This weekend is our annual Fall Small Group Launch, an opportunity for parishioners who don’t have a group to give it a try. Our Small Group Team will be hosting sign-ups all weekend long, just off the Concourse, offering opportunities for all kinds of groups (men’s, women’s, mixed, affinity) at nearly any time or day of the week.
Why do we put so much emphasis on Small Groups? Isn’t going to Mass enough? Isn’t this a Protestant idea anyway?
Here’s our take on why Small Groups are critical to the health of our parish and the growth of disciples among our parishioners.
- Small Groups Are Small
Groups are where our great big parish gets small, up close and personal. It’s a place where everyone in the congregation can be known and where they can find fellowship.
- Small Groups Are Integrated Into the Life of the Parish
This is extremely important, and if you don’t get it right, your Small Groups will become a problem for you. Groups must be integrated into the life of the parish, under the authority and supervision of parish staff, in sync with the vision and mission of the parish. They cannot be stand alone or silo operations, lest they become divisive in the life of your parish. When properly integrated, Small Groups become a powerful unifying factor in the life of your church.
- Small Groups Are Our Delivery System for Pastoral Care
This factor alone should incentivize pastors and parish staffs to want to get groups going. In a parish our size, there is no way I can provide pastoral care to all those who are sick or suffering, or in need in some other way. It would be impossible to achieve, and foolish to try. Besides the Bible tells us that its not my job as pastor anyway, parishioners should be doing this for one another (Ephesians 4:11). Most parishioners are quite open to helping one another, especially when others are in need, but in most places there is simply no system to make it happen. Small Groups are our delivery system.
- Small Groups Are About Life Change
Groups promote change and growth in a way nothing else in the life of your parish will. This is the place for honesty and accountability; these are fundamental to life change and growth. It’s a place where new habits and better behaviors can be encouraged and supported.
- Small Groups Are Schools for Discipleship
Small Groups are about life change and the biggest change of all is growth in discipleship. Everyone in churchworld is talking about discipleship these days, but where is it suppose to happen, how does it happen? If you can’t answer that question simply, it probably isn’t happening. On the weekends, at Mass, parishioners sit in rows and listen. In Small Groups they sit in a circle and talk. This is the place where conversations lead to thoughtful conversions, real changes in mind and heart happen all the time.
By the way, Small Groups are not a Protestant idea, they’re a “God” idea…the original Small Group was the Trinity.