Ingomar Methodist: Big Things Expected from Small Groups
LaRussa, Tony, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Like any pastor, the Rev. David Streets loves to see a packed house for Sunday worship at Ingomar United Methodist Church.
But sometimes a crowd, no matter how vibrant, isn't the best place to nurture an individual's spiritual growth.
"We know that any time you have a large group, there are always people who feel they are on the fringe," said Streets, whose latest recruiting effort focuses on creating smaller, not larger, opportunities for prayer and worship.
"Small group ministry is a good way for people to build friendships and grow together spiritually, which is not as easy to do when dealing with a large number of people."
Streets said having church members meet in small groups is not meant to replace larger services, but rather to enhance what is already being offered.
In the coming weeks, Ingomar Church will begin training people to head small groups that will meet to discuss biblical issues and other topics.
Kim Levings, vice president of the Vista, Calif.-based company Outreach Inc., which supplies churches with educational and marketing materials, said there is a growing interest nationwide in small group ministry.
"More and more churches around the country are discovering that it is very easy for people to bounce in and out of church if they are not regularly involved in small group meetings," she said.
"Small groups are a great way to reach out to people who are not engaged or may not even know how they can get involved."
One of Outreach's latest offerings is the book and accompanying resource material titled "Do Something! Make Your Life Count," by former NFL player the Rev. Miles McPherson, who pastors the 12,000- member The Rock Church in San Diego.
Streets sees recruiting people to meet in small groups as a renewal of a ministry that has its roots in early Christianity.
"Jesus functioned in small groups when he was with the apostles," said Streets, pastor of the 1,800-member congregation for the past 3 1/2 years. …