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Summer Discussion: Building the World We Dream About
Discussion Format (June 25 - August 27)

Small Group Ministsry

An inspiring, life-changing group experience

Small Group Ministry (SGM) is made of intentional lay-led small groups that deepen and expand the ministry of our fellowship.

"Small" means a group of 6-8 people, which provides an opportunity to relate on a more intentional level.
"Group" is a gathering of individuals, with selection often based on personal schedules, or sometimes for a specific interest or characteristic. The group meets over a period of time.
"Ministry" is the process or act of caring or being present with another. This relates to the spiritual as well as the physical and emotional well-being of the group participants.

The Power and Promise of SGM are Intimacy, Ultimacy and Growth.  Intimacy is increased depth of relationship that comes from meeting over time, willingness and ability to listen without comment or advice, to learn from others, and to share from the soul.  Ultimacy focuses on meaning and significance, rather than details, information or outcome.  Growth: Small Group Ministry provides opportunities for members to develop skills and grow in confidence as leaders within and beyond the group.  The cooperation and sense of well-being promoted in the group contributes to the health of the congregation.

The groups make three agreements with the congregation:

*To abide by a set of relationship ground rules, called a covenant. This includes ways to listen and to be heard.
*To welcome new members to the group or to the program overall, keeping the groups open to new people and new ideas.
*To engage in service to the congregation and larger world. This helps the group deepen its internal relationships, increases the connection with the congregation, and gives from the abundance of the group experience.

Group Leaders are chosen and trained by the minister and/or adult RE Team Lead as part of shared ministry in the congregation.

The Session plan is a guide and a springboard for discussion. The Standard Format includes:

*An opening reading that introduces but does not guide the topic.
*A check-in during which each person briefly shares about such questions as, "What's most on your mind today?" or "How is it with your spirit today?"
*A time for the focus or theme of the meeting with sharing from personal stories, guided by questions in the Session Plan, and learning from listening to others, rather than wanting others to agree with a perspective.
*The check-out gives opportunity for each participant to say how the session was for him/her.
*A closing reading.


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