Each week’s group meetings during Easter Season point forward to the coming Sunday. For this week, your groups will continue to identify the ministries to which your group members are called and are willing to be commissioned during worship this coming Sunday (Pentecost).
This is also the final formation group meeting of Easter Season.
Here is a suggested agenda.
- Brief, informal time of gathering (10 minutes or so) with snacks to share.
- Formal gathering — seated in a circle in chairs or around a table — with requests for prayer for the coming week (10 minutes)-- and prayer led by the group leader or unison in the group. If the latter, one practice I’ve found useful in leading such groups is immediately after a person shares, the whole group pauses, then says in unison, “Into your hands, O God, we commend our sister/brother/sibling(s) Name(s).” Proceed to the next person and repeat until all who wish to offer requests for prayer have had the opportunity to do so.
- Teaching and Conversation (35 minutes) — This week is part two of two sessions focused on the most intensive work you will do together as a formation group: identifying one ministry into which each person is willing, gifted, and supported by others in the group to be commissioned on Pentecost (this coming Sunday).
This week, you will complete this process with group members who did not complete it last week. Next week, you’ll complete it with the other half. Use “Session 4” in “DIY Tools for Spiritual Gifts Discernment” as a guide for your discernment process. At the end of this session, half of your group members will have identified a specific ministry, concrete next steps for action, and will have received prayer and a pledge of personal support from other group members for the ministry they will pursue and into which they will be commissioned on Pentecost.
This week also marks the completion of the work of this formation group. If you choose to continue to meet after Pentecost, we recommend that you consider doing so as a Covenant Discipleship Group. Our colleague, Steve Manskar, describes the process of forming a Covenant Discipleship Group in his Covenant Discipleship Groups webinar. Registration to view the webinar is free. It is about an hour long. We recommend that those who are interested in continuing as one or more Covenant Discipleship Groups (ideal group size is 5-7) view the webinar together as part of their discernment. Many other resources are available to support your work as a Covenant Discipleship Group at https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/covenantdiscipleship.
Whether you continue as a Covenant Discipleship Group or complete your journey together here, take time to share with one another what has been helpful about this group to your faith and life and your thanks to God and one another for your time together. Perhaps consider having a reunion for fellowship over a meal or dessert or coffee at a later time as well.
- Gather in a circle or huddle, lay hands on one another, one by one, and pray in unison, “X, may you continue to grow in Christ in the days ahead.”
- Thank all for coming, and send the group out to keep learning and living the baptism they have received.