We are relaunching Growth Groups on Sunday, September 10. These groups will run from September 10 – October 29 (i.e. for 8 weeks). Growth Groups will parallel and coincide with our next two mini-series entitled, “We Pray” and “We Tell”. Please Note: The first two Sundays (Sept. 10 and 17) all Growth Groups will meet in the church auditorium for “Worship and Prayer Nights” from 6-7 PM. Then, on Sunday, September 24, all Growth Groups will meet at Klint and Kendra Gingerich’s home for a bonfire, pizza, singing, and prayer (more details to come). Individual Growth Groups will then begin to meet on Sunday, October 1.
Below you will find some helpful information on why we have Growth Groups, the characteristics of a healthy Growth Group Leader, the nuts and bolts of Growth Groups, and other pertinent information. However, for more information on Growth Groups, or to join a Growth Group, please see Pastor Dave or Pastor Jon.
Why Growth Groups?
- It’s Historical – The early church was all about growth groups (cf. Acts 2:46, Acts 5:42, Acts 12:12, and Romans 16:3-5).
- It’s Christological – Jesus ministers to Thousands (cf. Matt. 9:35-36 and Matt. 14:13-21). He commissions “The Seventy” (cf. Luke 10:1-2). He appoints “The Twelve”. He spends major time with “The Inner Three” (i.e. Peter, James, and John – Mark 5:37-42, Mark 9:2, and Mark 14:33ff).
- It’s Practical – Because of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). Because of Our Mission/Vision: To be a strong church that makes disciples for the glory of God.
The Basic Philosophy of Growth Groups:
- Upward Focus (The Worship Element to Growth Groups) – The primary (not sole, but primary) focus of Growth Groups is to dig deep into God’s Word to mine all of the nuggets of His Word for equipping and edification. Our method of mining nuggets from God’s Word is sermon-based small group discussion.
- Inward Target (The Nurturing Aspect of Growth Groups) – While worship is our primary focus, caring for the health (both physical and spiritual) of our Growth Group members is vitally important. Growth Groups (ideally and philosophically) will provide our PF church members and regular attendees with their primary care in terms of support, prayer, and friendship.
- Outward Service (The Community Component to Growth Groups) – Reaching up is our primary focus…reaching inward is vitally important…but reaching outward to our community in terms of praying for our community and doing service projects for our community is the real heartbeat of Growth Groups.
The Characteristics of a Healthy Growth Group Leader:
- Godly – He is Christlike…not perfect…but a Christlike individual.
- Eager – He has an earnest desire to be a Growth Group Leader.
- Powerful Presence – He appears to be in charge…when he speaks, others listen.
- Understands Group Dynamics – The talker. The crier. The pessimist. The optimist. The fixer. The quiet one. The jokester. —– Family Dynamics.
- Organized and Efficient – Can put together an enjoyable and profitable meeting.
- Excursus: How do I organize my Growth Group?
- Pray like it’s all on God.
- Work like it’s all on you.
- Learn to say “no”.
- Keep a to-do list or planner. Write down everything!
- Be realistic.
- Celebrate your accomplishments.
The Covenant of Growth Groups:
As a Growth Group Leader, you are promising to:
- Provide a safe and clean environment for effective biblical discussion to take place.
- Prepare well for each Growth Group session by means of staying organized and exercising time management skills.
- Maintain confidentiality of any and all sensitive information that is given to you by your Growth Group members.
As a Growth Group Member, you are promising to:
- Endeavor to make it to each Growth Group session and to make these sessions a priority in your life.
- Prepare well for each Growth Group session by means of Sunday morning church attendance and by bringing your Bible to each Growth Group session.
- Maintain confidentiality of any and all sensitive information that is given to you by other Growth Group members.
The Nuts and Bolts of Growth Groups (By Pastor Jon):
- How Groups Are Formed – Groups are typically formed along demographical lines, family lines, and geographical lines. From time to time, we will mix things up and form new groups along entirely new lines 😊
- How Questions Are Formed – Questions typically correspond to the following categories: 1) “Warming Up” questions help the group to “Describe” and “Reflect”, 2) “Digging Deep” questions help the group to “Proclaim”, and 3) “Making It Useful” and “Earnest Prayer” help the group to “Confront” and “Transform.”
- How Leaders Are Formed – The following are some helpful tips on how to be more effective as a Growth Group Leader: 1) Be Creative, 2) Wait Out the Quiet, 3) Allow Everyone To Speak, But Remain In Control, 4) Get Back On Track – Always, and 5) Be Transparent!
- We serve a God of decency and order (cf. 1 Cor. 14:40). Thus, our Growth Groups should be done decently and in order.
- Sometimes a legitimate crisis will occur in the life of your Growth Group member and you (as a group) should suspend your agenda to offer the comforts and commands of the Gospel (cf. Eph. 1 and 5).
- These crises should be few and far between. If a certain person is in extended crisis, or is always bringing up the same issue over and over again to the detriment of the whole group, seek out pastoral counseling.
- The Growth Group Leader must ensure theological accuracy in Growth Group conversations. No one’s opinion trumps the Word of God. Stand firm!