Q & A in Interconnections Newsletter
Q We started a small group ministry program two years ago and the groups really took off, but now we're starting to see problems with several of them. Is that normal?
"After the establishment of a new program," Bowden continues, "it is common for congregations to let small groups run on autopilot, especially when more urgent matters demand attention. However, it takes regular vision casting and support between group facilitators and skill training for small group ministries to not only stay on track, but to thrive."
Another reason for failure, he says, is that while groups are designed to build intimacy and connections they can sometimes become too inward-looking, at the expense of being open and welcoming. Also, over time the focus of groups naturally drifts toward the interests of group members, Bowden says. Such "small group drift" can move the focus of the group away from leadership development, shared ministry, and outreach.
The UU Small Group Ministry Network offers members a quarterly newsletter addressing the "perils and promises" of small group ministry. An email list, covenant_group_ministry, is available at uua.org/lists.
To join the UU SGM Network mail a check made out to "UU SGM Network"($35 individuals/$60 congregations) to UU SGM Network, 155 Evarts Street, Newport, RI, 02840. Include an email contact and a brief description of your program.