We have been talking a lot about Fruitful Congregations and Vital Churches. This is from a summary by Rev. Laurie Haller, our United Methodist District Superintendent, from Vital Signs: A Pathway to Congregational Wholeness; she wrote to all congregations; "Growth is a by-product of healthy practices of spiritual disciplines. Vital churches focus on ministry, not self-promotion. There are rigorous standards for membership; membership means something. Leaders cultivate an environment where all people are able to experience God's grace and power and cultivate and use their gifts. God is first, community is second and the individual is last. Congregation members live their faith every day."
She goes on to list different areas of how to do this from Sense of Identity to the Congregation's Relationship to the Connectional System. Under The Role of Education in the Life of the Congregation in a Vital Church she writes, "The church is a learning organization. There is a well thought out strategic plan for learning for all ages."
Our church does have a Strategic Plan for Education, and one of the areas of it is to form small groups to grow in faith development, have fellowship with other Christians, and reach out in service to both those inside our church building and those outside our building. We have some small groups already - 5 Women Circles, a Young Mother/Father group, a Book Club, a Prayer Shawl group, and a Birthday Club that meet monthly. Some groups meet every week; Bells and Choir and a Men's Morning Prayer Group. In the summer, we have a Golf group. We also have 2 Small Groups that meet twice a month for faith development, fellowship, and outreach. In their own way, committees that do the business of the church faithfully and with prayer every month are a small group too.
For a church of our size, more small groups are needed. Small groups can be formed around interests or age or situation. Small groups are about spiritual growth and care. It is a way of connecting to others in the church and to the world. If you are interested in starting a small group or being in a small group, please let me know.
Small Group Coordinator
249-8665 or firstname.lastname@example.org