A Growth Group is made up of around 10-15 people who meet weekly to study, to share and to support one another in their Christian lives. This is the main way that we connect with each other, study the Bible together, and grow as a community where we are known and cared for. Each group is led by a trained leader and host couple. A typical meeting lasts for about an hour and a half, covers a study based on the previous weekend’s sermon and includes light refreshments. Whether you’re single, married, an empty nester, or anything in-between, there’s a group for you!
We consider Growth Groups to be the hub of our ministry. They are the place where the real ministry of the church takes place as we study God’s Word, encourage each other and live life together. God doesn’t want any of us to walk this spiritual journey alone – we need each other. We want to be a church, not a crowd!
Each of the three Growth Group sessions lasts for about 10 weeks with a break in between each session. These breaks tend to occur around the holiday periods and the summer. Basically, we’ve broken the year into four sessions (fall, winter, spring, and summer) and we take the summer session off. At the end of each session, you have the choice of staying in the same group, trying a new group, or even taking a break. Most groups stay together throughout the entire year. While some groups meet informally or socially during the summer session, most Growth Groups do not meet from June through August.
The studies are based on the previous weekend’s sermon. Most Growth Groups use their sermon notes and the Growth Group Homework Questions as the basis of their discussion. If you imagine the sermon as being the tip of an iceberg, the Growth Group discussion is the time when you get to roll up your sleeves and discuss how the sermon works out in real life. Each week there will be a series of Bible passages and questions to study and complete before your Growth Group meeting. The homework is included on the back of the sermon note sheet available each Sunday at church and online. It will usually take 20-30 minutes to complete the homework.
Joining a Growth Group requires a 10 week commitment to attend the weekly meetings and to do the homework ahead of time. Obviously, allowances are made for sickness, vacation, work conflicts, and other special events…but not much more. This commitment is the key to strong relationships and healthy groups.
Growth Groups meet on various days and nights of the week in homes throughout the community. A few of them even meet at the church.
When choosing a Growth Group, we suggest you choose one based on your “station-in-life.” Many groups do best when members share common interests, backgrounds, marital status or similar aged children. Try out a Growth Group for a session to see if it’s a good fit. If not, try out another one. It may take you two or three groups before you find the perfect fit. But don’t worry, you’ll find it!
Church-wide sign-ups begin at the start of each new session (September, January, and March). You can sign up before or after the worship services, on our website, or by calling the church office. Our pastors and staff will be happy to help you find just the right group for you. Those who are new to the church (who start attending in the middle of a session), can sign up and join any group that has openings without waiting for the start of a new session.
It’s important that children don’t interrupt the flow of the meeting, either by coming into the room or by requiring parents to leave the meeting. Of course there will be times when this is unavoidable due to an emergency or special circumstance, but these times should be the exception, not the rule. If children are interrupting or within earshot, the openness and transparency of the group will suffer. Because of that, adult Growth Groups are for adults only (exceptions are made for nursing newborns up to six months). We do have Growth Groups for Junior and Senior High students, and some groups may even decide to include their kids for a portion of the meeting or session. For adult Growth Groups, we leave it up to each group and/or family to work out their own childcare. Sometimes it works best for groups to have the children in another room (out of earshot and not interrupting the meeting), for families to share a sitter, or to swap childcare with another family whose group meets on a different evening or time.