“We don’t have any small groups”
“We don’t have any small groups” I have been told several times since I started my role. There is often a recognition of their importance and a desire to have them combined with the reality of a tired and over-stretched congregation. This comment is usually shared with me during a PCC meeting. I respond by pointing out that they themselves are a small group.
The recognition that your PCC is a small group can help the members realise the responsibility they have for one another and deepen relationships with openness, honesty and support.
“You are a small group”
There are three main elements to a small group: faith, fellowship and outreach. A holistic small group is working towards the deepening of faith, the support of one another and a desire to reach others. A PCC is unlikely to have time for a full Bible study, social time, extended prayer and engaging with outreach and also complete the important business that it is called to discuss. So how can a PCC develop a more holistic approach, while still being an efficient body?
Here are just a few ideas to help you get started:
- Take it in turns to bring a Bible passage (personal choice or decided before). The person leading shares the passage and what they feel God has been saying to them from it.
- Designate time at the beginning and/or end to pray specifically for the conversations you’ve had and God’s hand in any decisions.
- Have a few minutes for individuals to share how God has answered prayers or acted in the past week.
These kind of changes can help the group to recognise that God is at work in their lives and the life of the church. It encourages them to notice God in their daily lives.
- Start 15-30 minutes earlier for tea, cake and conversation.
- Have a PCC social evening at Christmas/New Year and before the summer, without an agenda.
- Each meeting a different member is asked to share something of their faith and life journey for 2 minutes.
Social times but also times committed to sharing, actively encourage people to learn more about each other in their spiritual, physical and emotional journeys. It encourages the group to invest in each other beyond making decisions.
- Keep it on the agenda; what is happening in your church? If there isn’t anything currently happening, what is next?
- Pray for your community beyond the church walls when you gather together. You could pray for different groups of people or pray and mark off different streets as you go.
- As a PCC send out letters of gratitude to individuals engaged in outreach. They may be people running or helping outreach linked to the church or they may be doing it in other areas.
Prayers and thanksgiving keep outreach in the forefront of people’s minds and remind members that church exists to support Christians and to reach out to those who don’t know Jesus yet.