Following a stimulating and informative Congregational Conversation this past January, the Small Group Ministry (SGM) Steering Committee has been at work considering the input we received from those in attendance, and others with whom we’ve been conversing since that time.
In an attempt to create more doors into Small Group Ministry, while preserving the value of the existing model of small group ministry that has worked so well for the dozens of folks who have been participating in small groups for a decade and a half, we are hoping to offer at least three different “ways in” to participation in small groups during the 2018-19 church year.
The first door will be the one we currently have available: groups of 8-10 members who meet monthly with the opportunity for thoughtful sharing on a session topic prepared in advance. During the 2017-18 church year, four small groups have been meeting and following this model—two on weekday evenings (Wednesday and Thursday), one on a weekday afternoon, and one on a Saturday morning. Members of each of these groups will be able to continue with this model in the coming year should they choose to do so, and others will have a chance to join these groups should they be interested in doing so. (Contact Doug Richards at email@example.com or the CVUUS office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested).
In addition, we hope to offer folks the chance to participate in Small Group Ministry in other ways during the coming church year. One option would be a chance to participate in regular Small Group Sundays (eg. “First Sunday SGM”), after-church sessions devoted to a scheduled topic (in some cases perhaps the sermon topic for that week). This option is in the early stages of planning, but if you are interested in such an option, Bobbi Loney has agreed to help initiate planning for this version of SGM if there is sufficient interest. For some, this might be an opportunity to “test out” the small group model of spiritual sharing.
Another door into Small Group Ministry next year could be a set of interest-focused groups. Some options that have been suggested recently include a men’s group, a parents group, a 21 Questions group (derived from a January sermon by Kate Braestrup) and a poetry-reading group, but the possibilities are almost endless. The first step in getting such a group going would be to identify a “point-person” who would be willing to facilitate a start-up process. Groups would be asked to follow Small Group Ministry practices and principles during their sessions. Though the group might begin with a commitment to participate in a set number of sessions, the opportunity to continue these meetings beyond the original set number could be offered to members of the group. (Contact Doug Richards at email@example.com or the CVUUS office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested).
The SGM Steering Committee will be continuing our planning over the next couple months, and we’ll be offering further information and sign-up opportunities. In the meantime, if you think you might be interested in participating in small group ministry in one or more of these formats during the coming year, you can get in touch with Doug Richards or other members of the SGM Steering Committee (Dinah Smith, Martha Fulda, Marjorie Carson, Karl Lindholm) or the CVUUS office (email@example.com) for further information or conversation. And stay tuned!