Small Groups

Cell groups and  house groups were set up for church members and friends to meet together during the week, to further study God’s word and get to know each other better.

Cell groups were built on the 4 W’s principle – Welcome, Worship, Word & Witness – although these aspects are found in the other groups as well. All have a vision for personal and group growth.Cell groups start small with 6 people and aim to grow to 15, at which point they aim to split into two smaller groups again.

Homegroups often started out focussing on Bible study, have also expanded or changed depending on the people in the group. Most groups have an element of social activity, shared meals or outings.

Study groups are an important feature of Christ Church, a time to encourage people to find out what God wants them to do, to encourage them to grow and reach their potential. These groups also supports the church’s pastoral care system as the group tries to meet the needs of the people within their group.  Every person in the church is unique and so each group is also unique, meeting on different days and at different times and are often studying different material.

Home Groups, Bible Study Groups, Cell Groups, Study groups or  – all names used to describe “Small Groups” at Christ Church.

Group leaders meet together and discussed the vision for small groups. Some of the things that our small groups see as part of the vision include:
• Meeting close friends for coffee (this experience will be different for different groups).
• Building friendships and relationships that are deeper than happens when we meet in large numbers.
• Supporting each others needs
• Fun, social contact, sharing meals, events, outings
• Using and developing spiritual (and practical) gifts
• Being challenged
• Making disciples
• Prayer
• Growth
o Inward (teaching, learning, loving)
o Outward – reaching out to others and making them welcome into our group and the wider church
• Sharing – what we’re doing, sharing ourselves, sharing with others
• Group Leader is a facilitator – needs support on material, resources, growth, vision, membership. The leader doesn’t have to do everything. Hosting is different from leading, some good leaders are not happy hosts and vice-versa
• Ideally each group should have shared leadership to split the load and broaden the group experience
• Groups should mature, develop and evolve – each should learn how to bring in new members to their group (and where right move them on)
• What is each groups vision for its particular role in the growth and life of the church?
• What is the groups’ ministry? (Prayer, healing, evangelism, service, pastoral care) – some or all?
• How does it serve and support its members?
• How does it grow and develop its leaders?
• How does it fit into the Church’s wider vision

Some of the above are answers – some are questions we would like the different groups to pray about and discuss.

What are our small groups like? What do they do?

They are all groups of people who are developing their relationships with God and each other. They meet in size groups, at different times of day – often in homes, but also at the church.

They are part of the community that makes up the church and because of that they are all different. Each has strengths of its own:

  •   The energy and growth of the Thursday morning “small group” is something that is currently inspiring the other groups.
  •   Jayne and David Lairds group moved nights to accommodate someone who really wanted to attend ( a big change for a group that traditionally met on a Monday for many years).
  • The Munns group are currently attending the bi-monthly prayer focus group run by our minister.

What next?
We believe there is a specific gap we would like to fill for a group that does deeper bible study, maybe linked to the themes of Sunday sermons or more general discussion topics. It will probably meet bi-weekly as there are some for whom a weekly meeting is too much.

We also want to make sure small groups are well connected to other parts of church life.  Part of this will be met by using 5th Sundays (roughly once a quarter) which small groups will lead together to share some of what they have been studying and learning.

We are creating a pool of material that we talk about and share so that groups will often work on similar material, though it will be selected to suit the particular group.

If you’re not in a Small Group already, please feel free to any of the small group leaders or your pastoral elder. If you’d like to try a group once or few times, with no commitment then talk to the leader of the group.

If you have any suggestions, questions, ideas or thoughts about this area – please speak to me or any of the above.

When Leaders Where
Monday8.00pm Nigel & Deborah Munns currently attending the group below
2nd & 4th Tuesday8pm Jim Thorneycroft Room 1 Christ Church
Monday 8.00pm Jayne & David LairdStudying Daniel Cardinal Close,South Tonbridge
Thursday 10.00 am Howard & Brenda Ansdell Christ Church CentreRoom 1

The United Reformed Church in Tonbridge, Kent