Books to help you grow as a leader

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EastLake Church

Table of Contents

How to Use This Book 3

Growth Group Contact Info 4

Growth Group Ground Rules 7

Sharing the Load 8

Options for Groups with Children 9

Snack Schedule 10

Suggestions For Your First Growth Group Gathering 11

Opening Questions to Get This Party Started 13

8 Ways to Pray in Your Group 15

Sharing Communion in Your Group 17

Decide What’s Next for Your Group 19

Prayer Request/Answered Prayers 21


How to Use This Book

This free book is definitely worth the cover price! It’s designed to provide the tips and tools that every growth group host and facilitator needs in one location. It’s interactive in an old-school way—all you need is a pencil!
Here at EastLake Church, growth groups are all about taking the weekend message forward into our week. The inspiration we all receive can be applied to our lives on a personal level, resulting in real growth and change. Of course, this process is dependent on your participation, so take a risk, jump in, join a group and watch what happens!
Included in this notebook at no extra charge:

  • Growth Group Contact Info to record the names of everyone in your group.

  • Growth Group Ground Rules outlining what everyone can expect in your group.

  • Ideas for your first growth group gathering and questions to get the party started.

  • And a place to record prayers and answers to prayer as life happens in your group.

Other resources:

  • training and tips for building a great group experience and contact information for the growth group staff.

  • EastLake Church Growth Guide – resources to help you learn and grow.

  • Email, phone, and face-to-face guidance from growth group leadership team.

  • Lots of pre-screened growth group resources in our library.

Books to help you grow as a leader:

  • Real-Life Discipleship: Building Churches That Make Disciples” by Jim Putman

  • Spirituality for the Rest of Us: A Down-To Earth Guide to Knowing God” by Larry Osborne

Growth Group Info



Contact Information

(Phone & Email)





















Growth Group Info



Contact Information

(Phone & Email)






















Growth Group Ground Rules
Nobody likes lots of rules, but we’ve found that it’s a good idea for every group to put into words their shared values, expectations, and commitments. Discussing these up front may prevent some awkward conversations later on. If you are using EastLake Church DVD curriculum, the ground rules are available on the DVD for you to present in your first session. We’re including these same ground rules in writing so you can review them when necessary. We hope these help you to get on the same page so you can connect in friendship and have fun!


  • To make friends and experience life change together in a safe and fun environment.

Group Attendance:

  • To get the most out your growth group experience, find a group you like--this may mean trying out more than one group--then make a commitment to show up when the group meets.

  • Warning: People will start to care about you, so let your host know if you will be late or absent. Otherwise, they may lose sleep wondering what happened to you.

Safe Environment:

  • Open up and share in your group, but remember:

    • Share on a level appropriate to the trust that is being established.

    • Share about what is going on in your heart, and don’t throw others under the bus.

    • Sorry, there are no quick fixes.

    • There is rarely just one right or wrong answer to a discussion question. There are most often several different perspectives. Make room for them.

    • Don’t monopolize the conversation; take turns.

    • Friendships take time and happen organically; don’t rush the process.

  • Growth groups are not for selling products or raising funds:

    • If you represent a career or a product in your professional life, you can discuss this outside the group on a personal, relational level, but no one wants the growth group to become a sales pool or a fund raising pool.

  • Growth groups are not a dating pool:

    • Though people have met and married through our growth groups, this is not a dating service.


  • What is shared in your growth group stays in your growth group.

  • If something is shared that presents a concern that needs further input, please contact your growth group leadership team or growth group staff leader.

Spiritual Health:

  • As trust is built in your group, it’s healthy for members to give each other permission to ask difficult questions and cheer each other on toward real life change.

Shared Ownership:

  • Every group member is encouraged to share in the responsibilities of the group.

    • (See the next page on Sharing the Load in this notebook.)

Inviting People:

  • In an Open Group: Keep an open chair in the group and invite people from your family, workplace, neighborhood, and church.

  • In a Closed Group: Ask for permission from the group before inviting others to join.


Sharing the Load
As a group facilitator, your job is to lead a lively discussion and to encourage others to participate fully in the group. Here are some of the possible roles that can be filled in order for your group to function smoothly and not burn anyone out. Life as a couch potato is really not fun, so let people choose how they will contribute to your group in a significant way.
Alternate Discussion Facilitator

Most people don’t see themselves as leaders unless someone else points out their abilities. Look for people who are willing to step in and lead your group discussion if you can’t be there.
Name: ____________________________________________
Food/Special Events Coordinator

Everybody loves to eat! Have people take turns bringing snacks to your group. Someone needs to make the reminder contacts (email, phone, text, carrier pigeons, etc.).
Name: ____________________________________________
Group Communications

Your group will need someone who is willing to call, text or email group members in regard to schedule changes, prayer requests or other needs.
Name: ____________________________________________
Service Project Coordinator

Find someone who loves service projects and let them come up with ideas for how your group can serve our local or global community together. You are free to come up with your own ideas, or you can join others by jumping in with projects. Checkout some service project suggestions on the webpage under “Growth Group Hosts; Service Projects” tab.
Name: ____________________________________________
Children Coordinator

If your group needs childcare, you will need one or more volunteers to coordinate the details and serve as the childcare contact person. Options for organizing groups with children are listed on the following page.
Name: ____________________________________________
Group for Everyone Host Team

If you are leading a “Group for Everyone” we highly recommend developing a host team that represents both genders.
Guys’ Leader: ________________________ Gals’ Leader: ______________________________

What else does your group need and who is willing to make it happen?


Options for Groups with Children

Option One:

Depending on the ages of the children consider including them in all or some of your group time.

  • The plus side: Groups are a great opportunity for kids to share in biblical community.

  • The down side: Groups must be prepared for a measure of chaos.

Option Two:

Each family finds their own babysitter.

  • The plus side: No difficulty in trying to meet each family’s needs and preferences.

  • The down side: Babysitters can fall through often, causing people to miss the group on a regular basis.

Option Three:

Hire one or more babysitters to come to the host home. Some homes have an area for the adults and one area for the children.

  • The plus side: People are not individually trying to find babysitters. Parents feel comfortable with the children being so close.

  • The down side: The children often want to be with the parents and can be disruptive to the group.

Option Four:

Rotate group members weekly to watch the children at the host home.

  • The plus side: Same as above, plus this option saves money.

  • The down side: Somebody has to miss the study each week.

Option Five:

Choose another home for childcare. Some of our groups use one home for the study and one home for childcare. (In this option you can either hire a babysitter or rotate the adult member of the group).

  • The plus side: Good separation between children and parents.

  • The down side: Finding an available home in close proximity.

Option Six:

Get creative and let us know what works for your group!

* SNACK Schedule

















* NOTE: Not all groups want snacks. This should be discussed and decided on within your group.

Suggestions for Your
First Growth Group Gathering

Sample timeline for first gathering - overview:

90 Minutes total:
6:45 pm: Get coffee going and set out some beverages and maybe some snacks.

7:00 – 7:15: Allow people to arrive, fill out nametags, talk and enjoy a beverage or snack together.

7:15 – 7:25: Sit down and invite everyone to introduce themselves, share what they do and how they heard about the group.

7:25 – 7:26: Open in prayer.

7:26 – 7:35: Briefly introduce the focus of your group (type of study or activity you will be doing together). Explain the different roles within the group: Alternate Discussion Facilitator; Food/Special Events Coordinator; Group Communications; Service Project Coordinator; Children Coordinator; Group for Everyone Host Team.

    • If your group includes children, discuss options (see “Options for Groups with Children” in the notebook). Answer any questions.

7:35 – 8:15: Start your discussion by using the Discussion Guide/ELC DVD curriculum/etc.

8:15 – 8:16: Close in prayer.

8:16 – 8:30: Reminders for next week.

8:30: Kick them out politely.
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