Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
Small Group Ministries at LUMC
Lititz United Methodist Church has a strong foundation of small groups within the structure of our ministries. We believe that individuals that participate in small groups are inclined to grow spiritually, bond with the fellowship, and provide service to others in His name. The Mission Statement at LUMC reads in part: “…to lead people to Christ and equip believers for ministry”. In small groups, both are accomplished.
Our small groups are encouraged to reach out and include both believers and non-believers. We support recruitment and participation of seekers, non-believers, renewed Christians, and any Christ-followers. We acknowledge that small groups provide another option for people to come to know Jesus Christ for the first time, or to be reunited with our Lord and Savior!
In small groups, we can accomplish the second phase of our mission statement: “…and equip believers for ministry.” Our goal and emphasis is to nurture disciples which will adhere to the calling of the Holy Spirit and follow Christ’s instructions. We provide leadership and encouragement to each small group to help identify each member’s spiritual gifts, and to provide a catalyst for service to others.
Small group participants do not have to be members or attendees at LUMC, but we do ask that our small group leaders:
- Are mature in their Christian faith,
- Possess a passion for Christ-like behavior,
- Are committed to prayer,
- Have a solid Christian doctrine that is consistent with the beliefs of LUMC, and
- Participate in a basic leadership training and attend regular small group leader meetings.
It is very critical that all small groups maintain integrity and stress confidentiality within the small group. In other words, “What happens in small groups—stays in small groups.”
Composition of a small group
Ideally, small groups range in size from 6-14 people, and individuals receive spiritual nourishment and fellowship. Groups usually meet every week or every other week. Most small groups meet at various homes of the participants, or at the home of the small group leader. Some small groups choose to meet at church in a Sunday School Classroom. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, however, each group should examine the practical location for their respective group.
Groups that choose to meet in homes will discover a more intimate setting. Bonding usually quickly occurs and a sense of openness is felt throughout the group. Members can move quickly to a deeper level of relationship when they learn each other’s habits and tastes. Also, there is usually complete privacy for “God Moments” to occur freely when meeting in private homes.
Small groups develop strong bonds
Small groups with children can sometimes use a basement or another room for children to play safely during small group meetings.
Meeting in homes is the preferred practice, but it does have some disadvantages too. For instance, if a group meets at one location, there is a burden on the host/hostess to clean the house before and after each meeting. Also, some people may be allergic to pets or plants within a private home. In addition, some homes are small and cannot comfortably seat all members in the same room. It is crucial to ensure everyone’s comfort and attention so that people can focus on God’s message rather than a sore behind!
If a small group decides to gather at the church, our Sunday School rooms are available for use. Each small group leader should coordinate the meeting time with the church’s office manager to ensure availability and practicality.
Some advantages of meeting at the church include:
- Classrooms are large enough for most small groups to convene with enough comfortable chairs for the entire group.
- There is no burden for one individual or couple to clean prior to each meeting (though each group must cooperatively have the courtesy to thoroughly clean the room after each use).
- Audiovisual equipment is available at the church (group leaders must coordinate usage through the LUMC office manager).
- There is ample parking versus several cars being parked in a private driveway when meeting at private homes.
- Meeting at the church does not promote and intimacy, as experienced in private homes.
- Privacy can sometimes be invaded by other groups or meetings occurring at the same time as your small group gathering.
Types of Small Groups
While every small group should include learning, provide mutual support for small group members, and be involved in ministry beyond themselves; generally speaking, small groups will be focused on one of four areas of focus:
- Nurture & Support: These small groups fill a special need to each member through encouragement and sharing. The group is usually comprised of members sharing the same challenges or growth issues.
- Learning & Study: These small groups offer a disciplined opportunity to study about our faith and the various aspects of doctrine in a small group setting.
- Activity or Service: These small groups are often geared towards a ministry emphasis. They usually meet during preparation and performance of services for specific purposes.
- Special interest: These small groups meet regularly or seasonally to share a specific affinity, hobby, or interest in God’s name.
Also, keep in mind that some small groups incorporate aspects of two or more focuses within their respective group.
Outside of LUMC, there are many different philosophies and types of small groups. It is extremely important, however, that God direct the formation and composition of your small group.
For more information about joining or leading a small group, please contact Kevin Bergman using the form below: