Growth Groups

Why Growth Groups?

God designed us to be in relationship with one another. It is in community—or Growth Groups (small groups)–that people get close enough to know each other, to care, to share, to challenge and support, to …laugh and weep together, …and to grow together (Bilezikian). Much of the essence of true church life is worked out in “small groups” (Schwarz). They are God’s gift to help us become more like Jesus.

Nativity defines growth groups as groups that meet at least six times with a consistent group of people and incorporate a spiritual component. A spiritual component doesn’t have to be Bible study or a devotional, but it could be any activity that helps you and your group grow closer to God.

If you are not in a growth group, we encourage you to join one! You can join an existing group, or request for the church staff to help you get a new one going.

Also, check out other groups related to our seven outreach teams on our ‘SERVE‘ page. Some of these groups, like the LSS Circle (Lutheran Social Service) of the Lutheran Partnerships Outreach Team, are an active group of women who do service projects while supporting one another and enjoying fellowship together.

LOOKING AT THE BIBLE THROUGH MANY LENSES (Wednesday Morning Bible Study)

Many lenses include: imagination, wonder, and reflection. This growth group explores the scriptures by asking questions, looking at current scholarship, imagining life in ancient times, and wondering how the Bible is relevant to life and faith today. Several weeks are spent with a specific book such as Life Lessons from Luke, by Max Lucado; Which Way, Lord: Exploring Life’s Purpose in the Journeys of Paul, by Rob Fuquay; and Introducing the New Testament, by Rev. Anne Robertson. The group is conversational, and laughter is a valued part of the experience. The group meets every Wednesday, from 9:30-11:30 am. All are welcome. Two options are available, Zoom and in person in the Commons.  (Sorry, no snacks at this time.) The facilitator is Pat Hendricks, spiritual director and Nativity’s Coordinator of Vital Aging and Adult Faith Formation. Pat can be reached at bppat127@gmail.com, or 763-221-8149.

CONNECTING ON TUESDAY MORNINGS BOOK GROUP

We meet on Tuesdays from 9:30- 10:35 am and all are welcome! We are thoughtful, curious, and like a good laugh. We meet on Zoom, say hello, discuss our reactions and questions about what we read the previous week, then wrap up with prayer in the last 5 minutes.

Join us–starting June 15–as we read and talk about the book “Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out” by Susan Kuklin (2015). (Available on Amazon for $11.69.) Author and photographer Kuklin focuses on 6 transgender or gender neutral young adults, their lives, choices and families. We expect to discuss the story of one of the young adults each week. This book is for readers age 14-17,  so teen readers jump in!

Our summer meeting schedule: Tuesdays: June 15th and 29th; July 13th and 27th; August 10th and 24th.

We base our meandering book choices on our reactions to the book we have just finished. We began by reading “Dear Church” by Lenny Duncan, and decided we needed to learn more about systemic racism. So then we read “So You Want to Talk about Race” by Ijeoma Oluo, and decided we needed to learn more about listening, so we read “The Listening Life” by Adam S. McHugh. We read a chapter a week, or half a chapter if it’s a long one.  Join us for one book, and help us pick the next one!

To join, or for more information, contact Tori Setterholm at toriaesett@gmail.com.

PRAYER SHAWL

This group is facilitated by Marcy Sorensen. Anyone who knits or crochets is welcome – beginners and experts.  We can even set up new members with yarn and needles.  Our group’s purpose is to knit or crochet blankets for baptisms and prayer shawls for people dealing with difficult life events.  Our meeting consists of a short devotion and then we knit or crochet and have social time. Sometimes we pray over the blankets and shawls as we create them.  Join us and see if it is a good  group for you.  We meet the last Tuesday of the month (except December) from 6:30 – 8:00pm, currently in person at the church. (Note: If you know of someone dealing with a life event to whom you would like to give a shawl, please contact staff member Joanne Griffin at Joanne@nativitychurch.org.)

SATURDAY AT NINE

Co-Facilitated by Jerry Hoffman, a former Pastor at Nativity, and Peder Engebretson, a high school educator, this dynamic group picks a book to discuss and meets weekly for lively conversations related to living out our faith. From the spiritual writings of Richard Rohr to racial issues (Dear Church and Caste), this group tackles a wide variety of topics and uses a participatory, conversational format.  Around 20 individuals participate each week through Zoom from  9 – 10 am on Saturday mornings.  This group is paused for the summer, but will resume on September 11, 2021. For more information contact Jerry Hoffman at jerjo.hoffman@gmail.com or call 763-443-3353.

MENTAL HEALTH CONNECT

Led by Kurt Bachmayer, Lisa Dalke, and Gail Bergsven, this group has a check-in time, spiritual practice, and discusses current and relevant mental health topics and resources. Meets the 1st Thursday of the month.

START OR JOIN A NEW GROUP

If you don’t see an existing group that is a good fit for you, let us know. Perhaps you want to start or join a new group?
Our Growth Groups coordinator, Joanne Griffin, will follow up with you after you fill out the form below. There may be existing groups that are not listed here that may be a good fit. If not, she can help create a new group.

Toolbox of Resources for Growth Groups

Suggested Ground rules for Groups
Here are some suggested ‘ground rules,’ leaders that groups can use to create an inclusive and safe environment (adapted from the Roseville League of Women Voters and several Nativity small group leaders).

For Facilitators:

  • Be Transparent
  • Patient
  • Listen
  • Non-judgmental
  • Break larger groups into smaller groups when necessary
  • Ask probing questions; what questions do the participants want to ask?
  • Host a ‘brave’ space (knowing you can’t control others’ triggers)
  • Understand your space–how much you need and how much you are taking up
  • Give everyone a chance to speak (encourage people to ‘hold up their hands’ on a virtual gathering)
  • Consider doing intros or check-ins at each gathering

For Participants:

  • Share air space and honor the time
  • Speak authentically and listen actively
  • Experience discomfort and know it is a necessary part of the learning
  • You can always pass on answering a question
  • Reserve judgement and assume others have positive intent
  • No put-downs
  • Use ‘I’ statements
  • Acknowledge personal baggage, moving forward with grace
  • Comments stay in group (confidentiality); learning leaves with you
  • Listen with respect
  • One person talks at a time. Do not cut people off from speaking.
  • Speak for yourself and not as a representative of any group of people
  • Be honest
  • It’s OK to disagree
  • Listen from the heart:
    Attentive
    Sincere
    Bearing witness
    Not reactive
    Deep, compassionate listening
  • Speak from the heart:
    From our own true stories
    Share your journey

Online Small Group Essentials:
Making the Most of Your Virtual Community, by Bill Search
www.SmallGroups.com

NEWS & SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES

Joyful Urgency: A Beacon Convening

Nativity has been learning about Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative since November, and some in the congregation have had individual conversations with the Nativity Homelessness Team. As Nativity explores the possibility of joining Beacon as a collaborative member, all are invited to an upcoming Beacon event. The convening will be a great introduction to Beacon’s vision […]

Service for Hope and Healing

Nativity Mental Health Connect in cooperation with Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis invites you to join us for a special Service of Hope and Healing on Tuesday, December 7, from 6:45-8:00 p.m. The days leading up to Christmas can feel complicated. The atmosphere projected all around us expects joy and celebration, but for many of […]

Support the Start Anew Community Holiday Campaign

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Global Outreach: Focus on Madagascar

An informational meeting will be held on December 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Learn about programs designed to help female students in Madagascar and to promote community health education there. We’ll also share future service opportunities with a focus on Madagascar (e.g. making female hygiene kits and packing a shipping container). FYI: This […]

ELCA Good Gifts: A Christmas Gift to Support World Hunger

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Join the Prayer Shawl Group

The Prayer Shawl Group is meeting on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Please join us on November 30, at 6:30 p.m. Our group’s purpose is to knit and/or crochet baptismal blankets and prayer shawls for people dealing with difficult life events. Beginners are always welcome. Instruction and materials are provided. We will meet at […]