The purpose of the group is for people to pray, to focus their attention on God and, through the group, strengthen relationships with God.
The purpose of the group is to build up discipleship through sharing with others who have similar commitments.
The purpose of the group is to grow in knowledge.
Sample Outline for Small Group Sessions –
- Introduction of participants with ice-breaker
- Moment of quiet and prayer (can be prayer from Sunday)
- Reading of the Scripture passage
- Reflection and sharing on the Scripture passage
- What does the Scripture say about its setting, purpose?
- What is the Scripture saying to me?
- What is the Scripture saying to our parish and Church?
- What is the Scripture saying to our world?
- Common prayer (petitions, formal prayer, etc.)
- Welcome, introductions and/or “ice breaker”
- Explanation of “Lectio Divina” process (definitely for first meeting, summaries for subsequent meetings)
- Reading of Scripture followed by quiet
- Reading of the same Scripture followed by conversation
- Reading of the same Scripture followed by quiet time for contemplation
- Invitation for people to move from contemplation to shared vocal prayer
- Lord’s Prayer and concluding announcements
- Welcome, introductions/”ice breakers”
- Quick review of what was covered in the previous session
- Presentation of material for study: reading, reviewing, viewing, summarizing the material as appropriate
- Shared conversation about the material; this may include looking at reference books as needed (e.g., Catholic Study Bible, Catechism, online reference)
- Summary of the key points covered
- Shared Prayer
- Announcements and hospitality
Obviously dynamics of one type cross over into other types. Leaders must keep the purpose of the group in mind and reinforce that purpose by providing the resources and support. In particular, study groups differ from sharing groups as the participants can expect to have a more direct takeaway.