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 10:00-11:30 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 read, discuss and learn. Readers of all ages are welcome! We discuss the book and close with prayer.

We meet on Tuesdays (see below for specific dates) from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. via Zoom, occasionally in person. The group meets the second and fourth Tuesdays.

Current Book:
Join us as we read and talk about ROOTED & RISING: VOICES OF COURAGE IN A TIME OF CLIMATE CRISIS (2019) by Leah D. Shade and Margaret Bullit-Jonas.

Each topical section has three essays by leaders from various religious traditions (Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Native American, Unitarian, Quaker) as well as “Questions to Ponder and a Spiritual Practice.”

Dates:
February: 8, 22 via Zoom
March: 8, 22 via Zoom
April: 12, 26 via Zoom
May: 10, 24 via Zoom

Previous books this group has chosen:
TATOOS ON THE HEART: THE POWER OF BOUNDLESS COMPASSION by Gregory Boyle
BOARDING SCHOOL SEASONS: AMERICAN INDIAN FAMILIES 1900-1940 by Brenda J. Child
BEYOND MAGENTA: TRANSGENDER TEENS SPEAK OUT by Susan Kuklin
THE LISTENING LIFE by Adam S. McHugh
SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE by Ijeoma Oluo
DEAR CHURCH by Lenny Duncan

Want more information or to join our Zoom sessions? Contact Paula Biessener at paulabgolfer@icloud.com.

THURSDAY MORNING BOOK CONVERSATIONS

This Thursday morning book group meets every Thursday via Zoom from 9:30-11:00 a.m. We study contemporary books on topics that challenge and inform our lives as followers of Jesus. All are welcome. For more information or for the Zoom link, contact Julie Bonde at madjules@gmail.com or (612) 716-5538.

GG-Thursday Morning Book Conversations

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.

Current Book:

Join us as we discuss WELCOMING AND AFFIRMING: A GUIDE TO SUPPORTING AND WORKING WITH LGBTQ+ CHRISTIAN YOUTH by Leah Finke.

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

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Prayer Shawl Meeting on Aug. 29th

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Grief Support Series Begins in September

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Bluegrass Festival & Fundraiser for Mental Health Connect

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