To lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ by creating a conversational environment where they can explore faith and experience community.
Starting Point is a conversational environment where people can explore faith and experience community. Starting Point groups are safe places for people with questions about faith, as well as those who want to learn about the Bible and Christianity. Groups meet for 8 weeks to explore the grand story of the Bible. One of the goals of Starting Point is to help participants find their places in the story.
- Seekers–those who are curious about God, Jesus, the Bible, or Christianity
- Starters–those who have just begun a relationship with Jesus Christ
- Returners–those who have some church experience, but have been away for a while
Starting Point groups meet for 8 weeks with each group meeting lasting approximately 75 minutes. Groups typically have ten to twelve participants and two to four leaders (for a maximum of sixteen people). Most groups meet at a North Point Ministries church on Sunday morning, but some will meet during the week [at the church].
The most effective way is by word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied group members and the personal testimonies given during baptism videos. We also use marketing tools such as signs, brochures, slides, bulletin announcements, and stage announcements.
Those wanting to join a Starting Point group attend a 20-minute orientation. Starting Point Orientations are held immediately after the services, either once or twice a month. We primarily describe the Starting Point environment and answer questions about logistics. After the orientation, people can register for a group. Groups typically begin within one to three weeks after the orientation. Depending on the size of your church and the interest level, you may elect to have monthly, quarterly, or seasonal orientations.
Each group member purchases a Starting Point Conversation Guide, which contains eight chapters of content. During the course of each week, participants:
- Watch a video message at StartingPoint.com.
- Use the Conversation Guide to journal thoughts and answer questions on how themes connect with their lives.
- Meet with their Starting Point groups to explore and share what they are learning.
Leaders utilize the Starting Point Conversation Guide, just like the group members. StartingPoint.com also includes a password protected Leader section with a variety of resources, including leader notes for each week of Starting Point.
The revised Starting Point Starter Kit will be available in January 2015. It's designed for ministry leaders and contains the following fully-downloadable information:
- Starting Point Starter Guide .pdf providing step-by-step instructions on how to successfully launch and sustain the Starting Point ministry.
- Starting Point Tools and Materials containing promotional videos, marketing logo and photos, administrative resources, and leader training tools.
Once individuals have completed Starting Point, we encourage them to continue their journeys of learning with others by joining a Community Group.
Yes, North Point Ministries’ churches have many long-term Community Groups that have used the Starting Point materials as a curriculum choice. Some groups have seekers, starters, or returners involved, so Starting Point is a good option in the beginning months of the group. However, every group could benefit from using the Starting Point materials and spending time exploring the message of the Bible and how God has revealed himself in our lives.
We use volunteer leaders who fit the following criteria:
- Member of a North Point Ministries church
- Member of a long-term Community Group
- Has been in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ for at least five years
- Has submitted an application; interviewed with a staff member; be approved, attend a new leader orientation, and apprentice with an experienced leader
We provide a variety of training opportunities, including:
- New Leader Orientation–A 2-hour overview of our mission and strategy, environment, and practical tools for leadership.
- All new leaders apprentice with seasoned leaders for at least one group cycle.
- Focused Training Events–Periodically, we host an all-day event for all the Starting Point and/or small group leaders in the church. The purpose is to inspire, appreciate, and equip them.
- Participant and co-leader evaluations–Surveys are filled out by participants and co-leaders at the end of the group. Co-leaders are also encouraged to take time to meet weekly to provide constructive feedback.
- One-on-One Leader Development–Leaders meet with a staff member, usually once per group cycle, for encouragement, advice, celebration, and prayer.
- Online Resources–We have helpful articles, recommended books, a blog, and websites
North Point Community Church (NPCC) started in 1996 and began hosting Starting Point environments in 1998. Initially, we utilized a different curriculum, but in 2001 we wrote and published the first Starting Point materials. Since then, NPCC has grown and added other churches and strategic partners as part of North Point Ministries. In 2005, we began revising the materials and officially published a new version of Starting Point in May 2006. In January 2009, Starting Point distribution went national as we partnered with Zondervan to increase the reach of Starting Point. Hundreds of churches across the world are currently hosting Starting Point groups. In 2014, Starting Point underwent another major rewrite. The revised Starting Point will be released by Zondervan in January 2015.
Our Sunday morning groups are held at the same time as our services, so we have childcare options available onsite. Childcare reimbursement is available for those groups meeting offsite on other days.
The Starting Point materials are translated and available in Spanish, Macedonian, Russian/Moldovan, Portuguese, Slovakian, and Marathi. The former version of Starting Point was translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Croatian, and Marathi. If you’re interested in using Starting Point in another language or international location, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The Spanish translation can be purchased HERE.
Yes! North Point Ministries works with select strategic partners around the world to implement Starting Point where it may be helpful. For more information about our strategic partnerships, go to www.goglobalx.org. If you’re interested in launching Starting Point in an international setting, contact email@example.com.
You may order Starting Point materials at our online store. Check the online store for any current specials and quantity discounts being offered.
We don’t know exactly why. What we do know is that God has blessed Starting Point and has used it to change thousands of lives. We believe that there are several aspects of the environment that seem to set the foundation for success:
- Simplicity of our church model–Starting Point is our only step for seekers, starters, and returners.
- Invest and invite strategy–As a church we create environments to which our attendees will want to invite their friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
- Small group emphasis–We believe that small groups create a context for life change.
- Visibility–Because of our target audience, visibility is a priority when it comes to marketing. Weekly bulletins, stage announcements, baptism videos, orientations, and building signage are a few examples.
- Valued–The resources given to Starting Point demonstrate the value placed on it by leadership. Examples at each church include dedicated Starting Point staff, an entire hallway with rooms devoted exclusively to Starting Point on Sunday mornings, and a designated Orientation room.
- Modeled–Many of our staff members, elders, and senior management team have led Starting Point groups.