Small groups can have a far-reaching effect on the spiritual and community life of your congregation. Small groups help Christians of varying maturity become more comfortable articulating and discussing their faith, and grow in discipleship as they build deep and lasting relationships centered around God. While one or two small groups are good, involving as many people as possible in small group ministry has profound effects on parish vitality.
This guide is divided into two parts. The first includes information for parish leadership to think about the creation of small groups and who to ask to lead them. The second is information for those small groups leaders.
What Parish Leadership Needs to Know to Start a Small Group
- Getting Started: Choosing Facilitators and Building Groups
- Transforming Existing Small Groups into Faith-Based Small Groups
- Creating Your Meeting Jesus Timeline
- Small Group Roles
- Training your Facilitators
- Getting the Word Out
What Small Group Leaders Need to Know for their Small Group
- Facilitation Best Practices
- How to Run a Session
- Cheat Sheet for Different Learning Styles
- Building a Weekly Agenda
- Pitfalls and Troubleshooting
- For Further Reading
There are two ways of creating parish-based small groups for Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John. We recommend beginning the week of the Last Sunday after Epiphany and working through Holy Week, the Seven-Week Small Group Model.
Seven-Week Small Group Model
This curriculum will guide you through discussions on the content of the prayer journal, focusing on the brothers’ central question each week. This curriculum can be used as a stand-alone curriculum (assuming participants engage with it only during the group session), but it is our hope that participants will go deeper by working daily with the prayer journal and interacting with our online community.
- Getting Started: Meeting Jesus
- Week One: God is Love
- Week Two: The Word Became Flesh
- Week Three: Close to the Father’s Heart
- Week Four: I Have Called You Friends
- Week Five: Abide in Me
- Week Six: We Declare to You
However, we also understand that the power of small groups can also be harnessed during traditional Wednesday evening Lenten programming. This means using a Five-Week Small Group Model that we’ve crafted specifically for parish use during Wednesdays in Lent.
Five-Week Small Group Model
This curriculum will create conversation surrounding the content of the prayer journal, but in a condensed form. This curriculum is designed to accommodate multiple small groups meeting simultaneously at church during the Wednesday evenings in Lent.