Community Group FAQ’s:
What makes up the community group curriculum?
- Community 101 | a watermark study on the essentials of community
- Identity in Christ | a study that focuses on who we are as followers of Christ
- Forgiveness | a study that examines the nature of conflict resolution and true forgiveness
- Equipped to Understand | a study that focuses on deepening your walk with Christ
- Purity | a study that focuses on a right understanding of purity and living a life of purity
- Marriage | a study on the marriage relationship and growing in oneness
- Parenting | a study on God’s perspective of parenting
- Moneywise | a study on stewardship and financial management
- Ask good questions and follow-up questions – Hopefully all group members will want to communicate and share and this will go a long way in leading a healthy discussion. Ask open-ended questions that will prompt others to think and discuss. Be sure to listen well.
- Share your own story – Be vulnerable with your group members (as you feel appropriate) by sharing your own joys and struggles in life and community. Lead the way in being open and authentic with your group. We are looking for living examples, not perfect examples.
- Be willing to say “I don’t know” – Do some research on your own, and let us know if we can help, rather than making something up. Watermark has a lot of great resources that we can forward your way as you look to grow in understanding of the Word.
Please remember that the curriculum is there as a guide. It is not there to restrict you as you disciple your group. Be students of your group and feel the freedom to speed up, slow down, or deviate from the structured curriculum as you think is needed. Please let us know if you make any curriculum changes, or if we can help you come up with new ideas.
What advice do you have as we lead the groups through the community curriculum?
The goal is not for you to teach through material – this is designed to be a small group with discussion. As a group launcher, you can best set-up your group for success as you:
What should a typical month look like for a Community Group?
Our best Community Groups are getting 4-6 touch points with one another each month. Here’s a breakdown of how that might look for your group. Keep in mind that every group will be unique, but every group should be connecting in these specific areas.
Curriculum Study | 1st & 3rd Tuesday
Group social &/or service | 2nd & 4th Tuesday
Guys Accountability | 2nd & 4th Tuesday after couple time & 1st & 3rd Friday for Breakfast
Girls Accountability |2nd & 4th Tuesday after couple time & 1st & 3rd Tuesday before group time
*Game Night or social event | 5th Tuesday
*This 5th Tuesday time together is not required, but it will help your group learn to have fun together, especially in the beginning. Host these in your home or utilize this time to do fun events with your group like dinner out, the fair, or a sporting event. You can also set these up where the men will meet out somewhere, and the women can meet in the home or vice versa.
What are some tips for cultivating community?
Strong community takes time, but it also takes intentionality and effort. As the group leader, we ask you to cultivate an environment where people feel safe to share what’s going on in their lives. A place where they can be known by others and get to know each other. This is important in group meetings, but also vital outside of group time. As you go through the community curriculum, take the time to share your story of grace and allow each couple to share theirs too. (See Life Map document) This will go a long way toward establishing a safe environment within your group. Here are some suggested ways to share:
We recommend option 1 or 3 below as you walk through the community curriculum. Use the info in the time line as a guide, but feel free to modify it to fit your group:
- During session 1, share your life map and open it up for questions concerning your life map. After that, have one couple share per week at the beginning of each meeting. (5-6 sessions). Remember to leave adequate time for questions after each life map.
- Wait to start curriculum until everyone has shared their life map. (2-3 sessions)
- Plan a one day retreat and have everyone share their life map over the weekend
In each situation above, we suggest the Group Launcher share their life map first in order to appropriately model authenticity and appropriate length of time.
How long do Community Groups last?
We ask group members to commit to staying in community together for one year. After that, we ask groups to recommit on a year-to-year basis.
How do I handle pastoral care issues when they arise?
Chances are, at some point during the group life, you will be approached by one of your group members to discuss a pastoral care issue. For more information on how to handle these issues, see What To Do When Crisis Hits.
It is our preference that Community Group Leaders are the first line of contact for all pastoral care situations during the launch period. Here are three reasons why we believe this is best:
1.You are fully equipped to handle most of the pastoral care issues that arise.
2.You have a direct relationship with each member in the group.
3.We believe being involved in these situations will bless you.
Please reach out to us anytime you have crisis within the group. You can update us with all that is going on and share your plan of attack when it comes to next steps. It is important that you encourage the group member(s) to bring this to the group so that they can be a part of the blessing of providing care. As the Group Launcher, you will set the tone and direction of this type of discussion. Be sure to encourage the members to share Biblical truth, not their own insights.
The Watermark staff is here to help in any way possible. We are more than willing to coach on the phone, show up to meetings or reach out to group members directly. The most important things is to always see this as an opportunity for growth and ministry.
How do we encourage group members to live on mission with their life?
First and foremost lead out in your own life. Help them see that as they live on mission, God will provide opportunities for people to both see and hear the Gospel. Help cast vision for them so they begin to see that God has given them the opportunity to live in community, not just to grow in their own walk with Christ, but also to offer hope to others. Here are three great questions to give your group to reflect on after each time you meet:
- What is God saying to you?
- What are you going to do about it?
- Who are you going to share this with?
What are ways that we can share leadership to create ownership?
As a community group leader, it is important for you to include other members of the body to exercise their gifts in your group. Invite them and give them a role to play. Here are several different ways you can do this:
- Facilitate group discussion | this is a great way to give group members the opportunity to lead the group through the curriculum. Once you have established what this time will look like for your group, take some time to delegate different sessions to each group member.
- Prepare snack | this is a great way to take some of the hospitality load off of yourself. You can even delegate the entire task of making the schedule for who brings snacks and when.
- Lead prayer time | this is a great way to give someone the opportunity to help walk your group through this time together. Give them the freedom to change this up so that they can experience different ways of praying with and for one another. You may also want to consider delegating the task of sharing prayer needs with the group via email.
- Plan social events | this could be everything from dinner together, top golf, bowling, movie nights, holiday events, or even lake trips and retreats. It is important for your group to have fun together- shared experience builds trust. Some groups will be better about this than others, offer your wisdom and insight as needed.
- Set up service opportunities | as your group does life together, it will be great for them to find time to serve together. Finding a group member to help set these events up will be helpful for the group as a whole.
What do we do at the end of our time as a group?
Celebrate! This is a great time to share stories of all that God has done in and through your group. Try to avoid having any other agenda items except to enjoy time with one another and give God the glory for his provision for this season.
What do you do with a member who is not as committed to the group as the rest of the members?
- Pray for them and encourage the other members to do the same – As much as you’ll want to control things and try to change their heart, this is not your role or anyone else’s in the group. Only God can change hearts. In my life, all too often, I’ll do everything else before I stop to pray for God to move in their heart. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- Find the heart issue – Make sure they’re aware that you love them and that you’re for them. Continue to try to get to the heart of the issue. There are reasons why they’re slow to jump in and it probably has to do with a deeper hurt they’ve experienced in the past.
- Ask them the question Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:1-9) – The ball is ultimately in their court. Stopping to ask if they want to get well is a great way to remind them that you can’t take the steps for them. This is something they will need to do.
- Seek mutual understanding – Encourage the group to share how this makes them feel. The member(s) who are interested in going deeper need to better understand why the member who is having difficulty with commitment is struggling. Remind them to be patient with them. The member(s) who refuses to go deeper needs to understand how their actions don’t just impact them, it also has an impact on the group as a whole. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
- Continue to dig into the Word – Romans 15:1-2 says, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” I’m sure there are many times where if you’re honest, you (and your members too) feel like it would just be a whole lot easier to cut them lose and move forward without them. This verse is a great reminder for us to do what is in their best interest. It is our belief that staying in the group is usually in the best interest of the member, and the group as a whole. Encourage your group to put Philippians 2:1-11 to memory.