GROUND RULES FOR LIFEGROUP
CLEAR PURPOSE: Hermitage Hills LIFEgroups are all about seeing people experience LIFE change through Jesus Christ. We feel that happens best when people are in deep relationship while studying God’s Word.
We agree to the following ground rules and expectations:
- SHOW UP: I’ll prioritize the scheduled LIFEgroup meeting and call in advance if I’m going to miss the meeting.
- SHOW RESPECT: I’ll accept everyone without judgment. I’ll listen well and refrain from giving quick answers, simple fixes or engaging in side conversations.
- BE SELF-AWARE: I’ll stretch myself to be as open and honest as I can with my perspectives and experiences. I understand that some of us speak often and some remain quiet, so I’ll be aware of not dominating the discussion or always leaving the weight of it to others.
- TAKE OWNERSHIP: I’ll do my part to help create a great group by sharing roles within the group and challenging everyone to grow. Participation from everyone will determine the success of the group overall.
- FACE CONFLICT: Community can be very messy and conflicts may emerge. I’ll offer grace to others and will seek solutions to disagreements rather than leaving the group. I realize that God might use conflict in my spiritual formation in some way I don’t currently understand.
- KEEP IT CONFIDENTIAL: I’ll vigorously respect confidentially. What I hear and say in the group stays in the group. (Unless a person is a danger to themselves, others or they are engaged in illegal activity.)
HOST TIPS AND HOW TO
Hosting a group is as simple as opening your home, reading Scripture and questions aloud and playing a DVD. After your first meeting, you’ll find your group will fall into a familiar rhythm. Here are a few tips for you as you get ready for your first meeting:
- POUR ON THE HOSPITALITY: Keep in mind for many people, the thought of going to someone’s house to have a “spiritual conversation” can be intimidating. It can trigger all kinds of insecurities. So, even little things, from your email communication to the way you greet them at the door, will go a long way towards easing their fears.
- PROVIDE NAMETAGS: If the group does not know each other, name tags are a great way to accelerate connection within the group.
- START WITH INTRODUCTIONS: Go around the circle and have everyone introduce himself or herself. A good introductory tool is to have people talk about their family, what they do for fun and dreams that they have. You can also use “Two Truths and a Lie” as another option.
Each group needs to be inviting new people. Take some time as a group to think through possible friends to invite to your group. It is essential to keep a spirit of invitation in your group at all costs.
Also you as a group should set times of service in place. As your group serves together you will get closer to each other and ultimately the Lord. As we respond to Jesus’ call on our life to serve great things will happen in our hearts, our group and ultimately our community.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How Do I Structure a Meeting?
Always have a start and a stop time. Honor people’s time. if you do not they will not come back. You can always ask for additional time to continue in a study if you need to. Start on time and end on time. Once you have hit your end time finish your study and let people know they can leave if they would like. Also allow them to stay and be together. Relationship are your key to success in discipleship.
Accountability needs to be happening in your group. The ideal size of a group is 10 to 14 people. You need to know that one of the best ways to dive in to the area of accountability is to split your group up at the end of the night between men and women. This will allow there to be a level of honesty that would not exist between a mixed group. Scripture reading, prayer, living a pure life all need to be items of discussion.
All groups need to be on a curriculum. We recommend several tracks. LifeWay offers several that are excellent. Masterwork, Explore the Bible, Bible Studies for Life, and the Gospel Project all are good. We also have a membership to smallgroup.com. This is a site that we can give you access to. There are hundreds of studies prepared and waiting for you to use.
Right Now Media is another sources for curriculum. This is a video based resource. All the teaching is done through video. We will purchase the printed curriculum for you to use.
What do I do if people are not showing up consistently?
Define mutual expectations early on with your LIFEgroup Ground Rules. If attendance becomes an issue with someone, address it personally. Ask a Groups Team Member to pray with you about the situation. Be in a good place before you talk with them about their attendance.
Is it okay to invite someone to our group who doesn't go to our church?
If the person does not attend our church, inviting them to a group is one of the best things you can do to get them involved. There is no greater place for someone to experience real relationships with people from our church. I would say, if a person does have a church home it would be more ideal for them to go and attend a group that is provided for them by that church. If we want to see accountability happen in a person’s life it is really important that they attend a group where they go to church.
How do I as a group leader support the Vision and Mission of the church?
Always push people to get engaged in the church. Push them to serve and find a place of ministry. As we look at Ephesians 2:8-10 this is vital since God has given them a gift and talent to use to grow the church. Encourage people to always ask questions to the right people as they come up about the church. As questions come up, get them to the people with the answers. Don’t feel like you have to make up an answer. It is always ok to say you don’t know.
We spend a huge amount of time on prayer requests. Do you have any suggestions?
Prayer requests are always important. I would encourage you to have a sheet that is passed around with needs. Have them fill out their prayer needs. This will save a lot of time. When the prayer time comes pray together. You can do one sentence prayers. You can also have people pray for the people that are not at your group yet. Creating a missional mindset in your group is so important. Pray for the church and the needs that exist. Another option would be to have your group focus on theme based prayers. Focus on prayers of repentance or prayers of praise. The most important thing is to make sure that your prayer time as a group doesn’t become mundane or to routine.
TOP TEN QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR GROUP
- Do we deal with conflict well? Or, do I think we would deal with conflict well?
- Do we share responsibilities and roles in the group?
- Do we spend time outside of our group together?
- Do we share with one another how God is working in our lives?
- Do we serve together? How often?
- Do we have clearly defined goals and expectations? Do we periodically check in to evaluate our progress with these goals?
- Have we created a defined structure for the group meetings?
- Do we maintain a healthy level of spiritual accountability?
- Do we care for each other in hard times? Or, do I think we would care for each other in hard times?
- Do we maintain a respectful environment where everyone feels respected, listened to and able to share their honest thoughts and opinions?