Formats for Small Groups
Purpose: All Small groups are intended to help all grow in our Spirituality and encounter with God. They are also intended to help us be a part of a small Christian community that will nurture us and help us to grow as Disciples of Christ.
All groups should focus prayer, forming Christ based friendships, and becoming a part of each other’s lives.
A potential format is shown below but each group can modify as fits them best.
- Share events in your life with a special emphasis on faith.
- Meeting subject (readings, books, videos) discussion, and reflection
- Pray for each other’s intentions
- Confirm the next meeting date and any other miscellaneous items.
Weekly Groups (these can be as short or long as the group decides but avoid going longer than has been agreed to)
- Meet and use the weekly Sunday readings as a basis. Formed.org has a weekly video on the upcoming readings and questions and helpful information.
- Meet and use a book or video that is of common interest. See the Library of Resources on the Small Groups section of the St. Matthew website.
- Meet and share your faith experiences with each other. Here are areas that people have found useful while using this type of format.
- Begin in prayer. You may want to try having a prayer that you use each week or heart prayer.
- Each person can share on items in their life such as shown below. The idea is that we try to provide an environment where people are accepted yet also challenged to grow in their faith life. Each group can modify this to fit them better.
- How/when was I aware of God’s presence in my life this week?
- What has helped me to grow spiritually this week? i.e. prayer, extra masses, adoration, reading.
- How has God used me to show Him to others?
- How have I fallen short in my spiritual life and what do I plan to do to get better?
- Pray for intentions.
Since these groups meet less regularly they may strive to meet a bit longer (1 ½ – 2 hrs?) but each group can decide on their own. Each of the formats used in weekly groups would also be appropriate here. Format 3 (sharing faith experiences) may be more difficult due to the longer time in between meetings but each group can make their own assessment.
Since these groups meet less frequently it’s suggested that they meet for a longer time period (2-3 hours?) to give them time to get to know each other. The weekly scripture reading and faith based sharing may not work so well for this meeting frequency. It’s suggested that these groups have a focus that helps them grow in their faith and their group relationships. Here’s a format than many groups have found useful.
- Begin in prayer
- Meal or snacks (optional but helpful)
- Share events going on in your lives and your spiritual life.
- Discuss a book you’re reading as a group, do a bible study, or watch a video.
- It may be helpful if someone can provide discussion questions or discussion items to get the discussions moving. Many books and video presentations that can be found in the Small Groups Library of Resources have these included.
- Pray for intentions.
- Set the next meeting date and any other items.