Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Small Groups at Grace - Part Two

How will an active small group ministry affect our Deacon ministry here at Grace? Over the years, Pastor Willard has done a tremendous job in recruiting and training deacons and deaconesses who have cared for the people who attend our church. However, with the rapid growth our church has seen in recent years, our deacon ministry has not been able to keep up with the pace. A very large percentage of those who attend Grace regularly do not have a deacon assigned to them. An active small group ministry will take a lot of pressure off of our current deacon ministry as these groups take on the responsibility of caring for their own as they develop relationships together.

How big is a small group? Ideally, we would like to see small groups stay in the range of 8-12 people.

When, where and how often will these groups meet? It will be up to each group itself to determine the answers to these questions. Some groups may meet weekly while others meet bi-weekly. Some groups may meet on Sunday evenings while other groups chose a weekday evening. Some groups may meet in a home while other groups choose to meet at the church or at a restaurant. Each group will be unique and different in its structure.

Who will lead these small groups? Each small group will be led by a small group leader. These will be individuals or couples who have been selected by the leadership of the church due to their character and qualities which make for an effective small group leader. These individuals will go through an extensive training in which they will learn the leadership and shepherding skills needed to be able to effectively lead a small group.

Who will be training these small group leaders? We are very pleased that God has brought Bryan Burkholder and his wife, Barb, to Grace Church. Bryan has much experience in ministry and has spent a good portion of his life training ministry leaders. Bryan has enthusiastically accepted this volunteer role of being our Lead Trainer of small group leaders. All of our small group leaders will also be assigned a coach who will be available to answer questions and address problems that small group leaders may encounter. These coaches will mentor a group of 4-6 small group leaders by providing appropriate counsel, helpful resources and encouragement.

When do we hope to launch our small group ministry? The months of April through June will be spent training our first group of small group leaders with the goal of launching at least 30 small groups this October.

Who will be the staff member that has oversight of our small group ministry? Currently, one of our lay leaders, Mike Lutz, is spearheading the launch of our small group ministry under the direction of the Senior Pastor. Ultimately, this role will be taken on by our Pastor of Connection that we are currently searching to fill. Once filled, this person will give oversight to our overall small group ministry reporting to myself.

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