Starting Point is a conversational small group environment where people can explore faith and experience community. This environment is ideal for those who are:

  • New to a relationship with Jesus Christ and looking to build a solid foundation for their faith.

  • Returning to a church background and have been away for a while.

  • Curious about God, Jesus, the Bible, or Christianity, but do not identify as a Christian.

Our mission is 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 the ideal small group for those with questions about faith and those who want to learn more about the Bible and Christianity.

Staff and Volunteers

The Starting Point Director and Coordinator are responsible for overseeing the Starting Point ministry and equipping Starting Point leaders. The Starting Point leader is a volunteer who is trained to shepherd and facilitate a Starting Point group. Starting Point leaders are the most important component of the environment. Starting Point is designed to be a conversational environment, not a place for teaching. Identifying leaders who are comfortable facilitating a discussion is critical.

Upon approval, Starting Point leaders are further equipped to lead their group through a new leader orientation, apprenticeship, annual training, and one-on-one meetings with a Starting Point Groups Director.

We also provide materials to assist them. These include leader notes, participant and co-leader evaluations, and online resources.

Each leader is equipped, developed, and monitored around Five Key Essentials:

  1. Develop Your Skills: Am I growing?

  2. Prioritize Preparation: Am I prepared?

  3. Promote Participation: Am I facilitating a conversation?

  4. Cultivate Relationships: Am I investing in group members?

  5. Encourage Long-Term Community: Am I encouraging next steps?

Starting Point Leader Description
Starting Point Leader Application

Resources

Starting Point materials are available for purchase from our online store. Available components include:

  • Conversation Guide – Recommended for each group member and leader

  • DVD – Optional

  • Strategy Kit – To launch and support a Starting Point ministry at your church

  • Promo Videos – To promote Starting Point during Sunday services

Additional group member and leader resources are available for free at SPMembers.com and SPLeaders.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Starting Point?

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 and for those who want to learn about the Bible and Christianity. Groups meet for eight weeks to reflect on central questions of faith and life.

What’s the purpose of Starting Point?

We believe that people want to have safe conversations about faith. Starting Point is a tool that allows us to do that.

Who is the target audience for Starting Point?

This environment is ideal for those who are:

  • New to a relationship with Jesus Christ and looking to build a solid foundation for their faith.

  • Returning to a church background and have been away for a while.

  • Curious about God, Jesus, the Bible, or Christianity, but do not identify as a Christian.

How are Starting Point groups structured?

Starting Point groups meet for eight weeks, with each group meeting lasting approximately 75 minutes. Groups typically have 10 to 12 participants and two to four leaders (for a maximum of 16 people). Most groups meet at a North Point Ministries campus on Sunday mornings, but some will meet during the week at the church.

How does North Point advertise Starting Point?

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.

How does North Point place people into Starting Point groups?

Whether it’s through one-on-one conversations, an orientation, or online, we let people know what Starting Point is and what it’s not. We also try to ensure the right people are getting into Starting Point groups, as we want these groups to include seekers (exploring faith), starters (new to faith), and returners (coming back to faith). Groups typically begin one to three weeks after someone signs up, depending on the demand. Depending on the size of your church and the interest level, you may elect to start groups on a regular basis or on an as-needed basis.

What do group members need to participate in Starting Point?

Each group member purchases a Starting Point Conversation Guide, which contains eight chapters of content and a Bible. This ensures all Starting Point group members and leaders use the same Bible so they are on the same page, literally.

During the course of each week, participants:

  • Watch a video message at SPMembers.com. Another option for the video message is to watch a shorter clip of the message together during group time using the Starting Point DVD.

  • Use the conversation guide to reflect on central questions of faith and life.

  • Explore and share what they are learning with other people during their group time.

What do leaders need to prepare and participate in Starting Point?

Leaders utilize the Starting Point Conversation Guide, just like the group members. Leader resources are at SPLeaders.com for weekly content, as well as high level training and information.

What resources are available from North Point Ministries if a church wants to start a Starting Point ministry?

The fully downloadable, Starting Point Ministry Kit is available to provide ministry leaders with everything they need to create a successful Starting Point environment, including a logo package, promotional videos and materials, and application and training materials.

What happens after people complete Starting Point?

Once individuals have completed Starting Point, we encourage them to continue their journeys of learning with others by joining a Community Group or serving on a ministry team.

Do long-term small groups use the Starting Point materials?

Yes, North Point Ministries campuses have 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 Starting Point.

What are North Point’s qualifications for leaders?

We use volunteer leaders who fit the following criteria:

  1. Engaged in a North Point Ministries church

  2. Member of a long-term Community Group

  3. Has been in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ for at least five years

  4. Has submitted an application, interviewed with a staff member, been approved, attended a new leader orientation, and apprenticed with an experienced leader

How does North Point train Starting Point leaders?

We provide a variety of training opportunities, including:

  • New Leader Orientation: To model a Starting Point environment, we do our New Leader Orientation in a three-week conversational setting. These materials can be accessed at StartingPoint.com.

  • Apprenticeships: All new leaders apprentice with seasoned leaders for at least one group cycle.

  • Focused Training Events: Periodically, we host an event for all the Starting Point and/or small group leaders in the church. The purpose is to inspire, appreciate, and equip them.

  • Evaluations: Participants and apprentices fill out surveys at the end of each group cycle. Apprentices are also encouraged to take time to meet weekly with their co-leader to provide and receive 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: Each week, we have helpful articles, recommended books, a blog, and websites for leaders on SPLeaders.com.

Where did North Point get the Starting Point curriculum?

North Point Community Church (NPCC) started in 1995 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. Starting Point distribution went national as we partnered with Zondervan to increase its reach. Hundreds of churches around the world are currently hosting Starting Point groups. In 2014, Starting Point underwent another major rewrite. The revised Starting Point has been available through Zondervan since January 2015.

Does North Point provide childcare for Starting Point groups?

Our Sunday morning groups are held at the same time as our services, so we have childcare options available on-site. A childcare supplement is available for those groups meeting off-site on other days.

Can Starting Point be used outside the United States?

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 globalx.org. If you’re interested in launching Starting Point in an international setting, contact info@startingpoint.com.

Are the Starting Point materials available in other languages?

The 10-week Starting Point materials are translated and available in Spanish, Macedonian, Russian/Moldovan, Portuguese, Slovakian, and Marathi. If you’re interested in using Starting Point in another language or international location, please contact info@startingpoint.com. The 10-week Spanish Starting Point can be purchased in our online store.

How can we order the Starting Point materials for our church? Is there a group discount?

You may order Starting Point materials at our online store. Check the online store for any current specials and quantity discounts being offered.

Why does Starting Point work?

We don’t know exactly why. What we do know is that God has blessed Starting Point and used it to change thousands of lives. We believe that there are several aspects of the environment that seem to establish a 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. 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 our 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.