall schedule to focus on leading your group!

We want to do everything we can to support you and help you get ready for your first week of group. Please contact us with any questions or concerns. 

Here are 9 essentials to cover before your first week of group.

1. Plan A Group Meal

The best way to start off the group year is by catching up together over a meal. Who doesn't love food.  Connect with your group this week to plan what's for dinner.

2. Connect With Your Group

Make sure to connect with your group about details for your first meeting: location, date, time, kids care. Nothing beats a phone call before the first week to reconnect with your attendees and new prospective group members. Maybe you could meet with new group members in the lobby on Sunday so they have a familiar face their first week in group.

3. Bring A Preassigned Volunteer Schedule

Instead of asking for people to sign up for shared group responsibilities on the first night, bring a preassigned schedule to your first meeting. Let people know they can connect with you as leaders if there is a schedule conflict or a role they are not comfortable serving in. This is a great way to share leadership by sharing responsibilities for snack, childcare, hosting, and even facilitation. 

4. Bring Group Agreements

Make sure to review this with your group the first week of each trimester. 
You can pick up copies of the Beginning of the Trimester Group Agreement at your campus info center this Sunday, or download and print copies that will be included with the sermon discussion questions this week.

5. Bookmark the New Group Leaders Website

This is where you will find Sermon Discussion Questions, the Community Groups blog, leadership documents, previous breakouts, training materials, and more.

6. Register and Update the New Group Database

People are checking out groups online this week. Make sure your group name, time, location, and description are still correct. It would be a bummer to have a new group member show up on the wrong night. 


As we mentioned last night at the Group Leader Training, this year we are going to try out Group Vitals, a new Community Groups database that will replace our previous one. 



 1. No login required to take attendance (great when you forget your password)
2. Text message attendance reminders in addition to email reminders
3. Ability to add guests and share notes with your group coach when filling out attendance
4. "Group text" option to communicate with your group
5. Text notifications when someone expresses interest in your group online
6. A map search feature for people looking for a group



7. Update Your Coach on Group Changes

Have you added new leaders or new group members, or do you have group members in transition? Let your group coach know so we can update your group roster and make sure any new co-leaders have an opportunity to fill out the Group Leader Application.

8. Fill Out the Group Leader Application

If you are new to Community Group Leadership and stepping into the role this year, please fill out the Group Leader application found at the link above.

9. Pray For Your Group

Planning goes a long way to help create healthy group environments where people connect, feel cared for, and grow spiritually. God uses our efforts but we are dependent on God to change lives and make us more like Him. 

We are praying for and with you this week! 


Jason DeGraaff
Community Groups Pastor

Life is better connected!

Community Group ABCs Logo and Letters Rectangle.png