The Relational Mission of Small Groups
“God did not tell us to follow Him because He needed our help, but because He knew that loving Him would make us whole.” ~St. Irenaeus of Lyons
What is Discipleship?
A disciple is defined as a personal follower of Jesus during his life, especially one of the twelve Apostles.
Intentional discipleship involves equipping Christians to live out each day as followers of Jesus Christ. This is manifested by providing an example through word and deed and putting our Faith into action. Jesus himself identified 12 Apostles to go out and preach the gospel, commanding them to “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” ~Matthew 28:19
How to begin Small Groups in your home, parish and/or community.
Small faith communities allow a space for the Holy Spirit to work. Group participants are invited to study, pray and live out the gospel message together (sometimes for the first time), as they grow deeper in faith and find new life in Christ.
A Small Group extends an invitation for individuals to get involved, grow in relationship with one another, participate as intentional disciples, walk with others on their faith journey, and even invite others to join a small group who may be distant from the church pews but have a desire to be part of a faith community. It is such a joy and gift to accompany one another on our individual faith journey. The soul is truly the most beautiful part of the human person and the most intimate and intriguing part of humanity. There are many extraordinary souls in our parishes and communities, all on a wayward journey to heaven. This is an opportunity to be part of one another’s journey.
Take some time to discern the appropriate group for you. There are many existing small groups in our communities through prayer groups, rosary groups, spiritual groups, formation groups and service projects. Forming your own small group may be as simple as choosing a book or program study and inviting 2-3 friends to join you. Or begin with a particular topic, such as ‘Prayer’. Discuss spontaneous prayer, how to pray the rosary, litanies, Lectio Devina, fasting and most importantly, model the act of prayer within the group. Visit Witness to Love’s resource page here for more ideas/examples to start your own small faith community and continue the mission of the Church by sharing God’s grace and message.
The Domestic Church- Our home is a missionary outpost of the local church parish.
Our homes are where we live, worship and eat together just as the disciples did. While we may not always view our family members as “disciples”, especially if you are raising teenagers, the opportunity for evangelization, formation and conversion is present. Our families are our first small faith community, and our homes are the missionary outpost of our local churches. The relational mission of our family is that of a small group, to study, pray and live out the gospel message together.
Our home is also the ideal space to invite others into in order to share our faith, the gospel and to pray together and for one another. Our most intimate moments occur in our homes. Emotions of delight, joy, grief and suffering are often displayed in the most vulnerable way. Invite others to share this space with you and they may find a ‘home’ in the heart of Jesus through you.