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A Small Group is a home fellowship made up of 10-16 people who meet weekly to share, study and support one another. A trained leader and host lead each group. An average meeting lasts for an hour and a half, followed by light refreshments.
Here at New Life Church, Small Groups are the hub of our ministry. They’re the place where the real ministry of the church takes place as we study God’s Word, while supporting and sharing our lives with one another. We believe that meeting together on a regular basis is time well spent. Our goal each year is to have at least 80% of our adults involved on a weekly basis.
Small Groups meet on various nights of the week in homes throughout Southern Maine and beyond. Some groups meet at the church as well. Most evening groups meet 6:30-8:30 pm. The daytime groups meeting times vary.
Each Small Group session lasts 9 to 11 weeks. We have Fall, Winter & Spring sessions. At the end of each session, you will have the choice of staying in the same group, trying a new group or even taking a break. Most groups stay together throughout the entire year. Small Groups do not meet June through August.
Joining a Small Group requires a 9 to 11 week commitment to attend weekly meetings and do the homework ahead of time. Obviously, allowances are made for sickness, vacation, work conflicts and other special events, but not much more. This commitment is the key to a strong Small Group. You have the first three weeks to attend the group to make sure it’s a good fit for you.
Most of the studies are based on the previous weekend’s message. These “sermon-based” Small Groups are built on what we call a “Lecture-Lab” model. Imagine the weekend message as a lecture on Christian living, and the Small Group as a lab where you get to roll up your sleeves and discuss how the weekend’s message works in real life. Each week there will be a series of Bible passages and questions on the back of the sermon note sheet to study before the meeting. It will usually take 30 minutes per week to complete the homework.
Few things in life are free and Small Groups are no exception! The cost of Small Groups is the cost of commitment. During the first meeting, each group will complete a “covenant” together. This simple form helps each group discuss their priorities and commitment. Part of that commitment is the promise to attend each week and to complete the homework as well as to attend the quarterly social and do one service project for the year. You have the first three weeks to decide if your group is a good fit for you.
When you join a Small Group, you’re promising to attend and be prepared each week. It’s this commitment that makes Small Groups work. We realize it’s a big commitment, but it only lasts for 9 – 11 weeks. At the end of each quarter, you have the choice of recommitting for another quarter, trying a new group, or taking a break from Small Groups altogether.
Small Groups are for adults only. (Exceptions can be made for nursing newborns, up to six months.) We leave it up to each family to work out their own child care. Sometimes it works best for families to share a sitter or to swap child care with another family who’s Small Group meets on a different evening. We have child care available for our Sunday Night Family Groups. There are 3 groups that meet on Marriage, Parenting, and Finances. These groups meet from 3:30-5:30pm on Sunday nights.
When selecting a group, we strongly recommend you choose a group based on its leader-host team, rather than its location. Over the years, we’ve found that groups do best when members share a common station-in-life and other interests with their leaders, hosts, and other group members. In the end, you’ll find it’s worth the drive!
If you have any questions (especially if you are new to New Life Church), please don’t hesitate to call the church, and we will gladly assist you. Keep in mind that it might take some time to find the perfect Small group, but you will know that it’s worth the wait!
We offer sign-ups for Small Groups during the weekend services before each of our Small Group Sessions begin. There are Small Group Staff members and pastors available at the sign-up booths to help you choose a group and answer any questions. During our sign-up weekends we have Small Group Directories available with information on the groups that are offered. There are two sign-up weekends before the beginning of our Fall Session in September, and two sign-up weekends before our Winter Session in January and our Spring Session in April. Also, you can call the Small Group office at any time to speak to the Small Group pastor who can assist you in finding and signing up for a group, or answer any questions. Call 207-284-4840.
From the very first week that someone attends New Life, we want them to know that there is a place for them to develop friendships and grow spiritually.
Every person at New Life should begin by attending Discover 101. Here you will learn who we are, what is expected of our members, how New Life operates, and where you fit in the church. This is an essential step that all people should take, whether you are a long time member or new to New Life.
The next step is simple, find a small group that you wish to attend and sign up today. For some this is a risky step, but you must overcome your fears and take the plunge into developing friendships. There are a wide variety of groups to choose from, but if you don’t know where to start we are here to help. Contact the church office and we will point you in the right direction.
The next step is the 12 week course for men and women called Encounter – The Journey to Freedom. This group is designed to take men and women down the pathway of freedom in Christ. Once completed, there will be follow-up groups you can attend with the purpose of maintaining the friendships you have made and further deepening your relationship with God.
Once you have completed Encounter we encourage you to do 2 things:
1 – Find an area of ministry where you can serve (your Encounter Small Group leader will help find the place that is right for you).
2 – Continue to be engaged in a small group of your choice.
We pray that as you step into this journey you will go deeper than ever before in your relationship with Christ.