Why Small Group Ministry
There are multiple reasons for a parish investing in home-based small groups, but many parishes feel lost when trying to launch such a ministry. In these pages you can learn from my successes and failures in small groups, the rationale behind it, and why I think this ministry is more important than ever before in Church history.
Feature 1 - Community
America needs communities. We use the word "community" a lot, but at most have loose affiliations of people, or limited activism-centered groups, instead of real people sharing their lives together. Out of all the different versions of small group ministry, I chose to focus on a Community Group model because I believed our parish, a large, regional parish serving around 20,000 individuals, was severely lacking a sense of community as a parish.
Feature 2 - Domestic Church
Clericalism, an attitude developed after the Counter Reformation in the 1500s up to our present time, is a way for the laity to leave to the clergy their own call to holiness and the lay apostolate. Vatican II sought to remedy this, but in response to the Council clericalism merely morphed into lay people assuming more clerical roles (Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Lectors, Sacristans, etc.). One of the solutions to this is to build up the domestic church, bringing not just family life, but friends and neighbors, into experiencing prayer and study outside of the parish walls.
Feature 3 - Evangelism
Catholics, when surveyed, are rated lower than all other Christian denominations and Churches on the question of personal evangelization. Community Groups enables Catholics to first hear the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed to them, then to discuss it openly with others. This grows personal familiarity with the great story of Jesus so that he can be shared with others, as well as creating an environment where others can "come and see" the gospel without stepping foot on a church campus, which may be intimidating.