What does a typical Small Group session look like?
A typical group meets for about 2 hours. For the first 30 minutes or so there is an informal time to hang out, socialize, and share life together. Often there is food or coffee involved. The groups then transition to a discussion time for about 90 minutes where they revisit the content from Sunday's message, trying to understand how to apply the information to their lives. These are candid conversations about the obstacles we face along the way and how the truth of the Gospel can help us overcome them. Each week, practical goals are set so we don't just talk about God's Word, but we actively live it out. While this is the usual format, there are many weeks when the groups will change things up and participate in activities together or devote the time to praying together. There are some formal elements to Small Groups, but there are also a lot of informal events and activities as well.
When and how often do the Small Groups meet?
Small Groups meet weekly from September to July, taking a short break in around the Christmas season and early January. The groups do not meet the 3rd week of each month in order to allow people to participate in Beacon's monthly Discipleship Classes. There are several different Small Groups and they meet at different times and on different days, mostly on weeknight evenings. People are encouraged to attend every time their group meets, but if you can only attend every other week, or on a less frequent basis, you are still invited to participate whenever you can. During the seasons when groups aren't meeting weekly, they will organize group outings or share dinner together.
Where do Small Groups meet?
All of the groups meet in the homes of people who attend the church. Some groups will meet in the same home each week. Other groups will rotate through different homes in the community from week to week.
Do different groups cover different topics?
All of the groups study the same topics. Each week's topic reflects the Sunday sermon from that week. One of the main goals of Small Groups is to help you apply God's word to your life. Rather than inundating you with more and more information, Small Groups give you the time to think about and discuss what you've already learned, so you will be more equipped to put it into practice. We are called to be doers of the Word and not just hearers (James 1:22).
How do you choose the best group for an individual?
When it comes to finding the right group, geography is the number one criterion. People are encouraged to attend the group that meets in their community. This means that other demographics like age, life stage, and personal interests are less important. Our groups are intentionally diverse. There will be 20-year-olds and 80 years olds in the same group. There will be new parents and empty-nesters and life-long singles in the same groups. The Small Groups will hopefully look as diverse as the neighborhoods in which they meet. Sometimes this may make things a little more awkward when you first join the group. It’s easier to connect with people who look like us and think like us and like the same things we do. But the long-term impact of loving people who are different from us and being loved by those people is well worth the initial hurdle. Geographically based Small Groups also provide the added benefit of enabling the group to reach out to their community more effectively together.
How long do Small Groups last?
In a sense, Small Groups last forever. Once a group forms, we hope it will stay together indefinitely. They only meet about 8-9 months out of the year, but there is no start or finish. People are welcome to join a group at any point during the year. The one exception is that occasionally a few people from an existing group may be commissioned to go out and launch a new group.
How can I Join a Group?
If you're interested in joining a group, the first step is to fill out the online sign-up form. Someone will contact you right away to discuss the available options that best meet your current needs. If you have any questions, talk to Trevor!