Life Groups at Saint Matthias are a sermon-based small group ministry that take place during three sessions spaced out over the calendar year - Winter, Spring, & Fall.  For this Spring session we can offer participants to choose between participating in-person with a mask in our Parish Hall or via Zoom.  

Our Groups


Mondays  w/ Childcare

Leader: Luke Childs

Time: 5:00-6:30 pm 

Dates: 4/19-5/31

Wednesday Mornings

Leader: Fr Jim Stout

Time: 10:00-11:30 am

Dates: 4/21-6/2

Wednesday Evenings  (ZOOM ONLY)

Leader: Dolores Vargas

Time: 6:30-7:45pm

Dates: 4/21-6/2

Thursday Mornings

Leader: Larry Johnson 

Time: 10:00-11:30am

Dates: 4/22-6/3


This week’s sermon was on the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).


Getting Started 

1. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Explain. 




2. If you had to identify with just one of the three individuals in this parable (the father, the young prodigal, or the older brother), who would it be and why? 



3. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was infamous for rebelling against God’s leadership. This week, we’ll look at two psalms that show how God responded when they acted like a prodigal. As you read, notice the points where God’s response parallels the following four principles we learned from Luke 15.   

•If a rebel insists on leaving—let them leave.   

•When things get tough—let them hit bottom.   

•When they come back—run to greet them.   

•After they’re back—don’t punish the obedient. 

a. Read Psalm 78:54–64 & Psalm 106:32–48 and jot down any insights, questions, or key observations. 




4. Have you ever learned a valuable lesson because of a failure (big or small) that God or someone else stepped back and allowed you to experience?  (You will not be required to share this answer with the group.)




5. Do you agree with the following statement? “The older brother in this parable responded appropriately in light of what he knew at the time.” Explain your answer. 





Digging Deeper 

7. When faced with a prodigal in your life (assuming that the prodigal son can represent a family member, a friend, a coworker, or a social outcast), which of the four principles for loving and responding to a rebel do you come by most naturally? Which comes hardest? 




8. Is there anything you need to do as a result of what you’ve learned this week? (You will not be required to share this answer with the group.)

ANSWERS to all the most important questions about Remote Life Groups…   

How are Hybrid Life Groups going to be different from the regular Life Groups before the pandemic or the Zoom Life Groups held over the past year?  
Except for our Wednesday Evening group (which is Zoom-only, each participant can decide whether they would like to attend in-person with a mask on or via zoom.  Those participating in-person in the Parish Hall will be connected to any Zoom participants via a conference-call microphone, webcam, and television screen.   Unfortunately still will not be able to provide refreshments for those attending in-person.  

When do Hybrid Life Groups begin?
Our seven week Spring Session will begin April 18 and conclude by June 3rd.  

What exactly will happen at these group meetings, anyway? 
A typical meeting will be structured as follows…​

  • Sharing ≈ 15 minutes

  • Study & Discussion ≈ 30 minutes

  • Prayer ≈ 10 minutes (One Sentence Prayers only!  See below.)

Whoa!  Prayer?  What if I’m not very comfortable praying out loud? 
No worries!  Each Life Group meeting will conclude with a time of prayer for concerns shared by group members.  However, the style of prayer that will be used is called “One Sentence Prayers” where participants are invited (though not required) to pray just one sentence out loud for a particular request.   

Will I have to do anything to prepare for the weekly meeting?
Listening to the sermon on Sunday will cover 75% of your preparation.  However, each week we are in session you will be given a Questions Sheet as you leave Church, to reflect on and complete before your Life Group meeting that week.  These questions should take approximately 25 minutes to complete and are intended to guide & enhance the group discussion.  A sample Question Sheet is on this page.

What if I miss a Sunday? 
If you miss a Sunday, we’ve got you covered!  The audio and manuscript of the sermon, as well as the question sheet, will be posted by Sunday afternoon each week at

What if we have young children?  <New FAQ

Our Monday group meeting at 5:00pm will have free childcare in the Sunday School rooms, but a parent or parents can also attend via Zoom.  Our zoom-only group on Wednesdays at 6:30pm may also be a good option.  

What if we have an infant?  <New FAQ

Any parent with an infant is welcome to have their child in the meeting with them, if they prefer.  

How can I sign up for a Life Group? 

We invite you to fill out the form on this webpage, contact Fr John, or leave a voicemail at the church (209-847-2012)

What if I decide I don’t want to stay in my Life Group?

If you have some doubts about whether a Life Group is a fit for you, we encourage you to sign up and try one for just three weeks.  If during that time you decide you don’t want to continue with the group, you can drop-out with no questions asked & no drive-by-guiltings.  And when the time comes for the next session, you will be free to sign up again for any group with openings.   

When will I receive information on how to access my meeting?  We aim to provide detailed instructions for both internet video chat and telephone dial-in no later than Noon on Tuesday, April 12.

What if I want to change groups after the first session? 
No Problem!  At the conclusion of each Life Group Session you will be given a card asking you whether for the next session you intend to remain in your Life, try a new Life Group, or take a break from Life Groups.