How to Gather a Small Group
Although we may have people around us all day long communicating on cell phones or computers, many of us still long for deeper conversations about the most important things in life. This essential dialogue is the most natural human way to deepen our companionship with others—and answer the profound loneliness and longing for communion found in so many modern hearts.
When we suggest that you "gather a small group," we don't mean gathering a group of perfect strangers under the fluorescent lights of a Church basement, enduring awkward silences and being forced to "share your feelings." (Sorry, but that doesn't sound very comfortable to us!)
Instead, we suggest gathering people that you already know in a way and manner that is attractive and natural. Since our Life After Sunday materials are based on the deepest desires of the human heart, we recommend a starting point that includes friendship, food, laughter, and maybe a bit of wine!
Invite a small group of friends or acquaintances over for a simple meal. During your conversation, explore their interest in getting together regularly to discuss the important issues of human life together. You may want to download and print out our Destiny Issue to use as a tool for this first gathering. Read and discuss the lead article. Or depending on the group's interest, you can save it for the next time you meet.
If anyone has a friend or acquaintance they think would like to be included, have them bring him or her along next time. Then pick a date and place, preferably hosted by someone else in the group. Since there is plenty of discussion material in the Destiny Issue, your group can explore another article then if that suits your needs. In the meantime, you can decide if Life After Sunday is the best resource for your discussion or some other material, such as Scripture study. (We are always happy to recommend the living Presence of Christ in the Word!)
You'll Need a "Teacher"
If you do decide to proceed, we strongly urge every small group to seek out the oversight of someone who is living in intimacy with Christ and his Church. This person can offer authentic guidance on the group's progress, growth and fruitfulness. Our experience has shown that groups without an authoritative Teacher usually become the blind leading the blind, often resulting in the disintegration of the very friendships they had hoped to strengthen. The Teacher can be a fellow parishioner, priest, deacon, or sister--anyone who has allowed the Presence of Christ and his Church to permeate their life. You will know him or her by their attention...their obedience...their joy!
If you need to talk to a real person about getting your group started, please don't hesitate to contact us! Send a note to marybeth@lifeaftersunday or call us at 1-800-473-7980. We'd love to hear from you.
"Strive, therefore, in every parish...to restore life to the small groups...who proclaim Christ and his word, places where it is possible to experience faith, to put charity into practice and to organize hope. This structuring of the large urban parishes by the multiplication of small communities allows the mission a larger breathing space, which takes into account the density of the population and its social and cultural features which are often very different." --Pope Benedict XVI, 26 May 2009