Leadership Orientation

Group Study

For six weeks we will walk through the life and ministry of Jesus.

Spiritual Friendships

As groups meet throughout Charlottesville and the surrounding counties, we believe we will experience life-changing moments in our group members’ lives as we focus our attention on core principles of the christian life.  The combination of Pete’s preaching, a weekly video, and discussion questions designed for your small group will create an excellent environment for application based learning.

When Do Groups Meet?

Our six week small groups will be meeting through out the week at times that are set by the group leader.  Groups will launch the week of September 13th and conclude the week of October 18th.

Host Job Description

As a group host, you will be hosting a community group in your home for six sessions, leading and facilitating the members of your group to grow in their relationship with God and with one another.

You will work in coordination with the small group pastor and community life group coaches.


What will be required of me?

  • prep time (30 min)
  • hosting (opening your home/light refreshments)
  • a typical group meeting lasts about 1.5 hours
  • 6-week commitment
  • you can meet on the day and time that works best for you and the group

I dont feel equipped to lead a group!

  • Hosting is more about hospitality than being an expert or experienced leader.  It’s more about care than content.
  • We will provide content.
  • You will be provided a weekly video clip to show during group time that ties in with the sermon, as well as discussion questions that relate to the sermon and video.
  • You will have an assigned coach for the series that will touch base with you before and after the first session.  Afterwards, they will act as a go-to person you can contact with questions.

What skills do I need?

  • able to greet people with a smile
  • an understanding of the environment necessary for a successful, distraction -free small group meeting
  • the ability to keep noises, pets and assorted family members from interrupting the meeting.
  • the ability to prepare and organize refreshments
  • the ability to lead people into a discussion following the video teaching
  • the ability to open and close the meeting in prayer

What does this look like in practice?


As hosts, it is crucial that we cultivate a warm environment for our guests in order to show them the the love of Christ (John 13:34).  Hospitality is the outflow of love and unity.  The following will set the stage for a great group experience:

  • take a genuine interest in each guest and greet them with a warm and ready smile; set the atmosphere of love and acceptance for everyone -regular attendees and guests alike calling them by first names and introducing them to others
  • provide a comfortable home with enough seats for everyone
  • set up a simple refreshment table before the meeting, or have a place ready to put the refreshments that other group members might bring.
  • have extra materials ready for those who arrive without them
  • have the childcare space ready if you have agreed to have a kid-friendly group.

Group Facilitation

When it comes to getting everyone to participate in your small group, it’s important that you as the leader, set the tone for the groups involvement and openness.

  • strengthen your personal relationship with Christ through prayer and other spiritual disciplines
  • keep a good line of communication with your members to remind them of upcoming meetings
  • keep group size small; usually 12 people is a good number to shoot for, given that 2 or more people will often miss a meeting in the course of your 6-week group experience
  • close your meeting on a strong note
  • say goodbye to everyone personally and invite them to come again

Typical Structure for a Small Group

Beginning: Greet people as they arrive. Dedicate some time for fellowship so that people can begin to get to know each other.

Middle: Transition to the spiritual emphasis portion of your group (20-30)

Spiritual Emphasis
  1. Introduce the group’s discussion emphasis: “Tonight we are going to discuss Pete’s sermon on relationship; this week he talked about authentic relationships.”
  2. Group video and discussion: Play 4-7 minute video that connects with the sermon focus; take feedback from the group.
  3. Ask if anyone would like to share briefly their observations or thoughts from the video that they just watched, or from Pete’s sermon that week.
  4. Read the Passage/s – Ask if someone would like to read the passage.
  5. Share – Ask: “Would anyone like to share with the group their thoughts from that portion of Scripture.  In other words, what do you think the author is saying in that passage?” Tip: You are not looking for application at this point, just identify what is being said, and possibly a central truth from that section of Scripture.
  6. Ask: Would anyone like to add to what has been shared? If time allows leave room for qeustions.
  7. Personal Application – Ask: “What are some possible applications to consider from Pete’s sermon, the video, and our discussion tonight?” Next, take a few moments as an individual exercise and jot down a few notes on how you can see these being applied to your life.  Depending on your time allocated to this portion of group, you may want to ask if anyone would like to share their personal application.  Limit for time as neccessary.
  8. Look Outward- Remind group that each week your group will include in their closing prayer time a request that God will set up a situation where they can share with someone this truth.  Tip: Sharing their own story is a powerful way to talk about this reality in their lives.

End: Be sure to dismiss promptly by the determined end time.  Let everyone know that it is okay to leave if they need to, or are welcome to hang around longer.  Allow this additional time for people to talk, pick up a snack or beverage, etc.





Invitations are personal.

An invitation makes someone feel special.  It comes because of an existing relationship.  On the other hand, informing is generally impersonal and no relationship is needed.

Invitations are inclusive.

An invitation says “I want you here.” When I’m invited to a party, the host has already decided he/she wants me to attend.  I have nothing to do but decide yes or no, and show up.  Too often in ministry we invite everyone, then set about qualifying those who respond.

Invitations are specific.

When I go online, I find many options for movies and show times playing at multiple locations.  Nothing about reading this causes me to feel invited to those movies.  However, when my friend suggests a movie, I know I’ve been invited out.  The same is true of an invitation to join with you in your small group.

What Can I Do to Facilitate

Meaningful Prayer in My Group?

Model It

  • Be a person of prayer yourself — pray for your members and for who might fill the open chair, asking God to give you His direction in leading the group.
  • When you do pray out loud in the group, keep your prayers honest, authentic and from your heart.

Keep it safe

  • Don’t call on someone to pray unless you’ve asked permission beforehand (or if you know them well).
  • Don’t expect everyone to pray.
  • Try to avoid praying in a circle; allow members to pray one at a time as they feel led.
  • Respect the intimacy level.  As the group grows in deepening relationships, a sense of safety will foster more genuine prayer.

Guide the prayer

  • Give general guidelines, but let the Holy Spirit lead.
  • Avoid lengthy discussion on prayer.
  • Include prayer each time you meet.
  • Use a variety of praying methods
    • Spirit-led prayers
    • Simple Prayers
    • Short prayers
    • Silent prayers


  • Your relationship with Christ and each other will deepen.  You will experience spiritual growth.

  • There is less chance of burnout as you put problems in God’s hands and trust members to His care.

  • You allow the Holy Spirit to work in your group so your time together is filling and refreshing.

  • He will answer your prayers in amazing ways, and your faith will increase.

Creative Ideas for Group Prayer
  1. Pray through a psalm out loud together.
  2. In a couples group, have spouses pray for each other.
  3. Vary prayer time between the beginning, middle, and closing of the meeting.
  4. Pick a portion of Scripture to pray for one another during the week. (Col. 1:99 and Eph. 3:14-19)
  5. If someone is in crisis, stop and pray for them right then and there.
  6. Pray for the church, a country, a family in need, or any area for which your group has a passion.
  7. Ask if there is a person in your group that would like to be the prayer coordinator.  Their role for the next 6 weeks will be to jot down notes regarding group prayer requests and determine a method of delivery so that your group will have them to pray for throughout the week.  Set a boundary that these requests are to be shared with members only.
  8. Praise can be a part of intercession.  Is a member in the midst of struggle?
  9. To cut down on the time your group spends talking about prayer requests, give everyone a 3×5 card to write down prayer requests for each week.  Have the prayer coordinator collect these and read them to the group before you pray at the end of this portion of group time.

Sample Group Covenant

It’s a good idea for every group to put words to their shared values, expectations, and commitments.  A written agreement will help you avoid unspoken agendas and disappointed expectations.  You’ll discuss your agreement the first time you meet, and then you’ll revisit it from time to time.  Feel free to modify anything that doesn’t work for your group.

If the idea of having a written agreement is unfamiliar to your group, we encourage you to give it a try.  A clear agreement is invaluable for the resolving conflict constructively and for setting your group on a path to health.

We agree to the following values:

  1. Clear purpose: To grow healthy spiritual lives by building a healthy small group community.  In addition we, _________________.
  2. Group Attendance:  To give priority to the group meeting. I will call if I will be late or absent.
  3. Safe Environment:  To help create a safe place where people can be heard and feel loved.
  4. Confidentiality:  To keep anything that is shared strictly confidential and within the group.
  5. Spiritual Health:  To give group members permission to help me live a healthy spiritual life that is pleasing to God.
  6. Inviting People:  To share Jesus’ dream of finding a shepherd for every sheep by inviting newcomers.
  7. Shared Ownership:  To remember that every member is a minister and to encourage each attendee to share a small group role.