With Small Faith Groups, Capitalize on Flexibility

young adult small group

With Lent being just about a month away, many parishes are looking at utilizing small faith groups, one of the most effective formats for adult faith formation and a reality that I have written about previously. Too often, we think that we have to find a “permanent” resource for small faith groups—something that they can use continually without change. This flies in the face of one of the best things about small faith groups, which is the flexibility of the format: there is no need to always use the same resource for small groups when you can change things up.

I recommend that small faith groups run in “spurts”—in other words, that they meet for a period of four to eight weeks and then take some time off before another “session” begins. In this way, people can comfortably move in and out of small groups without feeling as though they have to “sign their life away” to a group that will meet every week until the end of time. (Of course, some people like to have the same format and enjoy meeting weekly with no end date, so don’t rule that out as an option!)

The “spurt” approach, then, makes it very convenient to invite people back to something that is just a little different than their previous session. Some sessions can focus on the Sunday Scripture readings using resources such as the Sunday Connection or Sacred Space, while others can focus on experiences in study and/or prayer, such as Meeting Christ in Prayer, Meaningful Conversations About Prayer,  An Ignatian Prayer Adventure, or Six Weeks with the Bible. Still others can be a book discussion using books that have discussion guides, such as:

When it comes to small faith groups, keep it fresh! Change things up and keep people guessing and growing!

About Joe Paprocki 2751 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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