What do we mean by “Band Together?”
The spiritual landscape of England was changed through the leadership and ministry of John Wesley. One of the ways Wesley led people into a deeper faith and love of God and others was having them form bands, or what we might call small groups. Through bands, people grew in faith together in a safe, nurturing, mutually accountable environment.
To become the kind of disciples Christ has called us to be, it’s important that we relate to one another in far deeper, richer, more accountable ways. Short term studies are wonderful. However, they don’t always provide the growth in relationship with others that can happen when a group is together for a longer period of time. That’s why we’re emphasizing and encouraging BANDING TOGETHER in 2017.
What will banding together look like?
Ideally, bands will form organically rather than being micro-managed or even over-programmed by church staff. We simply want to encourage people to find two to five other people and form a group. The church will provide basic guidelines for your group format so that these are more than a supper club type of group. We can even help resource your group if you would like us to help you find something to read or study together.
While we will continue to offer “easy entry points” for people to come together in smaller settings for growth and learning (i.e. Sunday School classes, mid-week studies, etc.), we would like people to take it upon themselves to begin their own small group bands.
Who do I band with?
John Wesley kept his bands gender specific (all women or all men). Keeping groups gender specific may create a safer environment for sharing, deeper relationship and accountability. Ultimately, we’ll leave that decision up to those who want to start the band. For instance, there may be several couples who want to band together. The beauty of it is that you find the people with whom you want to band and just form a group!
What are some elements that should be a part of a band meeting?
• Time for prayer (Open and close with prayer. You might pray for a specific member’s need, etc.)
• Share how you’ve experienced or witnessed God’s presence or activity in the past week.
• Engage with Scripture in some way. Your group may choose to do a study, or you may have a shorter devotional format. Choose what works best for your group. We do want groups to engage with God’s Word on some level. Let God’s Word be a guide and a light as you grow in faith together.
• Set goals for personal, spiritual growth. Give feedback each week about how it’s going, etc., so the group can help encourage each other.
• Shared leadership in the group keeps everyone involved and engaged. This should be a discussion model and not a teacher-listener model. Change who facilitates each week, but everyone in the group has opportunity to contribute to the discussion.
• Plan to meet together about one to one and a half hours each week.
• Commit to confidentiality in the group. What is said in the group stays in the group.
• Commit to meeting together for at least nine weeks. After that, choose whether you will continue, take a break or stop the group altogether.
• Laugh a lot; eat food if you want; enjoy one another’s company. Remember, we are at our best when we have the love and support of a loving community. So have FUN!
Resourcing Your Group
Parkway Heights is offering a brand new, FREE online resource that we hope will make banding together even easier. With Right Now Media, simply log in, browse and access thousands of media resources much like you would shows on Netflix.
If online media access is not what will best suit your group, or you don’t find what you’re looking for, we are here to help! Contact Susan Eaton by email or by calling 601.544.7873 for assistance.
I want to start a group. What do I do next?
• Find two to five other people with whom to band.
• Let us know about your group by signing up below or by emailing Susan Eaton.