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Thanks for this summary.  I've been through the process of launching a congregational small group movement.  I think this article captures the main questions and tasks to work through in advance. I'll add two things to this post.

1) I found that you had to capture the moment.  There were times when I was trying to get something like this going, but it didn't really capture the felt need of the congregation at that point.  But then there was a time when people were really hungering for it and knew that it was necessary for the health and mission of the church.  And then it took.

2) Figuring out how to organize people into small groups is not always clear.  I asked a few leaders of churches that have flourishing, long-term small groups how to best gather people into groups.  They told me they hadn't found the obvious method yet.  You can do age-based, or intentionally intergenerational, or bring together people who are already friends.  But each model has its drawbacks.  And you have to accept that some groups are going to work better than others (that was helpful reality to hear!).  What worked fairly well for us was to organize our groups by geography.  We put everyone's address on Google maps and saw that there were clusters where people in our church lived around the city. I don't know if that will work for other churches, but we saw some clear advantages:

-it takes away the 'selection bias' of having leaders invite people to their group that they want to be with.

-it took away the excuse of needing to drive too far to small group

-we emphasized the benefit of building strong relationships with church members in their own area of town

-groups could be encouraged to find missional opportunities in their area of town, and 'adopt a senior' from the church who lived in their area and be intentional about calling, visiting, or dropping off a meal

-it creates a default process to include new people in a group: find out where they live and connect them to that group

-and if a group got too big it created a default way to split the group into two.

Like a lot of CRCs our church does not do Lord's Supper weekly.  But we have started to celebrate Lord's Supper weekly during Lent for our second year.  And we've been inviting people to come forward to receive the bread and cup, rather than pass the trays up and down the pews. 

During Advent we sing songs about Jesus' second coming:

   Sing to the King (LUYH 474)

   Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (LUYH 351)...perhaps my favorite hymn

   Soon and Very Soon (LUYH 482); we do this every year as the last song on the 4th Sunday of Advent

During our Candlelight Service we'll be having a few musicians sing some songs from the album "In the Town of David" by Ordinary Time.  And we've had kids sing songs from the "Waiting Songs" album by Rain for Roots.

This year we are going to do something with our youth group that my whole high school used to do on Halloween: Trick-or-Can.  We'll meet at the church and have a few parent drivers.  We will go to a few different neighborhoods and the kids will go in pairs asking for donations of non-perishable foods instead of candy (though I'm sure there will be a bit of that as well).  We will then meet up at the church for some hot chocolate and share our experiences.  I'm hoping to make this an annual event.

Thanks everyone,

   This is very helpful.  I'm looking into the books you mentioned.  I think delving into the resources of the Calvin Institute of Worship is a great reminder as well.  

   Feel free to keep adding to the discussion as I'm sure others will be interested in such a topic.

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