Small Group Leader Resources

Small Group Leader Resources

General Resources

Leader Formation Video 1
Leader Formation Video 2
Leader Formation Video 3

An excellent video on leading Small Groups can be found here. While targeted for those leading a Bible Study, the principles remain the same.

This site has some ideas for unique ways to open in prayer, including praying for the community or specific things in the lives of participants. Some would only work in person, but some still work online.

If you’re looking for more interesting ideas for prayer, check out this site which has 20.

If you’re looking for practical tips on how to lead group prayer, this site has some pointers.

October 17th to December 18th, 2021

Content for October 24th to 30th, 2021

Content for October 17th to 23rd, 2021

September 12th to October 9th, 2021

Content for October 3rd to 9th, 2021

Content for September 26th to October 2nd, 2021

Content for September 19th to 25th, 2021

Content for September 12th to 18th, 2021

“Half Truth”
Message Series Resources

Summary:
A half-truth is a statement that includes some element of truth; the statement might be partly true, but in leaving out the rest of the truth, it brings about a deception. The half-truth often leads us to embrace a whole lie.  In this series, we will confront popular misconceptions and errors in thinking that our culture believes. Four of the five weeks of this series deal with basics of our faith: the Ascension, Pentecost, the Trinity and Corpus Christi. We will explore each of these truths of our faith and show the popular misconceptions they refute, including: there are many ways to God, all religions are the same, you don’t need a Church to connect with God, Communion is a symbol, and God won’t give you more than you can handle.

We have provided, below, videos from “The Search Continues” that support this content. You are encouraged to make use of these with your Small Group to help lay the groundwork for fruitful discussion, but the questions will be based on the Message Series, so watching the video content is not essential.
*Note: Session 5 (June 20th to 26th) will fall after the last week of the Half-Truth Message Series as we move into a summer schedule. The questions for this week will be based entirely on the videos, and not on the series.

“Half-Truth” Session 1 – I don’t need the Church to have a relationship with God

If you have not completed watching The Search series, click here
If you have completed watching The Search series…

Message Summary

This weekend we celebrated the birth of the Church at Pentecost. Many people have given up on Church because they do not think they need the Church to connect with God. However, the Church is God’s chosen instrument to bring Christ (who is the way, the truth and the life) to the world. In this week’s Message and discussion we want to look at why committing to, and loving, a local church is absolutely important to grow our faith. The Church was, is, and will always be God’s plan for us to connect with him.

Opening Questions

  1. What reasons do you have to love the Church? What good things has the Church done for you?
  2. What makes it difficult for you to love the Church?

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:4-14

Read the passage from St. Paul aloud. Then read it again a second time. What words or phrases jump out at you?

  • Paul lists some spiritual gifts in the reading. What gifts do you believe you might have? How can you use your gift(s) to serve in the church?
  • Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.
  • How does Paul describe the Church. What does this tell us about our need for the Church?
  • If a friend asked you why you are involved in Church, how would you respond?
  • What does it mean to stay committed to the Church despite its faults and failures?

Prayer: Close in Prayer. Encourage everyone to pray for the Church and for the wisdom to use their gifts to minister and serve the body.

“Half-Truth” Session 2 – All religions are the same

Message summary

Many people in our culture argue that all religions are the same. It is true that all religions wrestle with similar questions. They struggle with questions such as: What is the very foundation of reality? Does God exist? If God exists, what is his nature? Is there one God or are there many gods? If God exists, what does he expect of us? Does he expect anything of us? Various religions attempt to answer these and many other questions. Religion is a set of beliefs that attempt to explain what life is all about, who we are, and the most important things human beings should spend their time doing.

But not all religions are the same and even a cursory look at the different religions reveals that they are not the same. Our Christian faith is based on the belief in the Trinity: there is One God in three divine persons. God is an eternal exchange of love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is a community of love. Since God is ultimately a community of love, that makes love the highest value in our lives.

Opening Questions

  1. Some people say that all religions are the same. What are your thoughts on that statement?
  2. What have you learned about other religions besides Christianity? What are their basic teachings about God and life?
  3. Christianity teaches there is one God and three divine persons. God is a community. How is this different from other faiths? How would you explain it to someone? 

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:9-11

Read through the passage from Mark. Then read it aloud a second time. Ask members of the group to share any words or phrases that stick out to them.

Questions

  • In this passage, each member of the Trinity is represented.  Verse 9 is about Jesus. What does Jesus’ baptism reveal about the Son?
  • Verse 10 tells us about the Spirit. What does this verse tell us about the Spirit?
  • Verse 11 refers to the Father. What is revealed about the Father?
  • The Trinity reveals to us that a community of love is our highest value. What is one way you can put away self-centred desires and actions this week and instead love God and love others?

Prayer: Go around the room in prayer. Encourage each person to pray for the grace to centre on others and be less self-centred.

“Half-Truth” Session 3 – Communion is a Symbol

Message Summary

The textbook definition of a sacrament is “an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.” So a sacrament is something Jesus gave us as a way to give us grace. A sacrament is a sign or a symbol. Sacraments are these physical signs to show what God wants to do for our souls. For example, Baptism washes away original sin, so the key sign of Baptism is water.

Communion, which we normally receive each week, is meant to be a sign or symbol of God’s desire to nourish our souls. Just as your body needs food and nourishment, taking Communion reminds you that your soul needs nourishment as well. In that sense Communion is a symbol of what God is doing.

However, Communion is more than a symbol. Jesus said that the bread and wine are his body and blood. The Eucharist was instituted at a Passover Meal and the apostles would have understood that Jesus was instituting a new covenant and that he was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He saw himself as the new Passover lamb. Just as you had to eat the lambs in the old Passover to benefit from God’s grace, so in the new covenant you need to eat the lamb in the new Passover.

Opening Questions

  1. What have you been taught about Communion? What do you remember being taught as a child? What have you learned or read as an adult?
  2. The Church teaches that Communion is Jesus’ body and blood, soul and divinity. Do you believe in this teaching? What makes it hard to accept

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:12-16; 22-26

Read through the passage from Mark. Then read it aloud a second time. Ask members of the group to share any words or phrases that stick out to them.

Questions

  1. What steps did Jesus take so that he could celebrate the Passover meal with his apostles? What do these steps tell us about the importance of the meal?
  2. Read again verses 22-24. What are Jesus’ exact words? Why does this reinforce that the Eucharist is not just a symbol?
  3. At the first Passover, God directed the Israelite people to do five things, which are listed below. How does Communion continue to fulfill these actions?
    1. Choose an unblemished lamb
    2. Sacrifice the lamb
    3. Spread the blood of the lamb on the home as a sign of the sacrifice
    4. Eat the flesh of the lamb
    5. Keep the Passover as a day of remembrance forever
  4. What are your thoughts on this idea? Every day we take food and drink into our bodies and turn it into our own flesh and blood. If we can do this through physical means that God established, then can God through supernatural means turn the bread and wine into his body and blood?
  5. What can you do this week to appreciate Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist or to answer questions about his Real Presence?

For Further Learning
Books: The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn
             Jesus and The Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre
Videos: Jesus and The Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre
The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn

Scripture: John 6; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29

Closing Prayer

Go around the room closing in prayer.

“Half-Truth” Session 4 – God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle

Message Summary

This is the fifth and final week of our series Half-Truth. We are confronting the half-truth that God will not give us more than we can handle. This is true if we mean that God is Provident and in control of the world. It is true if we mean that God will always be with us. The whole truth, however, is that God often gives us more than we can handle so we will return to his presence, depend on his power, and grow in our faith and trust in him.

Opening Questions

1.   When you are feeling overwhelmed, are you most likely: to work harder and longer, go eat, ask for help, go somewhere peaceful and hope it goes away, or do something fun?

2.     Do you agree that we tend to pray more when we are facing major problems and tend to forget about God when life is going well?  Why do you agree or disagree?

Scripture Reading: Mark 4:35-41

Read through the passage from Mark. Then read it aloud a second time, asking members to engage their imagination. What do they hear? What do they see or smell? Ask members of the group to share any words or phrases that stick out to them.

Questions

  1. What has been your most recent storm?
  2. The disciples obeyed Jesus, but still found themselves in a huge storm. Why is it important to know that sometimes we can experience a storm when we are aligned with God’s will?
  3. What do the disciples accuse Jesus of? Have you ever felt the same way towards God?
  4. The disciples get to see Jesus’ power because they went through the storm. What is their reaction? When have you seen God’s power displayed through a storm? 
  5. What would it look like for you to go to God when you feel overwhelmed?

Closing Prayer

Go around the room closing in prayer.  Pray that you will use the storms of life to turn to God, depend on his power and grow in faith.

“Half-Truth” Session 5

You are unlikely to be able to cover all the content, so we would suggest you…

  • choose one or two videos to watch and discuss, or
  • watch all the videos but only discuss one or two, or
  • watch all the videos but only pick one or two questions per video to discuss.

For each video we have provided a list of scripture passages for reference. These are not required (or even suggested) reading; just a quick reference in case you or a group member want to see what Dr Barber is referencing in the video.

Opening Questions

  1. When you think about heaven, hell, and purgatory, which do you find the hardest to understand? Which do you find the hardest to imagine?
  2. If someone not of our faith asked you to tell them about heaven, hell, or purgatory, how would you describe or explain it?

Video Content: The Search Continues: What is Purgatory?
Scripture Referenced in Video: 1 Corinthians 3:10-17, Isaiah 48:10, Proverbs 17:3, Psalm 66:10-12, 2 Maccabees 12:39-45, Matthew 5:21-26 or Luke 12:54-59, Hebrews 12:29, John 13:34-35.

Questions – What is Purgatory?

  1. In our tradition, it is common to pray for those who have died. Do you think of them as being in purgatory when you do so? Have you ever considered why we pray for them?
  2. “Purgatory isn’t so much a place…purgatory is this process of being purged,” according to Dr Barber. He continues, “I think it’s really helpful to think of it as a fire of love”. Does this match with how you’ve viewed purgatory? If not, how does it help you to understand things more fully – or how does it challenge you and raise further questions?

Video Content: The Search Continues: What is Heaven?
Scripture Referenced in Video: 1 Corinthians 1:9, Revelation 19:6-9.

Questions – What is Heaven?

  1. “Heaven is entering into the very life of God and being with Him for all eternity,” according to Dr Barber. How closely does this match with the vision or image you have of heaven? In what ways, if any, does it stretch your understanding?
  2. Dr Barber suggests that heaven is timeless (he reminisces about his first date with his wife that seemed to fly by) and is, in fact, outside of time. This is beautifully in contrast with Chris Stefanick’s suggestion, at the start and end, that some people view heaven as sitting in a church pew for all eternity or getting boring over time. Which image more closely resembles your vision of heaven? In what ways might you need to rethink that image?
  3. For Personal Reflection:
    “The Bible begins and ends with a marriage…” Dr Barber compares Adam and Eve being made for each other to ourselves being made for God. Sometimes people talk about their “soulmate” here on earth. Do you think of God as your true soulmate?

Video Content: The Search Continues: Is There Really a Hell?
Scripture Referenced in Video: N/A, though see Luke 13:22-30.

Questions – Is There Really a Hell?

  1. “People choose self-destructive behaviour even in this life. They know it’s self-destructive, but they do it anyway.” Put yourself in God’s shoes, and imagine how sad and frustrating it must be when we choose poorly. How do you think God feels about anyone being in hell?
  2. “Even if you were to open up hell and say, ‘Alright everybody, come on out’…those in hell wouldn’t want to leave.” Hell can present a challenge for us when talking with non-Christians. How does this help you explain how hell is not just about punishment? Does this offer you a new way to explain hell to others?
  3. “If you don’t acknowledge that there’s a hell, then you’re either saying God forces us, he coerces us to love Him…or you’re saying that God is responsible Himself for all the evil in the world…Hell actually preserves the goodness of God”. Have you ever considered hell from this perspective? Does it adjust your attitude or understanding in any way?

Closing Prayer

Lead prayer yourself, or invite someone else to lead prayer, by offering thanks to God for the gift of heaven and the opportunity to perfect ourselves in purgatory before we meet him face to face.

“The Search” Resources

“The Search” Session 1

Opening Prayer

Suggestions: Our Father, Hail Mary, or Glory Be

Discussion Starters (Icebreakers)

Let’s go around the group and introduce ourselves. Where do you live? How long have you lived there? Where do you work? Are you married? Do you have children? What is a hobby/activity you enjoy? Finally, why did you join a Small Group? Let’s try to keep our answers to two minutes or less.

Discussion Questions

  1. What stood out to you in this week’s video? Was there something that will stay with you?
  2. How can happiness be the motive of every action?
  3. How do the people in your life bring you happiness?
  4. Have you ever thought, “I’ll be happy when…”?  If you achieved this, did it bring you (lasting) happiness?
  5. If someone were to ask you, “What do you seek?”, how might you respond?
  6. What does “religion” mean to you?

Closing Prayer

Dear God, thank you for this group. Thank you for the opportunity to wrestle with the big questions in life. May each of us come to a sense of peace about who we are and what is the purpose of our lives. Amen.

“The Search” Session 2

Opening Prayer

Suggestions: Our Father, Hail Mary, or Glory Be

Discussion Starters (Icebreakers)

Let’s go around the group and answer the following questions: Where did you grow up? Can you tell us a little bit of your family origin? Can you share a memory from your childhood that you cherish? Again, let’s try to keep our answers to two minutes or less.

Discussion Questions

  1. What stood out to you in this week’s video? Was there something that will stay with you?
  2. Have you ever been awed by nature?  What was that experience like?
  3. Do you see a Divine plan at work in the universe?
  4. Do you see a Divine plan at work in your life?
  5. What gives a human person dignity?
  6. What makes you, “you”?

Closing prayer

Dear God, it seems implausible that our existence is random. Thank you for the gift of life. Thank you for the ability to know and to love. May each of us come to a greater understanding of our dignity and the dignity of others. Amen.

“The Search” Session 3

Opening Prayer

Suggestion: Invite someone else to lead the Our Father, Hail Mary, or Glory Be

Discussion Starters (Icebreakers)

Starting with the person whose birthday is the closest to today, let’s answer the following questions: Where did you go to high school? What extracurriculars were you involved in? Did you work in high school? Can you share a memory from your adolescence that you cherish? Again, let’s try to keep our answers to two minutes or less.

Discussion Questions

  1. What stood out to you in this week’s video? Was there something that will stay with you?
  2. What was your view of God when you were a child?
  3. In what ways has your view of God changed over the years?
  4. Why do you think Jesus taught us to call God “Father”?
  5. Read the creation account in Genesis 1:1-31. Is there an “order” to God’s actions?
  6. What does a well-ordered life look like (or not look like) to you?

Closing prayer

Dear God, thank you for the ability to observe, study, and marvel at the created universe. May we be drawn to understand more deeply not only creation, but the creator. We ask for the gift of faith. Amen.

“The Search” Session 4

Opening Prayer

Suggestion: Invite someone else to lead the Our Father, Hail Mary, or Glory Be

Discussion Starters (Icebreakers)

Starting with the person who travels the longest to get to church, let’s answer the following questions: What did you do after high school? Did you go to college/university or into the workforce or military? Can you share a cherished memory from your life at this time?

Discussion Questions

  1. What stood out to you in this week’s video? Was there something that will stay with you?
  2. What makes a story worth sharing?
  3. Have you ever considered the Bible as the story of salvation? Explain.
  4. Have you ever considered your life as a story of salvation? Explain.
  5. How would living in the light of eternity affect the way you live your story?
  6. Rules without relationship leads to rebellion. How might this principle apply to Christianity?

Closing prayer

Dear God, the story of salvation has been called the greatest story ever told. What makes this story great is that it impacts each of us personally in that it is our story. Created out of love to be redeemed and transformed by love, may each of us say yes to a saving relationship with you. Amen.

“The Search” Session 5

Opening Prayer

Suggestion: Seek prayer petitions/intercessions and then pray an Our Father

Discussion Starters (Icebreakers)

Up to this point we have been sharing some details from our past. Now let’s consider the future. Sharing with the person who is willing to go first, let’s answer the following questions: What is something you hope to accomplish in the next five years? What is the one thing you hope to experience in your lifetime? Finally, is there one thing you would regret not doing before you breathe your last?   

Discussion Questions

  1. What stood out to you in this week’s video? Was there something that will stay with you?
  2. Who would you say has been one of the biggest influences in your life?
  3. How would you explain the popularity of Jesus Christ?
  4. If someone were to ask you, “Who is Jesus?”, how would you answer?
  5. As the perfect image of God, the Father, what does Jesus reveal to you about the way God loves you?
  6. If Jesus is truly God, as He claims to be, how might this affect the way you live your life?

Closing Prayer

Dear Jesus, in your divinity you reveal to us who God is and, in your humanity, you reveal to us who we are. May we have the confidence to respond like Peter to the question: Who do you say that I am? “You are the messiah, son of the living God” (see Matthew 16:16). Amen.

“The Search” Session 6

Opening Prayer

Suggestion: Seek prayer petitions/intercessions and then pray an Our Father

Discussion Starters (Icebreakers)

We have come a long way over the past five weeks with getting to know one another. We have shared details from our past and dreams for our future. In this session, let’s share where we are right now. Starting with the person who would like to go first, let’s go around the group and answer the following questions: If you had unlimited resources, how would you live your life? What important principles do you live by? What do you think is the difference between living and existing?

Discussion Questions

  1. What stood out to you in this week’s video? Was there something that will stay with you?
  2. How do you define success?
  3. Read Luke 15:11-32.  Considering this parable, what does it mean to be saved?
  4. Why might we find it difficult to simply allow God to love us?
  5. How does God suffering in Jesus affect the way you perceive your own sufferings?
  6. If you knew how to experience Heaven now, whom would you tell?

Closing prayer

Dear Jesus, it is said that you were no greater teacher than when you were hanging from the Cross, because it is there that we see a window into the very life of the Blessed Trinity – total selfless love. Thank you for making it possible for us to share in this blessed Trinitarian love. Jesus, we trust in you. Amen.

“The Search” Session 7

Opening Prayer

Suggestion: Seek prayer petitions/intercessions and then invite someone else to pray an Our Father

Discussion Starters (Icebreakers)

“The Search” does not provide specific questions for this session. I’d encourage you to refer to the resource “Small Group Icebreakers” and choose a question (or questions) from Level 1 or Level 2, depending on how well your group has gotten to know each other.

Discussion Questions

  1. What does the Catholic Church offer us?
  2. In what ways can the Church be your home?
  3. How does the Church give you everything you need to become the saint God is calling you to be?
  4. How do you process for yourself the conflicts and trials endured by the Church, or caused by its members?
  5. Christians throughout the centuries have risked their lives to attend Mass. Why?
  6. As we conclude this series, what is one thing you are grateful for from our time together or what is one take away for you?

Closing prayer

Heavenly Father, you have made us to be in communion with you and with one another. Thank you for the blessings of those who know, love, and care for us. Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of the church and the part it plays in your plan for humanity. Forgive us for the times we fail to be the people you desire us to be. Holy Spirit, thank you for dwelling within us and for the gifts you give us to build up the Church. Help us to produce the fruit of your love more abundantly in our lives.

All: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.