Purpose: The purpose of this experiment is to provide more opportunities to both current and new FCC congregants for spiritual formation and growth. This experiment is designed to encourage all congregants to participate in at least one small group outside of regular Sunday worship attendance. It is also aimed at better acclimating new congregants to the ministry of First Christian Church. Examples of current small groups include, but are not limited to: Sunday School Classes, Church Committees, Fellowship Groups, Bible Studies, Mission Teams, Royal Pennies, Prayer Shawl Group, etc. Some new possibilities are listed at the bottom of this experiment.
Year One (2013)
- Establish a Small Group Experiment Team whose primary objective is to discern and strategize the implementation of this experiment.
- Designate staff person for guidance and possible start up help with groups.
- Find a Lay Coordinator to chair this team who is dedicated to this position over all other church responsibilities.
- Coordinator would work with staff person to analyze and document all small groups currently functioning and determine if they are “closed” or “open.”
- Experiment team would begin polling congregation for areas of interest for small group formation
- Team could contact other Disciple congregations about the way that they have set up small group ministries and learn from other models.
- Develop small marketing materials for our current small groups to be handed out in the community and to visitors.
- Work with Evangelism Experiment Team, the Evangelism Committee, and the staff to begin connecting both current and new congregants to small groups that currently exist.
- Staff person and Team begin training leaders of current small groups – basic leadership skills around organization, communication, facilitation, etc.
- Identify and assemble team of new small group leaders – especially aimed at creating new small group opportunities for both current and new congregants.
- Possibly begin training new small group leaders to begin their ministry either currently, or in the next year. This will be dependent upon needs at this point: i.e. Do we have a number of new members who are in need of a new small group ministry?
Year Two (2014)
- Staff person and team begin creating a data-base of persons connected to respective small groups. Begin tracking persons participating in groups so that we can better communicate internally.
- Staff person and team continue connecting people to new and existing small groups.
- Create some marketing materials to have available for visitors who might be coming for launch of second service – helping them to know what ministries they might connect to outside of worship
- Work with both Evangelism and Worship Experimentation Teams on invitation to community and launch of year-round two service model beginning on Easter Sunday
- Begin measuring the viability of small groups. Which ones continue to be needed? Do we need to join small groups together? Are new people connecting to small groups? If not, why? Why are current members not participating? Are their needs not being met?
- Continue to assess needs and try to meet them.
- Consider finding a new group of leaders who might need training to start new small groups or lead current small groups
- Assess, revaluate and plan for adaptation
Year 3 (2015)
- Unknown at this point
Estimated cost over two years: $2000
Areas for current small group formation based on congregational feedback:
- Self Help (computers, finance, college prep etc.)
- Spiritual Growth
- Bible Study
- Senior Citizen Outings and trips
- Church wide trips and outings
- Social Justice Issues
- Challenge House
- Fellowship – only (Like the Arby’s coffee crown)
- Mission Trip Group