As St. Vincent de Paul Parish community continues to grow in its mission we are identifying new and different ways to meet the needs of our parishioners. Small groups are one way to meet the personal and pastoral needs of the people in our community. From the Rebuilt book and initiative of Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran here are their thoughts for creating small group communities within the parish community.
1. Small groups are small.
“The best place to support a friendship is in a small circle of friends” C.S. Lewis
In the same way faith-based relationships need to be sustained and strengthened in groups that are small. Healthy small groups expand and contract based on the needs of the group. The key for small group leadership is going to be managing the process even when groups resist the change.
2. Small groups are integrated into the life of our parish.
Important note: Small groups are not intended to be stand-alone communities for independent efforts, para-church gatherings for special interests, or circles for idle conversations and parish gossip. Small groups should be formed in a way that arise out of communion with both the parish and the universal Church and must remain in communion with the parish leadership. The key to make this happen is going to be the small group leader.
3. Small groups are our delivery system for pastoral care.
Small groups are the place where our great big church can get close and personal, where we are known, loved, and cared for. If we are really going to be the Church that Christ calls us to be, we all need to care for one another.
4. Small groups are life changing.
The power of small groups comes from forming relationships in which conversations lead to conversion. Gatherings take place in members’ homes, includes time for socializing and refreshments as well as prayer, questions, and discussions.