October 8, 2009

Small Groups for a Healthy Church

In today's Church Wellness Report, Tom Ehrich suggests what the congregation needs today - even more than improved worship - is a dynamic small group program. Ehrich, who directs the Church Wellness Project, writes:

When I visit congregations, I see a palpable yearning for community, informal time together, knowing at least a few other people well. Lack of such intimacy tends to undermine the rest of what the leadership team tries to do.

Groups can take many forms. I visited one congregation recently where three men -- all named Tom, as it turns out -- meet every Monday night for the sheer joy of being together. Other groups can be larger, can have tasks like knitting or house-building, can meet for prayer or pastoral care, or can be supper clubs.

The point is always the being together. This, I believe, was Jesus' intention for us: circles of friends.

No congregation is too small to have at least one or two small groups meetiing at a time other than Sunday morning.

In a healthy congregation, it becomes normative for constituents to do at least two basic activities: participate in Sunday worship, and belong to a small group. Most will do more than that, of course, but those two activities are the minimum. Just doing Sunday worship is rarely enough.

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