Deepening the Faith Community Experience
Life circles are small groups formed for personal growth, faith development and the building of trust. Life circles can have as their focus any number of subjects; groups often read and explore books together while others might have dance, prayer, drumming, drawing, writing, building, chanting or outdoor exploration as their central focus; the number of possible themes is limitless. In our faith community, every life circle is unique, but all share some ways they connect each time they meet, these include:
- Shared prayer for others — this could take the form of meditation, silence, spoken prayer, written prayer, sung prayer, etc.
- Participating fully in the shared activity or focusof the life circle.
- Genuine sharingthroughintimate, honest, and personal conversation.
- A commitment to confidentiality.
Beyond this flexible structure, each life circle creates its own covenant when it begins to meet.Each life circle is expected to provide the faith community’s administrator with a description of the circle’s particulars, so that these can be shared with the faith community and others.Each group has a shared leadership, and size is usually kept to a dozen or so. If larger numbers are interested those groups usually divide. Anyone who shares the affinity that is the life circle’s focus, and who agrees to the circle-developed covenant, can joina life circle, so long as it is still open. All life circles are expected to honor the core values and beliefs of the faith community.
Life circles can be startedby anyone who has received Life Circle Leader training by the Equipping Team.
Ministries or mission teams hold many similarities with life circles as described above and many of the faith community’s groups can legitimately be described as both. The most significant difference between the two is that ministries are mission oriented with specific goals defined, sought after and achieved. Personal spiritual growth is experienced but more as a result of doing. Examples of current ministries in our faith community are:
- the Good Samaritan Team, there for neighbors in need
- Neighborhood Café providing a venue for people from many walks of life to meet and enjoy each other’s company over a meal
- the Elves working to support the community through various events
- the Dorcas Shawl Knitters providing the warmth and love knit into a multitude of prayer shawls
- the Music Ministry, Taize, Worship Team and Choir all work to bring excellence to the faith community’s worship.
Like life circles, ministries define their own style of meeting and participation. It is desirable that each ministry articulate a mission statement for self-guidance and accountability and that shared leadership be implemented. In order to ensure smooth operation within the faith community each ministry should have an indentified contact person.
All ministries and life circles are encouraged to be in close conversation with members of the faith community’s leadership. They are expected to communicate with leadership when any changes or decisions they make will effect the rest of the faith community.