Life Group Leader September Update

Life Group Leader September Update

Life Group Leader Update


September 2022


Welcome/Vision Casting

We all need Intentional relationships that point, lead and move each other toward Christ.

This is one of the most unique gifts that God has given us – those close relationships in church where we are able to build one another up. This was a cornerstone of the church in its earliest days and continues to be that today.

At Magnify Church, one of the best ways we do that is by connecting people in small groups. These intentional relationships are where we can be known, present and faithful.

In Fall 2022, our desire is to include more and more people into these opportunities. There have been many reasons over the last couple of years for people to step away from these crucial relationships. This year, join us in praying and inviting our neighbors, friends and church family into intentional community, always making disciples and magnifying Jesus’ name.


Please join us for Ignite – the first, one-night volunteer conference at Magnify! This fun video may spark your interest and help you understand what to expect on September 7.

Sept 7, 6pm @ all campuses

Our focus will be on our value of Reach, where we desire to welcome everyone in the name of Jesus. Pastor Matt Zainea will be our keynote speaker, helping us know how we can be the Light of the World to those around us.

At this thoughtfully planned event, we’ll share a meal, worship, pray and learn together about the ministry areas we are serving in REACH.

*Special note: We’ll be hosting breakout sessions for Groups at the Northview and Rockford Campuses – this will be a great time for us to get aligned together this year, and help you as a leader know how we can work together.

DON’T FORGET THE AFTER PARTY! After the initial festivities, we’ll invite you to hang out and enjoy time with everyone for food and fun. Music, games and great snacks will be available after our break-outs.

This will be an evening you won’t want to miss out on!

Sermon Discussion Guide 2.0

Imagine being a Christian 100 years ago. The year is 1922. The church you belong to is probably whichever is closest to you that shared your confessional beliefs. There’s probably one bible that your family shared. Most of your time during the week for discipleship was inside the church walls. Your pastor would’ve been one of the most influential voices in your town.

Fast forward 100 years and we have, as John Piper puts it, an “embarrassment of riches” when it comes to discipleship content and theological material. We truly stand on the shoulders of giants and have many things we can look to, to grow in our faith.

But one shared gift that we have with our brothers and sisters in the faith, not only from 100 years ago but through all church history, is the in-person corporate gathering to worship, pray and hear the Word preached. This preaching of the Word to us by a brother in Christ, who is mature and qualified, has been a longstanding vessel of how we grow in our understanding of who God is, what the Word of God says and how we ought to apply it to our lives.

This is a treasure that we seek to be helpful to you and your group, beyond the Sunday sermon. 100 years ago, most of what believers knew of God came from those messages. We want to recapture the power of circling back to those messages throughout our week, not merely hearing it and having it go out the other ear by the time we reach the parking lot (James 1:22-25).

That’s why this Fall, we’re encouraging our Life Groups to take time to think back and dig deeper into the text and sermon from the past Sunday using our Sermon Discussion Guide. This has been a regular part of many of our groups over the years. But over the course of this summer, our team has revamped and redesigned the look, as well as the structure. Our goal was to make it as power-packed and effective for your group as possible.

Our hope is that this guide is a blessing to you and your group as you consider what our pastors preach to you. Whether it is the central topic of discussion or simply a good way to “get things going” in your group time, we desire that our groups be blessed again and again by the church’s teaching.

We want to make it as easy as possible for you to receive the guide each and every week.

Soon we will have a “Subscribe” feature for the Sermon Discussion Guide so it will automatically show up in your inbox every Monday morning.

You can always find our discussion guides for current or past sermons on our website:

For questions, or if you would like to join the team who creates the guide, please email us at [email protected].

Leader Refresh – Fall ‘22

As group leaders, we know the significance of living in community with one another where we can be Known, Present and Faithful to each other. But, we also know the unique challenges that come with leading a group.

That’s why we desire to gather together with our leaders on a regular basis to help navigate those challenges.

This fall, we will continue what we started this summer by hosting our first ever Fall Leader Refresh. This will be a time to get together with other small group leaders from various ministries, focus in on a topic that is uniquely important to you, and discuss it with others going through the same thing. This will be a great way for us to share experiences and ideas, to spur one another on toward love and good deeds!

More information will be coming on specific details, but plan on us hosting this during the month of November at each of the campuses. Stay tuned!

Resource encouragement

Do you want to mix things up in your group?

Ever get the desire to want to communicate a complicated theological truth in a simple, yet compelling way?

The Bible Project is a powerful and creative resource that I’ve used for years. These short, beautiful, creative videos cover everything from summaries of the books of the bible, to addressing specific phrases or words in the Bible, or even the basics of how to read the bible.

Consider using them to introduce a topic or book study. Try weaving them into your group time, or just pass them along via text during the week in-between group meetings. You will be so encouraged by the way Tim Mackey and his team unfold some of the great truths from our old sacred texts in the relatively new medium of animation.

Check them out on their website: or on YouTube:

Encouraging Ideas

As we head into the fall, our team has been working hard to ensure that we help you as a leader have the best possible support. Whether it’s helping your group run smoothly, helping to navigate challenging situations in care, or giving you resources to assist your group, we desire to come alongside you to help you lead well.

We’d encourage you to take the next several days this week to do three super simple things that make a huge difference: Plan, Prepare, and Pray.

Plan: take some time one day to sit down, review your group’s past and think about it’s future.

  • Ask…
    • What is going well? Where are we strong?
    • What’s not going so well? Where are we struggling?
    • Is there anything we are missing or that is confusing about our group? What needs clarity?
    • What does my group need to grow in relationship with Christ in this season?
    • Consider reaching out to your group to solicit feedback from them on the above.

Prepare: take time after planning to put together the pieces you’ll need.

  • Look…
    • For topics or resources that address these areas you’ve identified needing focused attention. Start with the Bible and work outward to other resources that may be helpful. Reach out to us at the church for ideas – we have tons!
    • At the calendar to plot out a path for your group. It can be helpful to group members to know where things are going for the next season together. Think in chunks of time like 6, 8, 10, 12 weeks. Too much farther out and it can seem very intimidating. Too much shorter and it can feel a bit “last minute”. Figure out the timing that works best for your group.

Pray: to the Father for his provision, his wisdom, his care.

  • Go…
    • to the Lord for all your needs. All of the above things, no matter how good we are or how prepared we feel, we need to be aligned with the Lord. Don’t rush out too far ahead of him, nor get distracted and wander off.
    • Each day, step-by-step, walk with the Lord in an abiding relationship (John 15).
    • As skilled or talented as we may be or how great our programs or processes; the Lord delights in those who fear and look to him for all they need (Ps. 147:10-11).

Meet the Team

Haven’t gotten a chance to meet with our team yet? Here’s 5 Rapid-Fire Questions we asked to help you get to know us just a bit better…

Kathryn Jones, Groups Administrative Assistant

  • What’s your favorite snack food?
    • Something salty, like tortilla chips, cashews, popcorn, etc.
  • How long have you been leading groups?
    • About 16 years.
  • What’s one of your favorite books/authors?
    • 66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb. I always pull this book out when life is hard. It really helps to reorient my thinking about how life works. I’m prone to believe that I can earn God’s favor with my “good” performance. So then when things don’t go my way, my first instinct is to pout and believe that God doesn’t love me. Like the older brother in the prodigal story, I tend to believe that by “being good” I’ve earned the good life. This book turns all of that formulaic thinking on it’s head! My heart deeply resonates with the truth that God meets me, loves me and is tender to me through my suffering. Of course, God loves us in the good times too, but my hardest and most dear lessons have been learned through suffering. 
  • Any hidden talents?
    • I love to sing, and used to sing in church back in the day. I sing all the time at home and will make up songs about anything. But, I am good with keeping that “talent” hidden and at home!
  • Name someone close to you who represents Jesus well and why.
    • My husband, Matt. I have never been more convinced of someone’s love than I am of his. He loves me when I’m happy, sad, mad, grumpy, tired, annoyed, or even when I’m annoying. He loves all of me, and I never have to pretend with him. Through his love, I get a beautiful snapshot of how Jesus loves me.

Eric Shelner, Groups Coordinator

  • What’s your favorite snack food?
    • Take 5 Candy Bars
  • How long have you been leading groups?
    • 15 years
  • What’s one of your favorite books/authors?
    • Dangerous Calling by Paul David Trip
  • Any hidden talents?
    • I can eat napkins ridiculously fast…you have to see it to understand.
  • Name someone close to you who represents Jesus well and why.
    • My mentor, Dwight Peterson. He always found a way to bring scripture to light in every area of life and modeled what it meant for marriage to be a picture of Christ’s love for his church.

Trent Heaton, Groups Director

  • What’s your favorite snack food?
    • Jerky or trail mix
  • How long have you been leading groups?
    • Since high school (20+ years)
  • What’s one of your favorite books/authors?
    • Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Tim Keller. Powerful book that helped me grow in my practice and appreciation for time in prayer with our Heavenly Dad.
  • Any hidden talents?
    • Pancake Artist… I love taking time on Saturdays with my kids to make all kinds of shapes: cartoon characters, animals – my favorite to make are fish!
  • Name someone close to you who represents Jesus well and why.
    • My brother Jake. He’s a welcoming conversationalist who cares genuinely for the people he meets. He’s open-hearted and loving, yet sure of his convictions and backs them up with Scripture. He’s a great example of servant-leadership.

Connect with Us

We love getting to know our leaders! Please connect with us to set up a time for coffee or a meal (or even simply a phone call). We’d love to know how we can serve you and alongside you as you lead.

Feel free to connect with anyone on our team:

Trent – [email protected]

Eric – [email protected]

Kathryn – [email protected]