Game Plan for Regathering (Leader’s Guide)

Hi Small Group Leaders, 

I can’t believe it’s been four months since we’ve gathered together! I, like Pastor Tim miss my church family and seeing everyone and catching up with everybody. I am looking forward to the day when we can regather again!

What was so exciting about this message is that we have a Game plan not a blueprint. A game plan is more flexible and depends on the changing conditions of what is going on around us. In a Covid19 world, everything is changing. This week, Pastor Tim share what our tentative plan is and how we can treat one another through it.  

Next week begins our “Liquid at the Movies” series. We will be providing a master group guide that you will be able to leverage throughout the month. During these trying times, you have been amazing shepherds in guiding our sheep. Thank You! We encourage you and your group to take a couple of weeks off at the end of August to refuel.

Pastor Nithin

Teaching/Online Pastor

Pro Tip – Create a Safe Space for Sharing & Prayer Using These Ground Rules:

(As the leader, read the ground rules below with your group out loud and even put them in your zoom or google meet chat so that everyone can see them. Ask for agreement from all the group members before you start the conversation. As the group leader, you will have to enforce these guidelines gently. Remember that grace wins, and we want your group to be a safe place where people can share freely even if they don’t agree with one another at the end. Unity does not have to be uniformity.  We recommend that you read these together and then PRAY before you begin!  We all need more of the Spirit’s wisdom!)

  • Recognize that all of us come from different backgrounds and perspectives.  As a result, we all have good intentions, but also blind spots. Just as Jesus does with us every day, we have to respect where people are and remember that we all are doing the best, we can give our current state of awareness.  GRACE WINS!
  • Speak only for yourself (“I feel…” “I think…”), not on behalf of your identity (“we feel…” “we are…”) or other identities (“they think…” “they act like…”).
  • Listen to hear and understand, and not so that you can respond. Take the time to process what you’ve heard, before responding.
  • Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you avoid negative judgments, language, and name-calling.
  • Be open to feeling uncomfortable – all growth comes with some discomfort.
  • Understand that groups of a single race can have multiple perspectives, and even the most diverse groups will not all have the same perspectives.
  • Stay engaged. It is often difficult once we feel frustrated or misunderstood, to withdraw and drop out of the conversation, but resist this urge.  It will be worth it.
  • Please don’t dominate the conversation, remember that everyone deserves a chance to speak and be heard.
  • Don’t expect a resolution, complete agreement, or definite answers. This is a discussion, not a debate.

ICEBREAKER

Out of everything that Pastor Tim talked about in his message. What upcoming events are you looking forward to the most?     

APPLY THE BIBLE

Today in Pastor Tim’s message, he shared with the church the game plan for regathering. As Pastor Tim said, he’s not an architect with blueprints, but rather he is a coach with a game plan that could change depending on the conditions that things could change. Maybe you’ve watched on social media the turmoil over masks and reopening. In this message, Pastor Tim will be giving us some practical ways we can trust Him in a time of uncertainty and care for those around us.

Pastor Tim said that our church is made up of three types of people. Green light people (ready to go back to church this weekend), yellow light (open but cautious), and finally red (not coming back until there is a vaccine). Our church isn’t made up of one color but of all three colors.  

[1]     What color on the traffic light are you? Why does that color best describe you? You can start the discussion by sharing your color. You can even mix and match colors or share that in some instances, you’re a different color. Pastor Tim shared that he’s green when it comes to eating out, but yellow when thinking about flying on an airplane.

PRO-TIP- Don’t just ask about what color they are when it comes to church. Open the question up to visiting restaurants, theatres, and sporting events to see how people feel about these various scenarios.

PRO-TIP- If your group is meeting on Zoom, the technology has improved even in these few short months. Unless you have a lot of background noise (kids, traffic, etc), encourage your group to stay off mute to encourage more lively dialogue. 

[2]     How have you viewed those of other colors? How may you have responded to those with other colors? Your group may have some strong opinions about those who are in different stages. A cursory glance on Facebook will reveal the passion people have when arguing their positions. Those in your group may look down on those who want to slow down reopening. Those who want a slower reopening may look down on the green, early adopters that are ready to get connected back into daily life.

Read Philippians 2:3-4.  

PRO-TIP-There are three short passages in our study today. Feel free to assign the passages at the start of the study. Pick one to read aloud together.

 [3]     What does it mean to “consider others better than yourselves?” In this verse, Paul is urging the church to put the needs of others before ourselves. This verse challenges believers to think about how they can intentionally think about the needs of others and put them ahead of their own needs.

PRO-TIP-Follow up this question by asking what it would look like to do that? What would you have to do differently? 

Read 1 Corinthians 10:23-34. There is a lot of debate about freedom and our rights. This verse puts that conversation in perspective.

[4]     How are we to use our freedom? Why are we as Americans challenged to understand what Biblical freedom looks like? Freedom is not that we can do whatever we want, but we are to use our freedom to serve others! Christian freedom is not like freedom in the world, where you can just do whatever you want. It is not freedom solely focused on personal rights, but rather the freedom to love our neighbor and those that are vulnerable and in need of care.

Pastor Tim talked about the MVP (Most Vulnerable Person). Think who the MVP’s are in your own life.    

[5]     How can you find ways to serve and care for the MVPs in your life? How can we come together to encourage the MVPs right here in our group? Brainstorm with your group ways that you can connect and serve the vulnerable populations in your small group, the circle of friends and family. Philippians 2 and 1 Corinthians 10 are all about serving those who need help. In this season of Covid19 and uncertainty in the Fall, those who are the most vulnerable need care and for those to reach out and help them.

Pastor Tim encouraged us not to let Covid19 divide us. Read Ephesians 4:2-3.    

[6]     In a Covid19 world, how can we make every effort to keep unity? What does unity look like in our group, in our church family?  Paul, the writer of this passage, gives us a few qualities to start with. Be completely humble, gentle, be patient, and bear with other people. While there are differences that we have among one another, and many of them need to be worked out, we need to keep in mind how we do it. Remember, unity does not mean uniformity. While we want to make sure that we live out the qualities that Paul talked about in Ephesians by looking for ways we can intentionally care for people and love people as well.  

BEAR BURDENS

Go around your group and ask people to share their burdens. Have your group members share their prayer requests in the chat. Have the group leader assign prayer requests, and take turns praying over your assigned prayer request. 

Assign one person to each prayer and ask them to follow up during the week.  Encourage them to use the ideas you just discussed together and try them out this week. Try to remember to follow up next week to see how it went!

CHANCE TO SERVE

You can spread Hope Faster than Covid19! Check out our website to find ways you can help:  https://www.liquidchurch.com/relief. Encourage your group to sign up for ways that they can serve those in your community that has been hit hardest by the Coronavirus.  We know so many of you have already been hard at work and doing great things in your community. Thank you! You are what makes our Church so special.  Go to the website and share some of the ways you have been helping with this hashtag: #SERVESMALLNJ

Look for specific needs in your community and campus that you can meet. 

DEEPER WALK:

 Group Leaders: Send these options out after your group has met to continue to grow in their faith. 

 Select at least one activity below to complete during the next week. 

 Personal Action:           Look for opportunities to serve during any of the reopening activities or serve as a chat or prayer host on Church Online.

Mentoring:          See who is living out the qualities of Philippians 2, and sit down with them to learn how you can also grow in those qualities.  

Conversation:      Take time to talk with someone in your life or in your group about how you can care for those in different traffic light colors than you.  

Memorization:     1 Corinthians 10: 23-24:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. 

“I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 

No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

Pray:            Father God, would you help me put the needs and care of others before my own. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Study:        Check out this study on Spiritual Unity.