During these past few months, as I’ve begun exploring the world of adult faith formation, I have become convinced that one of the key principles of AFF is that it is most effective when it is relational. In other words, we can’t simply gather adults and talk at them—they need to talk to one another!
With that in mind, I am proud and excited to launch a series here on Catechist’s Journey that will lay out the steps needed to successfully implement small faith groups in your parish with an eye on Lent as a target.
I will be drawing on the successful experience of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago where last year over 200 parishioners gathered in parishioners’ homes during the season of Lent to participate in small faith groups.
St. Barnabas parish serves 1600 registered families (about 5300 individuals) on the Southside of Chicago. The parish has approximately 175 children in religious education and about 535 children in the parish grade school. The community is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse in Chicago in a stable middle to upper-middle class residential district.
The parish staff at St. Barnabas consists of a pastor, an associate pastor, a DRE, a pastoral associate/director of music and liturgy, a school principal, and a youth ministry coordinator who also serves as the liaison to the adult faith formation team. She and this team were the primary organizers of the small faith group initiative.
In the weeks ahead, I will be sharing how this parish developed, from the ground up, small faith groups that met for 90-minutes weekly during Lent in over 20 homes, praying together and reflecting on the upcoming Sunday’s Scripture readings. You’ll find:
- a detailed timeline for planning and executing small faith groups for Lent
- sample promotional materials
- materials for use in reflecting on the Sunday Scripture readings
- strategies for identifying, inviting, and training small group leaders and hosts
- sample pastor letter sent to potential group leaders and hosts
- outline (and a PowerPoint presentation) for training small group leaders
- sample commitment cards for parishioners
If you hope to create small faith groups for Lent 2015, now is the time to start planning and implementing. Stay tuned to Catechist’s Journey for information that will guide you step-by-step to a successful experience.