UCOP members have said on numerous occasions how much they would like to see small groups become a permanent fixture in our church community. They have also stressed the need for more community outreach and service. The small groups that come together every year for Fall Faith have been very popular. So, weaving all of this together will result in the formation of small group along the following guidelines:
1. Small groups will be formed around common interests held by congregants. A few such groups might include art, bible study, books, caregivers, cooking, entrepreneurship, gardening, health and fitness, moms, music, prosperity, self-awareness, survivors, travel, etc.
2. The size of the group should be limited to ten people.
3. If more than ten people want to join a certain group, a second such group may be formed.
4. Meetings can be held as frequently as the group desires. Preferably each group will meet at least once-a-month.
5. The small groups could meet at the church, in homes, restaurants, coffee shops – the selection of the venue is up to each group.
6. After 12 to 18 months, each group should consider splitting in two and forming two new groups that bring in new group members.
7. Group participants do not have to attend UCOP.
8. Consideration might be given to rotating the leadership of a group from meeting-to-meeting.
9. The members of each group will decide what topics and programming they wish to discuss and undertake.
10. The common thread for all groups is to tie everything back into the five basic Unity Principles to guide and model our lives.
11. The groups are designed to be supportive of their members. Relationships and friendships will develop and we will help each other in whatever way possible.
12. The ministerial team and church staff are available to provide support for all groups.
13. Small groups are purposely being launched without a lot of structure and direction. It is likely that with a slight nudge, people with common interests and the right chemistry will come together and decide how they want to explore and discover together. Some may create more structure internally for themselves while others may thrive in a more casual and flexible environment. Either approach is absolutely fine.
14. The groups will also participate in community outreach and community service. The congregation will determine what causes it wishes to support and the small groups will be given the opportunity to join in the outreach/service efforts. Conversely, if a group wants to pursue a different project, it may do so.
15. The ultimate objective for small group participants is simply to live better lives by following a spiritual path to accomplish this.
The next steps to implement the small groups are:
1. Invite certain members of the congregation to help launch each group.
2. The organizers will identify up to as many as five individuals who will be invited to participate.
3. Select a date for the first meeting.
4. Select a location for the first meeting.
5. Complete an information form to be submitted to the communications team so they may fully support the launch of your new group.
6. A member of each group will have the opportunity to make an announcement from the platform that their group has formed and encourage congregants to make contact with the launch leader if they have interest in joining the group.