What is a Small Group?
Small Groups are basic Christian communities. Believing that discipleship, evangelism and care are activities best carried out in a community context, small Groups provide that context. They are gatherings of 3 to 12 people meeting in individual’s homes, workplaces, restaurants/coffee shops, and the church throughout the week. They seek to develop biblical community by pursuing God and experiencing His presence together. In this process, community is developed and fostered, and people are nurtured, equipped and released for the purpose of participating in God’s redemptive work in the world. Small Groups provide opportunities for intimacy, support, practical love and service, learning about the Christian faith, prayer, and sharing of what we see God doing in our midst. They are led or co-led by trained and mature lay-leaders from the congregation.
Why Small Groups?
“Small Groups exist to produce gospel-centered communities in Northwest Wisconsin that are nurturing disciples who make disciples and participate in God’s redemptive work in the world.”
Healthy Churches are defined by their relationship both with God and others. In smaller churches helping others to develop both relationship with God and others within the church happens in a more organic way. However, in larger churches structures are needed to help guide these relationships. Without structures in place, people begin to fall between the cracks and their relationship both with God and others suffer. At Hayward Wesleyan we believe that gospel-centered communities, called small groups, exist to ensure that we are becoming a community closely intertwined both with God and others. Our primary strategies of pastoral care, discipleship and disciple-making take place within our small group communities.
To move Christian community faithfully and lovingly in four directions:
We are living out the gospel together. We do this by connecting to Christ through consistent, daily time with God, increasing the amount of prayer in group meetings, and praying with other members of the group during and in between meetings.
Connecting with other members outside of meeting times to become true friends. We stress serving others, asking for help and big favors, and learning to overlap their lives (shop together, hang together, eat together, exercise together, serve in a ministry that supports the Sunday gathering together, etc.)
Connecting with unchurched friends, family members, other students, neighbors, and coworkers. We encourage relating to unchurched people socially well before any invitation to a small group is extended. We regularly think outside our own needs and ask ourselves how this community can co-labor and participate in God’s mission to the world.
We believe that, like families, healthy communities will reach maturation and “grow up and move out of the house” when it comes to small group membership. Healthy groups train up disciples who leave groups so that they can start new groups. We challenge the members to abandon the “I like it here and don’t want anything to change” mentality because it promotes personal stagnation…the gospel provides deep community, but not relational cul-de-sacs. Why Small Groups?
How Do I Join a Small Group?
Small Group communities are designed to be inclusive. Like families, small groups are intimate, yet always make room for a new member of the family. If groups get larger than 12-14, they are encouraged to split and form new groups. There are new groups starting all the time. Keep an eye out for new groups that are beginning, or join an existing group by contacting a small group leader. Check out the list of active groups and contact a leader to get plugged in, or contact the church office: