During 2015, the Catholic Parishes of Billerica offered a monthly series called “Who do you say that I am” for Adult Faith Formation. The first month saw 60 participants, the second 40, and after only a few months, less than a handful of people attended our well-developed sessions.
As we were planning for 2016, we decided to do something different, something our community could thrive from, something that we would grow organically, year after year!
We investigated all the popular programs, and chose ReachMore, from The Evangelical Catholic. This choice was based on its approach to prepare willing Parish members to lead small groups within our Parish, and its focus on building a repeatable process for helping people to grow closer to God, and then calling others into relationship with Jesus.
We trained more than 10 leaders in our first ReachMore training group, and have held training groups in 4 of the last 5 years, so that, even with turnover, we now have approximately 100 people in Scripture Small Groups, led by 15 leaders.
Our Scripture Small Groups open the Word of God in a comfortable and safe environment, guided by the Holy Spirit. Members can come to understand God better, and understand God’s word in a meaningful way that is applicable to their daily life, and can actually see how God is already at work in our lives. They share their experiences within their personal comfort level, under the guidance of trained leaders who can engage members in their journey seek to develop.
And, those groups are thriving!
Members invite other members into the group, because they want to share with their friends what they have found in their group. Sometimes groups even become too large (more than 12) , and need to split.
Members have pushed to keep their group meetings throughout the year, rather than only during Lent and Fall (which was typical), because of the their experience of God in community.
Members step forward to be trained as new groups leaders.
Members return to the Sacraments, and renew their commitment to their Parishes with their time, treasure and talent.
Members share their joys, disappointments, worries among a group of loving, caring, and committed Catholic Christians.
This is much more than any program can accomplish – we call it a Movement!
Additionally, several of our Scripture Group leaders also offer accompaniment to more than 30 Parishioners who meet 1-1 monthly to share their experiences of God and to identify what God is doing in their lives. They journey together and encourage one another in their walk with God. Truly, disciples help make Disciples.
Let me say it again – this is much more than any program can accomplish – this is a Movement!
And ultimately, this is how Jesus showed us how to love one another and live in community!
For More Information
Contact Deacon Phil DiBello at [email protected] to set up an exploratory conversation.
Visit http://massevangelize.org for more information on the services that we offer, and for the endorsements we have received.