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Take a look around your congregation or your community. You might see people who would love to be part of an adult small group but feel like they don't belong because they

  • are learning English
  • are new readers
  • have difficulty sitting still
  • have speech or hearing difficulties,
  • have autism 
  • need a wheelchair-accessible location

Jesus wants ALL members of his body to be able to grow in faith. TOGETHER is an inclusive adult Bible study that provides learners of all abilities with the tools to grow in relationship with God and with one another. 

The creators of TOGETHER, in partnership with Faith Formation Ministries, have put together a list of Ten Ways to Be a More Inclusive and Welcoming Adult Small Group. We invite you to download this list and share it with the small group ministry leaders in your congregation.


The 'success' of a small group ministry rests with the content. Small groups have a tendency to become social gatherings rather than spiritual formation gatherings.  Our small group spends the first hour discussing the past Sunday's message, using questions provided by the church office.  The second hour is much more significant; men and women separate, meet in separate rooms, and become accountable for their personal lives over the past week. They share -- frankly and openly -- about their struggles over the past week as they dealt with sin, temptation, the amount of time they spend in devotions, their relationships (spouses, parents, children).  And throughout the week, they connect to each other by email or phone to see how they're doing.

This is spiritual development. It's accountability, something that few small groups seem equipped to do; nor do they desire to become that vulnerable.

Your "Ten Ways.." are a given. They are the ground rules.  It's what happens during that weekly discussion time that shapes one's faith journey, and that ends up strengthening the entire congregation's faith journey.

Sounds like you have a great system worked out, Keith! This Ten Ways tool was intended to help people think about how they can incorporate people of all abilities (including immigrants, refugees, people with disabilities, and others) into their small group ministry. If your groups are doing that, we'd love to hear how it's going!

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