Leader’s Guide 

Thank you for answering the call to lead a group through this devotional. Coming together as a group holds you accountable and provide an opportunity to develop consistency within your faith

Know that when you say ‘yes’ to minister to others, you are changing and affecting not only their lives but also the lives of everyone they come in contact with. You will find that as a leader, you will feel more connected with the devotionals as you will  take on a sense of ownership and responsibility and will want to support your small group as much as possible.

Receiving God’s Love is a 21-day daily devotional that can be offered during the Advent season and is also perfect for Valentines day.

The devotional is built around a daily devotional followed which is followed up by small-group interaction. As the group leader, your responsibility to facilitate discussion and conversation and make sure that everyone gets the most out of the devotionals. You are not responsible for having all the answers to peoples questions or reteaching the content. That’s what the devotional is for.

Your role is to guide the experience, encourage your group to go deeper into God’s work, cultivate an atmosphere of learning and growth amongst a body of believers.

Ideas and tips to get the most out of the Small Groups Sessions

  1. It’s About God- Although we use biblical principles to guide us on how to address strongholds in our lives, at the end of the day, remember that it’s always about God. Your role as a leader is to always point everyone to the cross.
  2. Partner Up. Have your group choose an accountability partner to go through the devotional with. It’s alway more encouraging when you can connect with someone on a regular basis, in addition to when you meet as a group.
  3. Keep a journal– Encourage your group to use a supplemental journal. They can choose from an on-line journal like Penzu (penzu.com) or use old school pen and paper. Either way taking time to record your thoughts, feelings,inspirations, directives from the Holy Spirit are a great way to maximize the experience.
  4. Be consistent- Meet at the same time and location each week. This will help the group to organize their time and their schedules. Try to select a time that works best for everyone.
  5. Plan ahead- Take time prior the weekly study to think about how you will present the material. Think about a particular story or example that would add to the material. Think about the most effective way to make use of the time.
  6. Keep it Intimate- Keep the small group small. I suggest a maximum of 12-15. This will create a more relaxed and transparent atmosphere so that people will feel safe to speak.
  7. Be transparent- You can set the tone for the group by sharing your story. This will help people to feel safe and establish trust with them. When you speak, give personal examples and avoid phrases like ‘some people’ and ‘Christians.’
  8. Be professional- Always start and end the sessions on time. Communicate clearly if you see that you will be going over time. Apologize and let them know how much you respect their time.
  9. Bring Lots of Energy– Let your passion for studying God’s word be evident. Remember that your energy level will set the tone for the entire group, so bring it!
  10. Pray- It might sound obvious, but make sure that prayer is an intricate part of the entire process. Pray at the beginning and end of every session. Feel free to call on others to lead the prayers.  During the session, you can have one person pray for the entire group; have one person open and another close, ask for requests or select someone. You can also encourage the group to pray for one another. Lastly, don’t forget to pray during the time leading up to the session.
  11. Keep it Simple-If the sessions get too complicated, people will find reasons not to attend. If you plan to serve snacks, keep it simple and healthy. Don’t plan weekly pot-lucks that will require the group members to do too much work.
  12. Be creative. Feel free to add music, props or anything that you feel will add to the environment and facility learning.
  13. Be comfortable- Make sure there is adequate comfortable seating for everyone. Check the temperature in the room Alert everyone to where the washrooms are located.

Preliminary Preparation

  • Pray and seek the Holy Spirit on whether you should participate in this devotional.
  • Determine with your group how long you want to meet each week so you can plan your time accordingly.  Most groups like to meet from one to two hours, so you could use one of the following schedules:
  • Promote the bible study through community announcements, social media, in your church bulletin or simply call a few of your friends.
  • Send out an email to list or send a message on social-media announcing the upcoming study.
  • Prior to the first meeting, make sure that everyone purchases a copy of the bible study.  Include a link where they can purchase it.
  • Have group read the day-1 devotional and be prepare to share their responses.

Suggested Group Plan

Because ‘Receiving God’s Love’ is an independent devotional, the group discussion will incorporate as series of small discussions within the greater discussion. Feel free to custom design the group experience to fit the needs of your group. The suggested plan is for a 4-week session. Here’s a breakdown of the 4 weeks.

A 4-Week Session Plan

Session 1

  1. Welcome everyone to the session and open the session with prayer.
  2. Share a bit about yourself and go around the room and have everyone introduce themselves. Have each person share what their Christmas season is like. What are the challenges and stresses that they face.
  3. Give an overview of the group devotional and a brief overview of the Healthy By Design Program.
  4. Housekeeping Items
  • format for the session
  • confirm dates and times
  • where washrooms are
  • ‘rules’ for sharing
  • commitment to confidentiality
  • attendance each week
  • snacks (have volunteers)
  1. Offer suggestions to get the most out of the study. Discuss weekly love challenge and encourage group to complete them instead of just reading.
  2. Stress the importance of trust and transparency
  3. Instruct the group to complete the next 6 days before the next session. Encourage them to carve out some time each day to participate in the complete the devotional. Find out what the best time for them is.
  4. Review the Day-1 devotional and ask group to share their responses.

Suggested Discussion Starters

  • What did you think about the analogy of the different types of flowers judging themselves. Did it make you think about how you compare yourself?
  • What does it means to you to be created in God’s image.
  • What would your life look like if you truly lived out that truth?
  1. Have group read day 2-7 for next week’s session
  2. Close the session in prayer.

Session 2

  1. Welcome the group.
  2. Start with an opening prayer.
  3. Ask the group what insights/breakthroughs/testimonials they encountered as a  result of what the Holy Spirt has been showing them.

Suggested Discussion Starters ( from day 2-7)

  • Reflect on God’s steadfast love in your life. Think of all the ways He has loved you.
  • What is stealing your peace?
  • Think about all the things you take for granted. Now give thanks to God for all of them. Does it change your perspective.
  • What keeps you from truly experiencing the depth of God’s love.
  • Picture Jesus sitting with you right now. What is He saying to you? What are you saying to Him?
  • Ask the group which of the sessions in week one were most impactful for them.
  1. Make a closing remark or statement to tie in the entire conversation.
  2. Have group read day 8-14 for next week’s session.
  3. End with a closing prayer

Session 3

  1. Welcome the group.
  2. Start with an opening prayer.
  3. Ask the group what insights/breakthroughs/testimonials they encountered as a  result of what the Holy Spirt has been showing them.

Suggested Discussion Starters (from day 8-14)

  • Where do you need God’s grace in your life today?
  • In what ways could you open your heart and accept His gift of love.
  • Think of the grace, power and love you possess as a result of God’s love for you. How can you walk in a manner worth of your calling?
  • Think about your health journey, how can it reflect Christ being alive in you?
  • If you truly believed that God’s love is unconditional, how would that change the way you live?
  • What will you do to show God how much you love Him and abide in Him?
  1. Have group read day 15-21 for next week’s session
  2. End with a closing prayer

Session 4

Think about how you will make the final session memorable. Maybe end with a health meal, exchange written gifts or organize something small that symbolizes God’s love.

  1. Welcome the group.
  2. Start with an opening prayer.
  3. Ask the group what insights/breakthroughs/testimonials they encountered as a  result of what the Holy Spirt has been showing them.

Suggested Discussion Starters (from day15-21)

  • Think about your health journey, how can you use the trials and difficulties as an opportunity to draw closer to God.
  • Think of the busyness of the season. Where can you exchange complexity for simplicity and overwhelm for ease?
  • Reflect on a biblical characters who confessed their sins and God forgave them. How do you feel about that?
  • How can you stop second guessing God and trust His plans for you?
  • Think of all the ways you don’t love yourself and contrast it to how much God loves you.
  • Where are you trying to do things in your own strength on your health journey. What will you turn over to God?

4. Wrap up session with closing words/thoughts

5. End session with a closing prayer.

Thank you again for taking the time to lead your group. You are making a difference in the lives of others and having an impact on the kingdom of God.