Father Andrew asked me to write this week in the Encourager about growth groups at St. Barnabas. I would like to explain what the groups are, how they should work, and then give a quick plug about my experience with small groups. We would love to see every person in St. Barnabas involved in a growth group, and I hope that this little glimpse into them might entice you to try it.
Growth groups are groups of about 12 people that meet regularly to help members grow in their relationships with Jesus Christ. Now, that growing is something that we should all be doing, and it is something that we should be doing by attending Mass and through personal reading and prayer. However, growth groups give an extra, unique opportunity for a deeper relationship. A growth group meets so that the members can share how they are growing, what they are learning, discuss with and learn from each other, and can pray with and for each other.
At St. Barnabas, our growth groups will meet every week on Sundays before Mass; we’ll have refreshments and fellowship at 8:00 and will have the study portion from 8:30 to 9:30. That study portion will sometimes use videos, sometimes books, sometimes just the Bible, sometimes topical lessons as we mov through the year, but will always have that critical sharing, discussion and prayer. And that is what makes growth groups an incredible tool for change your life.
Jennifer and I were missionaries in Europe for 13 years, and we were in small groups for all of that time. We can both testify that our relationships with Jesus were radically deepened and strengthened in those groups. In those groups, we learned so much about God, about ourselves, about our friends and about life, and formed relationships that we will treasure forever. And it did all of this in ways that attending church services and personal study could not do.
Growth groups are special, and I am excited about the opportunity to experience it beginning on August 19th. We know that it makes for an earlier morning, but I am also convinced that it is well worth the effort. So I want to invite and encourage each of you to come and see.
Grace and peace,