Small Groups allow the Big Church to become more personal and intimate. We have a variety of Small Groups that have been meeting regularly for over a year now at Ascension. The gatherings are no more than 12 people, who watch a video together and then answer questions. The ninety minutes together is like those times when Jesus sat with his disciples.
Our summer message series is entitled LIARS, CHEATERS, COWARDS AND OTHER BIBLE HEROES. We tend to put many heroes of the Old Testament up on a pedestal, believing they are so much different of us; however, when we take a closer look, we realize that these heroes are full of flaws, failures, and foibles, just like us. Throughout this summer series, we will take a look at poignant Old Testament Bible characters: Adam, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samson, David, Elijah, Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah. We will explore how God used these people in salvation history, despite their flaws and failures. Despite our own personal failures, He wants to use us to build His kingdom, as well.
If you are interested in joining a Small Group, please stop by the Information Booth after Mass to sign up. You can also call JoAnne Cianfichi at 443-474-9588 for additional information or CLICK HERE to complete a brief Small Group Interest Form.
Coming soon …
In two weeks we will begin a new message series called Next S.T.E.P.S. that will be heard not only as the message in our small groups, but also during the homily. This series is an acronym to describe our faith development. Our faith is a journey that we will not complete in this life; a journey that requires us to keep taking our next step. In this series, we will look at the five major STEPS we believe are necessary to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ:
God can draw a person closer to Him at any step, at any time. Therefore, it is important to note that even though S.T.E.P.S. is an acronym, the steps are fluid and can occur in any order, often cycling around in various ways, in different times throughout one’s life. The series presentation follows this format as a way to remind us of the Next STEPS we take as we journey with Jesus.
Small Groups …
- are not bible studies, but we do discuss scripture,
- are not support groups, but we do support one another,
- are not study groups, but we do study, and
- are not social groups, but we do make life long friends!
You can always stay connected to the Small Group series at this week’s Small Group message. We are hoping everyone in the church will join a Small Group. We continue on our mission to Love God, Love Others, and Make Disciples. If you are currently in a small group or would like to learn more about joining or leading a small group, please call JoAnne Cianfichi at 443-474-9588.
Jesus and Small Groups
by Cindy Nau, Communications Director
Jesus Christ is no doubt the greatest small group leader in history. He is our model. Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us, “Be imitators of God .. and live a life of love.” Consider these seven points as explained by Neal McBride in How to Lead Small Groups.
- Jesus began His earthly ministry by establishing His small group: the disciples. The Son of God certainly did not need the companionship or assistance of the disciples. Yet, from the very beginning, He elected to establish and minister within a framework of interpersonal relationships. The 12 disciples were members of Jesus’ designated inner group.
- Jesus was actively involved in both large and small group ministry contexts. Large group and small group ministries were not pitted against each other. Nor was it the case of one or the other exclusively. Jesus proclaimed His Kingdom to large crowds and met with small groups in homes and spent considerable time with His special group, the Twelve.
- Jesus’ ministry to large groups was preceded by and proceeded out of His small group context. Jesus’ small group emphasis preceded His large group involvement. It was the small group that provided the platform for Jesus’ ministry to large groups of people. Yet, He often withdrew to the familiarity and support of His select small group.
- Jesus spent the majority of His time with His small group. If it were possible to add up the amount of time Jesus spent with disciples, likely the results would show that this group consumed the majority of His time. They were together constantly; they traveled together, shared meals, experienced mutual hardship, and literally lived together. As Jesus’ crucifixion drew closer, He spent more and more time with His small group, but less and less time with the multitudes that sought Him out.
- Relationships, not organizations, were central in Jesus’ method. Jesus gave little, if any, time and attention to building an earthly organization. The Kingdom He sought to proclaim was not a material organization, but rather a heavenly realm. His message, the gospel, was of greater concern to Him than establishing and running a human institution.
- Jesus used the small group context to teach and model spiritual knowledge, attitudes and behavior. Jesus taught and modeled spiritual truth by simply drawing members of his small group close to Himself. It was not a formal or academic experience. The small group members simply participated with Christ in whatever He did. They saw and experienced the attitudes and actions He was encouraging others to adopt.
- The small group was Jesus’ method for leadership training. Jesus devoted Himself primarily to the task of developing a select group of men, the Apostles. His goal was to equip this small group of disciples to carry on the work of the gospel after He returned to the Father.