Nurture Faith in Small Groups with These Four Things
Faith is formed by the power of the Holy Spirit through personal, trusted relationships, in a partnership between our congregations and home. This principle is foundational for developing people of faith.
Saint Peter does relationships very well. We have strong families, close circles of friends, and ministry teams. All of these are powerful conduits for the Holy Spirit to be active in forming faith in and among us. The following four faith practices are proven to be an effective way to nurture faith in the home and in small groups: caring conversation, prayer and devotion, service, and ritual/tradition.
Every time we gather there is an opportunity to grow closer to one another and deeper in faith. Here are some suggestions on how we can include intentional faith practices into times when we are already meeting with each other.
Caring Conversation – At the dinner table or a group meeting, make time to check in with one another. Give each person a chance to share a high and a low from the previous week. This gives you all an opportunity to hear what is going on in each other’s lives, lifting up the celebrations and challenges in prayer the following week.
Prayer and Devotion – In addition to including prayer in your gathering, create a space for devotion by asking everyone’s input on a simple question. The answers themselves may reveal something about your faith and provide an opportunity to learn from one another. Here are a few examples of questions for faithful conversation starters.
There is a phrase in the Bible that says, “Pray without ceasing.” What does that mean to you?
What have you enjoyed or appreciated most about your church?
What causes you to be a hopeful person?
When during the day do you feel closest to God? Why?
Tell about an experience that you thought was an answer to prayer?
Did you ever pray and feel that your prayer was not answered? How did that feel?
Service – Participating in service together is not only a great way to build community. It is a chance to experience Christ in the world. Check in with your group to see if someone has a local project they would like to offer or let me know and I will help connect you to a service opportunity.
Ritual/Tradition – Establishing a ritual and tradition makes us feel more connected with one another. Here’s an idea. When you gather, light a candle as a visible reminder of the Spirit’s presence, or use the same prayer, or sing the same song.
We are already making time to spend together in various settings where relationships are being formed. These are just a few suggestions to help enhance that time. If your group does incorporate any of these ideas or others, I would love to hear how it goes.
This article was written by Jeanne Maloney, Faith Formation Ministries.