group ground rules
We recommend that groups use these best practices as “ground rules.” Let’s effectively communicate and model them as reminders to one another.
As a community of men who become fully alive by being known, we want to have intentional, trusting, and consistent groups where we help one another grow in our relationship with Jesus.
We don’t “leak.”
Confidentiality should be nonnegotiable.
A simple way to remember this is: What’s said in the group stays in the group.
we don’t “fix.”
Giving advice is the natural reaction for most men, but it’s typically more harmful than helpful.
If we offer solutions every time a man shares what he’s dealing with, he will stop sharing.
The time for giving advice is when we are specifically asked (and then sparingly).
Consider responding with phrases like: “That sounds hard,” “I’m sorry you’re dealing with that,” and “Thanks for trusting us and sharing.”
We don’t “preach.”
The mature man listens most, shares more, and tells less .
You should openly share your thoughts and feelings, but don’t dominate the conversation..
Avoid being the theology police or using Scripture to confront another person (during or outside of group).
POSTURE OF A LEADER
WHY IS A LEADER’S POSTURE IMPORTANT?
The effectiveness of a small group in helping people grow in their relationship with Jesus is connected to whether or not a leader’s posture is one of humility, teachability, curiosity and intentionality.
Your group members do not expect you to have all the answers. They do expect you to care about who they are and have a desire to help them to grow.
Humility is the result of a strong relationship with Jesus and understanding that ultimately he brings the growth and change we want for ourselves and others.
Teachability is a spirit that says, “I will constantly learn about myself, others, and God; so God can use me in new and different ways.”
Curiosity is a genuine interest and concern for others.
Intentionality is viewing each interaction in the group as an opportunity to invest in the lives of others and to grow as a child of God.
MEN'S GROUP SCHEDULE
LEARN | 20 MINUTES
Men’s Group Content
1 Year Track
GROW | 40 MINUTES
Discuss: What does this mean (for me personally?)
Engage: What am I going to do about it (what step of faith is God inviting me to take?)
Support: How can we help?
men’s group curriculum guide
Section one: God
Core vs. Periphery (Anthology, 1 week)
Bible Project Videos:
What Is the Bible Basically About? (Tim Keller Youtube video)
30-Day Reading Plan (On Jesus’ Life)
2 Timothy 3
Section two: Me
Section 3: Others
What Happy Couples Know (Stanley: 4 parts)
Parent Unscripted (4 parts)
Fathering on Purpose (Anthology, 1 part)
The Power of Words (groupleaders.org: 1 Part)
For Men Only (Feldhahn)
5 Love Languages (Chapman)
Loving Our Kids on Purpose (Silk)
You Have What It Takes (Eldredge)
12-month men’s group calendar
Men’s Groups work best with a balance of light-hearted spontaneity as well as intentionality and planning. We recommend creating a 12-Month Plan using the NP MEN Content Guide and the Social Guide to optimize group time for spiritual and relational growth. Planning will also allow you to attend and utilize NP MEN events like Man Weekend (1st weekend in March), Man Night (September), and Be Rich service opportunities (near Christmas).
Below is a detailed sample of a plan for a new group based on a 30-meeting year, which is the average amount of times a group meets after holidays and summer breaks.
Remember: This this is just a sample, not all pieces of content are 4 weeks and you may need to add or takeaway blocks of meetings to best lead and plan for the individuals in your group.
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connect: 10 questions
WHY IS CONNECTION TIME IMPORTANT?
Knowing what’s currently going on in a man’s life and having context for what has shaped his life is a core component in building relationships of trust.
Use one of these ten questions to facilitate the Connect time at the beginning of a small group meeting. They are in no specific order but are each designed to be a catalyst for deep connection around different aspects of life.
In what area of life do you need to place more trust in God?
How would someone you are close to or your spouse describe your relationship with them currently?
What area of your life is not aligned with the direction you want to be heading?
What are you currently passionate about?
What is one thing about your spiritual life you’d like to see change in the next six months?
In what way are you trying to seem better than you really are?
Where is there potential for your character and integrity to be compromised?
What is one thing you’ve done or experienced in the past 60 days that you’re proud of?
What is your dominant emotion right now and why?
What is one obstacle to your spiritual or personal growth?
bible study method
We are a community of men who frequently engage scripture to align ourselves with truth and grow our relationship with God.
Whether used as a private discipline or a group study, this plan allows for:
Simplicity: allowing easy memorability
Accessibility: can be used as a personal discipline or group study
Portability: can be used to study any part of scripture any time
PRAY LORD, TEACH ME . . .
This needs to be simple and brief. This is not the place for a prayer list or extended quiet time prayer, but a time to prepare our hearts as we pray, “Lord, teach me your word” or “Father help us understand what the scriptures say.”
READ WHAT DOES IT SAY?
Read the passage of scripture. If you are doing the study as a group, have someone read the passage out loud to make sure everyone has heard the words at least once.
THINK WHAT STOOD OUT?
This part of the plan requires two steps:
Take a mental note or write in a journal the words, phrases, or ideas from the passage that stood out or “spoke” to you.
Consider the context of the passage both in terms of its place in scripture (what comes before and after) as well as the setting, speaker, audience, style of writing, and cultural considerations.
APPLY WHAT CAN I DO?
Determine one way you can apply what you read, felt, or learned in the next few days. This is done best in the context of a group with others who can ask about the application as well as provide accountability.
NP Men’s group members meet as a group and one-on-one with each other.
Why are one-on-ones important?
A one-on-one is a key way men become known and build trust. It also adds to the connectedness and momentum of a men’s group.
Being one-on-one with another man can be better than a group environment for:
Going deeper, sharing that last ten percent
Encouraging and challenging
Conflict resolution, dealing with specific issues
PREP Preparation for a one-on-one is critical.
Don’t underestimate the value of prayer.
Enter into your meeting humbly.
Don’t seek validation from the other man.
Seek to understand more of the other man’s story.
LISTEN The most value comes from listening and asking the next question.
Listen to the man. Listen to the Spirit.
Listen twice as much as you speak.
Make eye contact.
Ask questions that seek to understand.
Can you tell me more?
What were you feeling?
ENGAGE Join them in the topic or story.
Be present—avoid screen distractions.
Be genuinely curious.
Avoid the need to solve problems or alleviate strong emotions
Be empathetic. Join him in the feelings he is experiencing at the moment.
Find a way to be transparent.
Group members will connect with another member for breakfast, lunch, or coffee to get to know each other a little better and go deeper.
The people in the first column have the responsibility to initiate the call. Each group member will work out their own times and places.
Create the initial spreadsheet that will start this month.
Rotate people each month so that each man is paired with a new person every month.
WHAT IS COMMUNION?
Communion is an opportunity for followers of Jesus to remember and celebrate what he has done for them through his death and resurrection. The Communion bread and grape juice (or wine) represent Jesus’ broken body and shed blood. They’re reminders that we are forgiven through his sacrifice.
WHO SHOULD CELEBRATE COMMUNION?
Some believe Communion should be available only to those who follow Jesus. Others believe Jesus invites all to his table. You may have believers in your group from traditional church backgrounds who aren’t comfortable celebrating Communion in a group environment. That’s okay. Either way, Communion is an opportunity to share what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
WHERE SHOULD COMMUNION BE CELEBRATED?
We believe God invites us to celebrate Communion anywhere we want and as often as we want. We also believe you don’t have to be an ordained pastor to serve it. Strategically, a Community Group leader is the best person to serve it. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate servant leadership. If members in your group disagree, that’s okay. Remember, you do not need to convince them to celebrate Communion if they don’t want to.
celebrating communion with your group
Read a few passages of Scripture about Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection; Isaiah 53; Mark 15:21–39; John 19; Corinthians 15:1–8; Galatians 2:16–21; Ephesians 2:1–10; Philippians 2:1–11; 1 Corinthians 7:17–32; Psalm 22ad
PASS THE COMMUNION ELEMENTS AROUND
Read 1 Corinthians 11:23–26.
Prompt your group members to eat the bread (or wafer) and drink the juice (or wine).
Encourage each member to spend some quiet time in prayer and reflection. You may want to play music during this time. Here are a few suggestions:
“Come As You Are” by Crowder
“Holy Spirit” by Katie and Bryan Torwalt
“Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin
This is our plan for the group “season” (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer). With intentionality we can be a group of men who are rooted in Jesus, fully known by a few, and engaged in our unique callings to serve and love others.
In order to do that, we will keep in mind the following components that help our group connect relationally and grow spiritually. Discuss and take notes at the beginning of a “season” during your group.
season of study
(winter, spring, summer, fall)
(Book, video series, bible study, etc. See Content Guide.)
Study 1: ____________________________________
Study 2: ____________________________________
Study 3: ____________________________________
(Marriage exercise, forgiveness, etc.)
What are relational assignments or challenges we would like to pursue together this season?
(Scripture or passage memory, meditation, or scribing)
Do we want to set a common goal regarding scripture?
(What can each individual or the group as a whole bring to the Father this month?)
Is there something specific we should be intentional in praying for as a group throughout this season?
(Dinner, activity, physical challenge, family get together, service. See Social Guide.)
What do we have on the calendar this season for social time?
(A time to increase trust and being known between members. See One-on-one Guide.)
What is your plan to meet for one-on-ones?