It is in the context of a closely knit group that John records Jesus’ “new commandment” to his disciples – to love one another as he loved them (Jn 13:34). There, the immediate service of love rendered by Jesus to his disciples as an example is that of washing their feet and making them clean – helping them to become what they were not (Jn 13:1-17). In like spirit, believers are exhorted to restore one another where sin is found (Gal 6:1-2), and to spur one another towards good deeds and continue meeting to encourage one another until Christ’s return (Heb 10:24-25). While not explicitly prescribed in Scripture, the small group has proven to be an effective means of scriptural Christian discipleship.
Understanding a small group as simply a group that is small, the following small groups exist in almost every church:
- Groups that perform a function in the church
- Bible study or discussion groups
- Affinity groups (e.g. UMM, UMW, Youth Group, etc.)
- Any group of members who meet regularly (even if informally)
In vital congregations observed by the United Methodist Church, such groups serve, among other purposes, as one of the means for their members’ spiritual growth and formation.
As we consider our church’s mission statement: “We are a diverse community joyfully responding to God’s love and growing as disciples of Christ by nurturing, teaching, reaching and serving all people,” some questions that we may find fruitful to ask are:
1. Am I a part of any small groups in church? If not, will I consider joining one?
2. Are my small groups helping their members to grow in Christ-likeness?
3. What needs to happen for my small group to become a means of helping our members grow in holiness and love?
4. What can I do in my small groups to contribute to the Christian spiritual formation of others in the group?
The small group ministry is designed to bring adult members together for prayer, study, and fellowship. They are ongoing from one year to the next and sponsor holiday parties and other special events.
The Monday Morning Group meets on Monday mornings at 10 a.m. in the library at the Church. Join us as we study together the Upper Room Disciplines Book of Daily Devotions, which follows the lectionary.
Men’s Fellowship and Bible Study: All men are invited to fellowship and study on Tuesday nights from 7:45 to 9:00. The group meets in the church library, upper level. For more information please write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or just drop by.
The Circle of Friends, a group of United Methodist Women, meets every other month (or in the months of September, November, February, and April.) Meetings include a speaker, and everyone brings a sandwich. Dessert and beverage are provided. In December the group has a festive holiday lunch and in June there is a picnic. All women in the church are invited.
“Get Up and Go” Group – If you might like to go to events around town with PUMC pals, join the informal “Get Up and Go” group. This ad hoc group has no structure — only an email list. Somebody might suggest a concert, a movie, an outdoor event — and those who CAN go, do go. This group also celebrates birthdays with once-a-month Dutch treat lunches after church at a Chinese restaurant. No age limit, no commitment, just send your email to Ed at email@example.com