Jesus led a small group: his 12 apostles — a community of brothers who grew in friendship with each other and with Jesus. As you look at the young adults in your parish community (perhaps there are only a few), they may similarly be longing for community, for a close group of authentic Catholic friends who can help encourage each other through life and their faith. Encouraging them to form a small group may be just what they need.
When we look at the challenge facing us with the Gen Z and Millennial generations missing from our parish communities, we might not know where to begin. One suggestion is to start with what you have. Start with your smaller circle of influence. Do you know a few young adults in your parish? If not, introduce yourself to a few of them and get to know them a little bit when you see them after Mass. Ask the young adults you know if they might be interested in forming a small group with other young adults for a six-week-long, 90-minute weekly experience studying some aspect of the Bible or the faith together. Perhaps they have a friend or two they can invite into the small group. Six to eight people are ideal for a group.
One young adult in the group should be identified as the facilitator, but it doesn't need to be an intimidating responsibility — they don’t have to be experts. You can provide the facilitator with the free resources below and walk through any questions they might have. With some guidance and encouragement, a small group of young adults could be easily formed.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We have the resources ready for you:
Getting Started – how to start a small group
Facilitator Guide – how to facilitate a small group
Participant Guide – a simple guide for any group participant so they’re all on the same page
Bible & Faith Studies – list of suggested linked resources for helpful Bible and faith studies
There are many issues to resolve regarding engaging young adults in our parish communities. But don’t be discouraged or overwhelmed. Start small. Helping a few young adults form a small group is one way. Small groups can be a source of mutual support, encouragement and authentic friendship for young adults while helping them to encounter God, grow closer to him, grow in their understanding of him and his Church, and become joyful, missionary disciples who draw their peers closer to Jesus and his Church.