Community can mean different things to different people…
We like to think of community as a deepening, holistic connection that happens over time as we create and worship together; as we linger in the dining room over soup and play with the Beloved kids out back; as we yearn for healing, and lament together when we see none; as we kneel in the dirt to plant veggies in the garden and talk with our neighbors on the front steps; as we share the mundane and the extravagant amidst our search to live out our vocation in the world.
One intentional way we cultivate this type of community is through our short-term Community Groups. As we love to do at Beloved, we’re experimenting to discover what works well in our time & place for cultivating community. Read on for a glimpse into our world…And by all means, if you’d like to take part, let us know!
Click here for information about the Fall 2015 Community Group : Story Group – Starts October 7
Beloved Community Groups : Places of Belonging & Growth
- The mission of Beloved Community Groups is to work out our issues of faith and vocation in a relational environment.
- Committed short-term Beloved Community Groups pursuing deeper authenticity, connection, transformation and vocational calling together.
“[The first Christians] devoted themselves
to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship,
to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
– Acts of the Apostles 2.42
- Welcome. Community Groups seek to live out God’s welcome – We see this costly inclusion offered to all most clearly in the cross of Jesus and seek to embody this form of radical hospitality.
- Story. Community Groups seek to discover and re – member (become a member in) God’s story, found both in scripture and in the text that is unfolding in each other, as we vulnerably share of our own stories.
- Presence. Community Groups seek to celebrate God’s faithful presence revealed in ordinary meals, prayerful listening, and the hope that bubbles up when hearing the promises of God.
- Gift. Community Groups seek to share God’s good gifts with others, live open-handedly, and discern our unique calling in the world and get to it.
- Connection to the Larger Community. Small groups choose to remain connected to and supportive of the mission, vision, values, and peoples of Church of the Beloved.
Community Group Yearly Cycle
Beloved Community Groups are decidedly short term, lasting 8-9 weeks with a clear beginning and end, so that participation in a small group does not feel like a life-long commitment whose only way out is divorce and alienation. We want to see expanding inclusion and a sharing of facilitation in the very DNA of the groups, so that more groups are started and facilitators are not burned out. A Beloved Community Group could decide to repeat their format together in consecutive cycles. Exceptions to this cycle can be made. Each facilitator will have an apprentice who will become a future facilitator.
Fall Cycle > Sept: Preparing facilitators, planning groups > Oct – Nov: 8 weeks community group > Dec: Month off
Winter Cycle > Jan: Preparing facilitators, planning groups > Feb – Mar: 8 week community group > Apr: Month off
Spring Cycle > May: Preparing facilitators, planning groups > Jun – Jul: 8 weeks community group > Aug: Month off
A Diversity of Groups
Beloved Community Groups can take a diversity of forms and foci. A group can be started by either a single person who wants to facilitate a group and invites others, or by a common interest among the community that forms the group and invites a facilitator. Some possible foci are: Story Group, Book Group, Service Group, Topical Group, Discernment Group. Regardless of the type of group, it is important that each group is clearly facilitated and inspires the Community Group toward action in the world. People are too busy to simply join an insular small group with no purpose or positive effect in the world… like how we change our spending habits, how we treat our in-laws, or how we spend our free time, etc.
A Model of Monthly Rhythm – Living the Values Together
Another option is to focus a group on a monthly rhythm of themes and practices that provides a variety of experiences together, each building upon the other to help mature the group. Here’s a suggested rhythm:
- Week 1 : Welcome / Play
- Week 2 : Story / Word
- Week 3 : Presence / Meal
- Week 4 : Gift / Service
For more information on the above, as well as Network of Support and Logistics, contact our Community Ministry Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org