Of course, it all begins with prayer — that God will prepare the hearts and minds of people who will lead and participate in small groups. Beyond that, here are a few key ingredients to launching small groups in your parish.
Pastor support: The first and most important step in making small groups work in a parish is having the pastor declare his desire to have as many parishioners as possible participate. He must be on board when it comes to the importance of small groups ministries, mentioning them constantly — in homilies, testimonials, prayers of the faithful at Mass, and meetings. The question posed to parishioners should not be “if” they will participate, but rather “which” small groups they will choose. In an amazing parish, people will see small groups as an essential part of their experience there.
Simple pilot programs: It is important that parishes, and especially the leaders of the parish –dive in and do small groups first. This will allow them to embrace the concept themselves, and identify and address any issues that need to be resolved before launching the programs to the entire parish.
The steps for building a small group pilot program are pretty straight-forward:
Now, choose a curriculum or program for the larger parish, choose facilitators and move into action.