What is Small Group Ministry? Small Group Ministry is about forming small groups within a congregation that deepen relationships among members. Small groups, also called covenant groups or chalice circles are one way to explore our spiritual orientation together.
Goals of Small Group Ministry
- Community Building – Small Groups are about connecting with other people in the church, building community and facilitating pastoral care. It’s about creating a place where we can belong (intimacy) and finding a place that can make meaning in our lives (ultimacy).
- Nurturing Leadership – A key aspect of the Small Groups is nurturing leadership within our community.
- Practicing Our Religion – Covenant Circles are one way we model and practice our UU Religion. They are part of our commitment to lifelong learning.
- Fulfilling our UU Principles and our Church’s Mission – Covenant Circles are about living out our UU principles. It is a way for us to grow as people and as a community.
What are Small Groups about?
A covenant circle group …
- Is focused on topics or themes
- Is intended to develop deep reflection in a caring environment
- Provides support to one another and shares experiences
- Is based on agreed upon principles and values
- Has a small number of participants who are committed to regular attendance
- Actively encourages new participation
- Is prepared to seed new groups when the group size reaches an upper limit (of about 10 people)
- Is committed to the group, the community and UU tradition
Resources for Congregations
Small Group Ministry Planning: Here are some useful questions a planning team should consider when initiating a Small Group Ministry Program.
- Wise Elders Curriculum (pdf): Developed by Audrey O’Callaghan, an experienced UU from Ottawa. It is a form of small group ministry, and enables seniors to share their stories and wisdom.
- Climate Change Action Curriculum Guide (pdf): A series of self-directed discussions for small groups.
For more information and resources, visit the Small Group Ministry page on the UUA website.