A Comprehensive Guide to Small Group Ministry Programs Tools and Training

A chalice and a circle of votive candles on a ceramic plate with a spiral pattern.

Small Group Ministry--also called Covenant Groups, Chalice Circles, or various other names--is a time-tested and flexible way to connect members and friends and help to deepen their Unitarian Universalist faith.

What Is Small Group Ministry?

Ministry happens in relationship. Small group ministry deepens and expands the ministry of a congregation by providing an intentional container for those relationship.

Small Group Ministry provides several key patterns in congregational life:

  • Intimacy or building community and deepening relationships.
  • Ultimacy or providing opportunity for deeper spiritual exploration and search for meaning.
  • Group Pastoral Care or listening deeply to one another as each shares stories of their life journey. Deeper needs can be communicated to the minister or lay spiritual care team.
  • Stickiness or the likelihood that people will feel that the congregation is their spiritual home.
  • Accountability or the practice of being in covenantal relationship by making an intentional commitment to one another in service of the gathered group and its higher purpose.
  • Leadership Development for facilitators by practicing and getting support.

Groups of 8-10 — sometimes selected at random, sometimes selected by a specific interest or identity — meet regularly with a curriculum, often based on a monthly theme.

Tips, Training, and Tools

Start or renew your program and train your facilitators using the following resources: