• Group Leader Toolbox

    You want to encourage your group members.

    We want to partner with you.

Hello, Dinner Group Leaders! 

First – congrats and thank you for stepping into a leadership role at Hoboken Grace. Dinner Group is vital to building our community, and you — our Dinner Group Leaders — are vital to our mission of helping people find their way back to God. 

After ten years, we’ve learned and heard a thing or two that we think can help you as a leader and help your group, too. Within this toolbox is everything we think you might need to feel prepared, equipped, and encouraged to lead your dinner group each week. 

Be sure to stop back frequently as we’ll be posting new content designed just for you. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Reach out to dinnergroups@hobokengrace.com so we can better support you.

Getting Started

What Does a Successful Dinner Group Look Like?

A sucessful dinner group is built on a foundation core values. We know a group is successful when we see these three values in action:

Connecting the Unconnected

Giving people a place to belong authenitcally by drawing people into healthy relationships.

Helping People Take Their Next Steps

Encouraging spiritual growth by supporting individuals to take their next step and celebrating them as they do.

Reproducing Groups and Leaders

Sending leaders out on the mission of helping people find their way back to God.

What does it look like to run a Dinner Group?

It can seem overwhelming at first but it doesn’t have to be. With a little planning and these helpful tools, you can implement a great night that hits all the marks, and is cohesive and consistent so you can lead a successful group with ease.

Layout of the Group Meeting

Here we will cover three elements of every dinner group meeting:

+ Catch Up – Socializing
+ Warm Up – Ice Breakers
+ Gear Up – Content
+ Finish Up – Prayer

Planning the upcoming weeks.

The plan is our layout for what each night will look like when you lead your group. In our training where you learn the basics of leading a group, we will walk through with you on how to best lead each of these nights. We will also support you along the way so that you are never leading alone.

Dinner Group Agreement

The Dinner Group Agreement unifies the group around the mission while clearly communicating the expectations and process of the group. We try to keep it to three main things: show up, join in, and be real.

Dinner Group Leader Orientation

We ask all of our potential group leaders to start  with Dinner Group Leader Orientation. This orientation is designed to help prepare you to lead a group. We want to equip you to be a source of encouragement and hospitality for your group members. This orientation provides some helpful tools as you begin your journey of leading a group, and helps you move forward in your own faith.

Attend the Next Session

Dinner Group Pillars

Dinner Group Pillars are an essential part of creating a successful Dinner Group. They create continuity across all the groups and ensure a well-rounded
experience for everyone as you grow as a group together.

Ideally you should be implementing one of these pillars each week. We have created many tools to help you to do so, more are coming soon so keep checking in. So if you see something beyond this, missing a link, or have questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Connecting

Connecting nights grow and strengthen the group’s relationship and provide opportunities for new friends to get connected. Aim to host a connecting night once a month. This includes one night that extends the invitation to the public (connection or impact event) quarterly.

Tools :
+ Event Submission
+ Connection Events
+ Connection Event Calendar
+ Impact Events
+ Us Night

Communion

Communion means “the act of sharing.” On these nights, we share in common activities that encourage each other in our faith. Some weeks, a Dinner Group will worship together or share their stories. Other nights the group will pray for each other, our church, and our community.

Tools :
+ Encouragement Night
+ Worship
+ Prayer
+ Communion
+ Stories

Common Growth

Our Sunday conversations happen in a series over a period of weeks. Each series has common theme that focuses on an area of life that we all face day to day. On these nights we engage our group to work through the application that is the continuation of Sunday’s conversation.

Tools :
+ Weekly Questions
+ Approved Book Studies
+ Bible Study

Personal Growth

On personal growth nights, we each share the next steps in our relationship with God that we are currently taking or hope to take. We celebrate and encourage each other with each step we take.

Tools :
+ Growth Tools Booklet
+ Experience Plan
+ Put Off Put On
+ Your Circles
+ Life Plan

Group Next Steps

You’ve started a group and gotten through some pillars… what’s next? By now you should begin to notice your group members growth and generally assess where they are on their journey. Everyone will be at a different stage of their spiritual growth. Some will be more advanced than others, there is no such thing as slow growth, any step forward is a step in the right direction!

Do you or does someone in your group need information on next steps and growth? Visit the Next Steps Page.

While you are not responsible for your group’s spiritual growth, your role is to encourage their growth and help guide the group to support each other along their path. Here are some useful tips for you on how to do that and some links you can send to the group members who are ready to take a next step.

Join a Team

A great way for your group members to further their growth is to join a team at Hoboken Grace. There are many teams to choose from.

If you as a leader need help learning about the various teams or information on how to encourage your group members to join, visit our Join a Team Page

Join A Team

If your group members are ready to join a team or learn more about the existing teams send them to this link.

SHAPE - Spiritual Gift Assesment

Is someone in your group struggling to figure out where or how they should serve? This spiritual gift identifier may help guide them in finding a role.

Baptism

Taking the step of baptism is a way for your group members to make a public declaration about their faith. Having one of your members take this step, and having the group support them in this moment, is hugely powerful for you as a leader and the group as a whole.

If you as a leader want to discuss how you can support your group on this journey contact our Care Pastor Anthony Reimer.  Otherwise see the links below to get more information about  baptism.

What is Baptism All About? (For the Leader)

Need help explaining what baptism is and how it all works to your group? Check out this helpful guide.

What is Baptism (For a group member)

Is someone in the group ready to go “All-In” on baptism? Send them here, this will encourage them to sign up for a What is Baptism class.

Apprenticeship

As you lead your group, it is vital to the success of your group (and other groups in the future) that you pour into group members’ development and keep an eye out for who might be ready to lead a group after this group ends.

By passing on knowledge, skills, and opportunities, you are preparing others for future leadership while sharpening your own.

This is done by identifying those in your group who can eventually go on to create and lead their own Dinner Groups. Once you’ve identified those potential leaders, your next step is to prepare them to lead their own group by taking them on as your apprentice.

Apprentice Field Guide

Your complete guide to apprenticeship and mentoring. This is a great book at helping you identify others who have potential.

Small Group Vital Signs by Mike Mack

We recommend reading this book with your apprentice. It will provide topics the two of you can review together to develop their group leadership skills. If you need a copy contact your Group Director.

C.A.R.E Guides

Life is comes at people pretty hard sometimes. We want to partner you to encourage your members well in any season of life. C.A.R.E guides are a great resource that include actionable takeaways that are built around major life events such as job loss, death & grieving, moving, etc. If you come across anything that is beyond what you believe you can handle, please reach out to us ASAP or contact care@hobokengrace.com

C.A.R.E Guides

Follow this link to few all 12 of our C.A.R.E Guides to aid you in your support of your group member.

Email the Care Team

Ask your questions to the Care Team. The best way to start a conversation with them is to email them at care@hobokengrace.com

Leader Support

Meet our leadership team who is here to partner with you and support you on your journey as a Dinner Group leader. They have skills and training in multiple areas and can advise and encourage you in your struggles, offer you ideas and resources, and pray for you and your group. They are valuable allies and they are invested in your success so don’t hesitate to tap into them for any reason.

COMMUNITY DIRECTOR

Nick Lenzi

Nick  started as Community Director at Hoboken Grace in 2009 and was asked to come on board full time in 2013. Prior to moving into full time ministry, Nick worked on Wall Street as a Trade Support Analyst. He spends his free time with his wife Erika, together they enjoy attending comedy shows, concerts and people watching in New York City. Nick has a passion for seeing people find their family in their home away from home.

Contact Nick
AREA LEADERS

Sarah Neral

Associate Director &
Womens Area Leader

One of Sarah’s biggest joy comes from building community and helping people get connected. A NC native, she joined Hoboken Grace in 2011 when she moved to the NY/NJ area and joined staff in 2015. Prior to Hoboken Grace, Sarah worked in Wealth Management and Philanthropic Solutions with US Trust. When she’s not exploring Hoboken with her husband, CJ, and daughter, Lela Rose, you can find her immersed in a great book, planning a party or hosting a friendly gathering.

Contact Sarah

CJ Neral

Men’s Area Leader

CJ is the Men’s Area Leader for Hoboken Grace. Over the years CJ held various roles on the team as a community leader and dinner group leader. What he loves most about groups is the life change he gets to experience with others over the course of their time together. Professionally, CJ works as an accountant in Midtown. Avid sports fan. Coffee enthusiast. Enjoys spending free time with wife, Sarah and daughter, Lela Rose.

Contact CJ

Judy Wilson

Married Area Leader

Judy teaches college English at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, as well as acting in TV, film, and theater. Judy has led groups in IL and here, have coached dinner group leaders, and is excited to be an Area Leader.

Contact Judy and Lonzell

Additional Resources

Along the way we have picked up some helpful group leader resources that you may also find helpful.

Addressing the Mess

Is there conflict in your group or is one of your members going through a hardship? This guide can help you to deal with some of those situations. You can also contact Care Team.

GroupLeaders.Org

This site from our partner church network is loaded with tons of great resources to support and develop you further as a leader. We highly recommend you check it out.

Planning Center

Planning Center is where you are able to manage your group, group members, and report attendance.

What Are We Missing?

We’re always looking to expand our resources to partner with our group leaders. Is there something you came here for and were unable to find? Let us know.

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