Busyness. Up until about six weeks ago, it was the largest obstacle facing parishes in engaging parishioners in parish ministries and events. However, these unprecedented times have brought all that busyness to a screeching halt. As a parish, you are now faced with the dream scenario when it comes to planning events for the people of your parish: open calendars!
While many of your parishioners are still facing the challenges of homeschooling and working from home, they will emerge from this quarantine with reduced business travel and no after-school activities, sports, dance, community events, or other commitments vying for their attention. What a great opportunity to reach out to your parishioners in this unique time and encourage them to form a small group!
Small groups provide a safe place for a personal encounter with Jesus, the development of authentic friendships, and honest sharing. They allow members to pray and share life together and encourage each other to uphold Gospel values. Conversations with peers tap into shared challenges and experiences in life. As members of small groups grow closer to Jesus and to each other, they tend to support and minister to one another through life’s ups and downs. Participants in small groups testify to the many blessings that come from walking the journey of faith with their peers.
How do you do this? It’s as easy as following a recipe! The links below provide easy guides to help your parishioners form their own small groups. This pre-packaged solution directs parishioners in the basics of starting a small group and suggests a few variations for specific audiences and meeting options (in-person or digital). You can simply put this tool in the hands of your parishioners, encourage them to begin, and pray for them. This could be a great first step to a larger parish strategy for small groups.
As Archbishop Vigneron writes, “No time is without its grace.” While none of us would have chosen this path, it is a path that is filled with opportunities to encounter Christ, grow as His disciple, and witness to His great love to our friends and beyond. Small groups can help your parishioners do this.