It is our desire to see the body of Christ come together, growing in their faith, and connecting with other believers. Life is hard to do by ourselves and no one should ever have to do it alone. This is why we have Life Groups. These are small groups that gather in homes each week to build relationships, have sermon-based discussions and learn how to implement the truths of God’s Word into our own lives and the lives of those around us. This is where you can feel comfortable talking about the Bible, asking questions and sharing prayer requests.

This session of Life Groups is in full swing! If you didn’t this time, we encourage you to join us for our next session of Life Groups! Thanks to everyone who made connecting and sharing life together a priority! 🙂  

We have many excellent Life Groups, which are featured below. This session of life groups began on February 11th and will run for 11 weeks.

Life Groups are gatherings of 8-14 people who meet weekly for the purpose of relational connection, Bible study, and prayer. We encourage participating in Life Groups, because we believe that growth happens in connections with others. This session of life groups began on February 11th and will run for 11 weeks on Sundays at 6pm.

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Doug and Melissa Joseph (Group for Youth and Youth Leaders!:)

Doug and Melissa have been married for 16 years and have three children. Doug is employed at Standridge Color here in Defiance and Melissa works at First Federal Bank. Most of their time is spent taking their kids from here to there and back again, but in his spare time Doug enjoys playing guitar, relaxing and reading. Melissa loves anything tied to music and worship and is a dedicated runner. Doug and Melissa are involved in Youth Ministry at The Summit and worship team both in youth and on Sunday mornings. This group is for Youth Group Leaders and Youth aged students (7th through 12th).  The first week the Adult Youth Leaders and spouses will meet for life group, then the following week any youth aged students will meet at The Summit for small groups and alternate weekly. Group will meet Sunday evenings at 6pm.

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Rusty and Deb DeTray

Rusty and Deb have been married for 41 years and have 3 grown children and 7 grandchildren. Rusty is retired from Manville. Deb is the owen of DeTray Investments. Rusty is a master gardener and loves to cook. Deb is on the board of the Community Pregnancy Center and has been our church treasurer for almost twenty six years. They both love to travel and spend time with family and friends.  Group will meet on Sunday evenings at 6pm at 21116 Switzer Rd. Defiance.

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Lee and Rosemary Hoeffel

Lee and Rosemary Hoeffel have been married for 52 years and have 4 children and 12 grandchildren. Lee retired from GM in 2004. Lee and Rosemary have been very active in visiting many people that are shut in or just need a visit. They both love going to their Grandchildren’s sporting events as well as anything else they have going on. Group will meet Sunday evenings at 6pm at 1518 Edenberry Ct. (Group currently full)


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Don and Bonnie Goldentez

Don and Bonnie Goldenetz have been married for fifty nine years. They have five grown children and eight grandchildren. Don retired from GM in 2000 after thirty three years of service. Bonnie retired in 2012 from JCPenney after forty years of service. Don and Bonnie have been instrumental in helping those in need. Don has been on multiple mission trips and was an elder at First Church for many years. Don and Bonnie like to travel, watch sports and spend time with their kids and grand kids. Group will meet every other Sunday evening at 6:00 pm at 14842 St. Rt. 111 Defiance.

Life Groups_Larry & Tina-01Larry and Tina Kennedy

Larry and Tina have been married for 24 years. Larry is the associate pastor and a licensed counselor at First Church. Tina is a Kindergarten teacher at Antwerp Local School District. They have two children, Hannah who is 18 and Isaac who is 7. Tina enjoys exercising, reading, scrapbooking, family activities and baking. Larry enjoys family, football, firearms, coin collecting, reading and learning about people’s life journey. Group will meet on Sunday evenings at 6:00 pm at 15310 Dohoney Rd. Defiance. (Group currently full)

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Rick and Eileen Rufenacht

Rick and Eileen have been attending First Church of God since 1979. They both have a talent and great love for all kinds of music, and they enjoy traveling. Rick is the senior pastor at First Church. Eileen is the vocal music instructor at Ayersville Local School. Rick and Eileen love leading life groups where people connect with one another and grow in their relationship with God. Group will meet on Sunday evenings at 6:00 pm at 29139 Bowman Rd. Defiance (near Ayersville). (Group currently full)

Dan and Deb Doenges

Bio unavailable at this time. Group will meet Sunday evenings at 6pm at 28364 Blanchard Rd.

Financial Peace University

What if you knew where all of your money was going each month? What if you were debt-free, investing and making wise spending decisions? With Dave Ramsey’s class Financial Peace University, you CAN take control of your money and start planning for your future. For more information Click Here: First Church of God will be hosting FPU lead by Durwood Hibbard beginning on Thursdays at 6:30pm beginning February 15th. Group will meet at the church in room M13.



What is a Life Group? A Life Group is a home fellowship made up of 8-14 people who meet weekly for the purpose of relational connection, Bible study, and prayer. A host will lead each group.

How important are Life Groups? Here at First Church, Life Groups are the hub of our ministry. They’re the place where the real ministry of the church takes place as we study God’s Word, while supporting and sharing our lives with one another. We believe that meeting together on a regular basis is time well spent. We believe growth happens in connection with others.

When and where do they meet? Most Life Groups meet on Sunday evenings 6pm-7:30pm in homes throughout Defiance County and beyond. Group hosts will contact you with all the details once you sign up.

How long do they last? Life Group sessions last 11 weeks and run from September – November and Feb – April.

What is the required commitement? To be committed to make it a top priority to attend weekly. Obviously, allowances are made for sickness, vacation, work conflicts and other special events, but not much more. This commitment is the key to a strong Life Group. The best part is it is only an 11 week commitment and there are MANY Life Groups, so if you don’t feel like you fit completely, you can always try a new Life Group the next session!:)

 What will we study? Life Points will be in the weekly bulletin.  These are questions that relate to the sermon. Life Groups will delve even deeper into that week’s sermon topic and apply it to daily life.

What about child care? Some groups offer childcare, some do not.  Each group will make that information known.

How do I sign up for a Life Group? You may sign up on Sunday mornings in the lobby when sign ups are open. You can also click here to sign up online.