Frequently Asked Questions about Sermon-based Small Groups
What are Small Groups?
Sermon-based Small Groups are made up of 10-16 people who meet weekly for an evening of planned sharing, study, prayer and (in some groups) worship. They last for about 1½ hours and end with light refreshments. A trained leader and host team lead each group, using the message from Sunday’s sermon as the basis for their study.
Where and when do they meet?
Small Groups are offered throughout the week at different locations and at various times. Each group picks its own day and time of the week and gets together on a weekly basis.
How long does a group last?
We have broken the year into 4 quarters, or sessions. Each Small Group session lasts 10 or 11 weeks. At the end of each quarter, participants will have the option of staying in the same group, trying a new group or taking a break. Most groups stay together throughout the entire year. Sermon-based Small Groups do not meet mid-June through August, although some continue to meet informally or socially throughout the summer.
What will we study?
Our study will be based on the weekly sermons at First Free. On the back of the sermon note sheet each week, you will find the homework, which will allow you to dig a little deeper. Then your Small Group will discuss how to apply the Bible’s teaching to your every day life. REMEMBER: Although the study will be based on the sermon, it won’t simply be a rehash of the sermon. In addition to the study and discussion, time is also set aside for sharing and conversational prayer (and, in some groups, worship). In addition, each group gets together at least once a quarter for a social event to build stronger relationships. You will also be encouraged to care for one another in practical ways.
What does it cost?
The main cost of being in a Small Grup is commitment. During the first meeting, each group will review and develop a group “covenant”—an agreement of the goals and responsibilities necessary to make the most of their study. Part of that commitment is making weekly participation a priority, which includes completing the weekly homework (This takes approximately 30-60 minutes). This commitment will last an estimated 12 weeks, after which time you will have the choice of recommitting for another 10-12 weeks, trying a new group, or taking a break from Small Groups.
What about childcare?
Sermon-based Small Groups are for adults only. Exceptions are made for nursing newborns (up to six months). Those of you who have children will need to make arrangements for their care. Sometimes it works best for families to share a sitter or swap childcare with another family whose group meets at a different time.
How will I know which group is best for me?
We suggest you join a group based on your “station in life,” rather than on geography or the most convenient night of the week. We have found that a group works best when you share common interests, backgrounds, marital status or similar aged children. Sometimes it may take two or three groups before you find the perfect fit. But don’t worry, you will find it!
How do I get involved?
Church-wide sign-ups begin the month prior to each quarterly session.
- Members and regular attenders of the church may sign up on a Sunday morning, once enrollment for a new session is announced. Updated Small Group brochures, lists and applications will be available for you to indicate your first and second choice. The host couple of the group assigned to you will contact you with more information about the first meeting and potluck to get you started!
- Newcomers to the church are encouraged to plug in at any time to an existing group that has an opening. Contact the Associate Pastor for a list of what groups are available and what days/times they meet.