Earlier this month, the Small Groups Network has spent time discussing the
priniciples and approaches taken from Kim Engelmann's book - Shaping small groups"">Soul-shaping Small Groups.
The book and our forum discussions have made me reflect on the
need for groups and individuals to create space for God to be heard and
to work in our lives. All of us need to experience the presence of God
whether its on our own or in community. What does that look like?
Engelmann, serves the church well, with what she has presented in her
Here are some of the highlights from both the book and conversations with small group practioners.
- Too often we fill our times together with words and noise, rather than intentional silence in order to hear from God. Is there intentional
space for God to act and speak?
- The iniative of "inviting" God to be in our presence is to affirm and expect God to be and do. This addresses a healthy dependence on God.
- Contemplative spiritual excercises complement the learning styles we often use in a small group context.
- Need to have a wholistic appraoch to doctrine, prayer, Scripture and disciplines
- We are uncomfortable with silence. It is counter cultural to the activities and behaviours in our society including our interactions with
- There is risk in a group setting taken when we are asking God to show up in way that we can't control. This is faith-building and
- Soul-shaping approaches & excercises need to be modelled, as most leaders and groups shy away from the untried.
If you lead small groups, I highly recommend you read this book. The main portion of the book gives her well-written treatise. The last
portion has practical excercises that most groups could practice quite