A few years ago Our Saviour’s Board of Deacons launched Faith Connections, an intentional small group ministry program. It wasn’t created out of nothing. Small groups already existed at Our Saviour’s. Our quilters, hand-bell choir, senior choir, middle school small groups, freshman friend in faith ministry, and Book Buddies are a few examples. Rich Boardman gets a lot of the credit for being Faith Connections’ point person. He, with other board members, did a great job with the launch.
Although things have been rather dormant while we have been short-staffed, the success of Knot Just Knitters and our Prayer Team (meeting on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.) along with our established groups, are a sign of continued health. It is now time for new growth to spout from these well-established roots. My hope for Faith Connections is two-fold: 1) establishing spiritual intentionality within the groups that already exist, and 2) seeing some new groups evolve. There are three types of small groups; the first two of which we have at Our Saviour’s:
Ministry groups—where people gather around a task (for example, quilting, singing, knitting, highway clean-up, gardening, ringing bells, etc) with the expectation of also benefitting from an environment that includes prayer, biblical reflection, and relationship building.
Discipleship groups—where people gather to grow in Christian faith and life as they bring their life experience to the exploration of Christian education. (Tuesday Bible Study, Friend in Faith, Middle School Small Groups, Sunday Morning Education, etc.)
Support and recovery groups—where people focus on special interests, concerns, or needs with the hope of assisting participants in dealing with issues related to their common experience, hurt, or interest.
Later this month I am offering an example of small group type #3. We will begin a grief group. Why? We have had 58 funerals in my eight years at Our Saviour’s. Grief knows no timeline. Too often our culture thinks it should. Culture tells us we should get fast answers, relief, and surefire solutions. In its effort to deny, hide, or even camouflage death, our culture seems to say that we shouldn’t take time to grieve. The object of this group is to offer something different, to offer an experience wherein one can recognize their loss; react authentically, accurately, and adequately to their loss; recollect and re-experience their loss; relinquish the old attachments to the deceased; and readjust adaptively to a new world and a new future. This group is meant to be a healthy, safe place for you who are grieving to bring yourselves, your stories, your anger, your bewilderment, and to know that it is likely that others will recognize in your story parts of their story. And it is possible that something in your story will encourage another griever in this group. After all, just as Chist himself has said, “Blessed are those who mourn….” If this interests you, contact me and let’s find the best time to convene this wonderful opportunity.