This Fall, focus on building connections in your faith community through Small Group Ministry. Small groups are great places to relate to fellow UUs and get to know yourself too.
In small group ministry, five to twelve folks gather regularly to share, reflect, and discuss significant life topics. Through this practice, we build deep connections with each other and with the divine. We also build strong bonds with our congregation, our community.
This time of pandemic is both a vital time for connection, and a wonderful time to start, grow, or reinvigorate your congregation’s small group ministry program.
Three Ways to Create Small Group Ministry Connections:
1) Launch new virtual groups
Starting a brand-new program? Your Southern Region staff are here to help.
Don’t miss the Small Group Ministry Training for Congregational Leaders on October 14 or 17.
Learn how to:
- Design your small group ministry program
- Lead a small group
- Effectively adapt content to the virtual setting
You’ll receive access to content and curriculum resources for small group sessions. Don’t wait, register for this training today.
2) Add components of small group ministry to all group sessions
Online class and group content varies, from fellowship to faith formation. Incorporate ritual and practices from small group ministry meetings to reap the benefits of deep connection in all your virtual group sessions. Try:
Including an Opening & Centering Ritual
Incorporating a Covenant
Contemplative, Self-Reflective Sharing
3) Promote established small group ministry programs
Many congregations have developed meaningful methods for bringing small groups together and fostering community connections; your Chalice Circles, discernment groups, the ongoing small group ministries in your congregation.
Re-commit to supporting and learning from these groups. Are they meeting virtually? Ask to connect and learn from group leaders. Find out what support they need to thrive.
We hope you’re ready to get started launching new groups, investing in ongoing groups, and incorporating new elements into classes and gatherings. We also know that you have been working hard throughout this time. Perhaps you’re wondering where will you find the time and energy to fulfill these goals? Rev. Nathan Hollister, of our Southern Region Congregational Life Staff, shares innovative ideas for developing connections across congregations and increasing your capacity to make more room for small group ministry:
Many or even most of our congregations feel obligated to offer worship services every Sunday morning, replete with the tech requirements and distance limitations that brings. But guess what? You don’t! With the majority of our churches offering excellent worship, we have a plethora of options. While it is exceedingly important that we see our fellow congregants on a regular basis, small group ministry can serve to connect us in deep- and participatory ways.
We urge you to try attending a neighboring congregation’s online worship, followed by your own congregation’s coffee hour for discussion and connection. Invite a neighboring congregation to do the same on a given Sunday with your congregation. Many of our churches have been experimenting with all sorts of collaborative ministry, and the possibilities are nearly endless.
Ministers' Agreements often stipulate that ministers need to preach three times per month. We invite you to suspend that requirement in favor of collaboration with other congregations, and to free up time to build small group ministry. -Rev. Nathan Hollister
Whether you are investing in ongoing groups, incorporating new elements into classes and gatherings, launching new groups, or all the above, the upcoming Small Group Ministry Training is for you. Register Today.
Learn the power of small group ministry to:
- Connect us in a deep and meaningful way
- Engage UU spirituality and theology in an intimate setting
- Practice community care for one another
- Practice Covenant, the center of our faith
Let’s do this! Hope to see you on October 14 or 17.
Small group ministry is a spiritual practice of connection. When persons explore the spiritual content of their inner lives in small groups, they also reach out for fellowship with others. As a result, persons shelter in grace as they shelter in place. -Rev. Thandeka
Like what you read? Check out these additional resources for more information:
- UUA Small Group Ministry Resources
- UU Small Group Ministry Network
- More from Rev. Thandeka on Small Group Ministry
We want to hear your virtual small group ministry success story!
Email us at email@example.com.