Before moving to Chicago I was a part of a small group of ministers who met together every other week. Our covenant with each other was to share our joys and sorrows personally and professionally in hopes of growing as persons, as Christians, and as clergy.
For three years we walked with each other through personal crises, domestic difficulties, career angst, and church fights. And in those three years I grew and matured more than I ever had before. I left that group a different man than when I started, and although it has been more than thirteen years since my departure, there has rarely been a day when I have not thought about that group and the gifts they gave me.
One of my dreams for FCC is to give everyone who wants it the chance to have the same kind of rich experience I had. No, it doesn•t need to be a gathering of clergy, and the purpose of the group might be different, but the camaraderie and closeness available in a small group is a richness worth its weight in gold.
For that reason we are launching ChristCare Small Group Ministry here at FCC. Most people who become active in a church, and stay in the church, do so because they feel a part of a small group within the church. Perhaps it is an organized assemblage such as a choir or class, or it might be an informal collection of friends, but the small group provides a sense of belonging. Small groups also offer •entry points• into the congregation for prospective new members. Someone might attend a parenting group, for example, and discover he or she enjoys the company, and then decide to get involved in church life.
ChristCare is a way for a church to be intentional about starting and maintaining small groups in the congregation. ChristCare groups contain four key elements: community building and care, Biblical equipping, prayer and worship, and mission service. Each group, however, can be focused on almost any subject or interest. It could be a gardening group, a book club group, an exercise group, a group interested in the arts, or whatever. You name it and a group can probably be formed around it.
But in order to launch small groups we will need leaders. Therefore, beginning in late September we will begin providing ChristCare Small Group Leader Training led by myself, Lois Bucher, and Lisa Martin. Everything someone needs to know about starting, facilitating, and maintaining a small group will be covered in these training sessions.
Could you be a ChristCare group leader? Please don•t protest that you don•t know how. We will teach you how, and those skills will translate into a variety of other areas too. All it takes is commitment to Christ, loyalty to FCC, a desire to grow, and a willingness to help others do the same.
Talk to me or Lois or Lisa. There could be an exciting new journey waiting for you.