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Small Groups Ministry Resources
The ultimate guide to instituting and supporting small groups in your parishes

Support your parishioners through the Encounter, Grow, Witness paradigm.

Small groups are a powerful tool for those in the “encounter” and “grow” stages to grow closer to Jesus through the witness of other disciples, and to become empowered to share their own testimony as well.

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Let’s start with the basics.

Why small groups?

Small groups are amazing tools for forming community and encouraging intentional connection among your parishioners. A great value of small groups is their incredible versatility: they can be seasonal or long-term, they can connect people of similar ages, they can be women- or men-only or co-ed, they work for any ages, and they can be centered around the Bible or another spiritual resource.

A small group not only provides opportunities for scriptural understanding, it also presents a greater, more open opportunity for personal spiritual maturation and the growth of intentional community. Because of their great versatility and accessibility, small groups are also an effective way to provide a shallow entry point for those in the “encounter” or “grow” stages of their discipleship journey.

How to get started.

How can I implement small groups in my parish?

Once your parish is ready to launch a small group initiative, the Small Group Playbook can guide you through the steps to make this a reality. The Playbook will help you consider who may be suited as a leader, how you can promote the groups within your parish, what content to recommend, and more. Be sure, too, to equip your leaders with facilitator guides and to provide participant guides for those who register.

While a small group meeting is primarily focused on discussion and spiritual growth, it’s also a great vehicle for fellowship and to encourage the faithful toward bolder witnessing of their own faith experiences. Small groups are also often separated into women-only or men-only groups to allow for greater comfort in sharing thoughts and testimony, and this level of connection opens us to the personal engagement called for in Unleash the Gospel.

Take it to the next level.

What parts of small group ministry am I responsible for?

After you’ve arranged registration and secured participants and facilitators, the key parts of parish staff involvement in the small group process are the kick-off and the follow-up. Consider a launch weekend or a social media challenge to launch your groups’ meetings with momentum, and be sure to check in with your leaders once meetings are underway to see how things are going and offer support if needed.

No matter when your groups meet — whether seasonally or continually — communication between the parish staff and the volunteer leaders is integral to successful small groups. From suggesting new content ideas to arranging socials among group leaders, ensure that your leaders know that you are there to support them. If your parish needs assistance launching or sustaining a small group initiative, the Department of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship is here to help you.

Stay connected.

How do I get new ideas or see what other parishes are doing?

The Archdiocese is always providing new small group and faith-sharing opportunities, so ensure that you’re subscribed to the Unleash the Gospel newsletter to stay up to date with the latest challenges and initiatives.

For content ideas, visit theSPARK knowledge base, and join the Encounter Grow Witness online community to ask questions and swap ideas with other parish leaders.