Growth Groups at St Mary's
Being a Christian means being a part of the body of Christ - the church; both locally and globally. Since St Mary's Church is a large church, it is sometimes difficult for people to feel they belong or to find their place. That's why we encourage everyone to be involved in a Growth Group.
The Growth Groups at St Mary's are the best way we can get to know each other, care for each other and encourage one another to grow in our love for Jesus. We have both daytime and evening groups. We accept responsibility for our own well-being by being part of a small group in this way.
We currently have about 30 groups. There are usually around 10 people in each group and each is broadly aligned to a congregation. This helps us to keep in touch with each other on Sunday and during the week.
Growth Groups help us to...
'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.' (Colossians 3:16)
- Growing in our love for God and one another as we learn from God's Word together - which is why Bible study plays a key part in the groups. The groups follow the same study materials, with opportunities for individual group choice too.
- Growing as we learn more what it means to follow Christ and helping one another to grow in Christ-likeness. Growth Groups should be an ideal environment for this, as we help one another apply what we are learning.
- Growing in prayer with others - as well as praying within groups, the groups are encouraged to come along together to our family prayer time at the St Mary's Evening every second Thursday of the month.
'Carry each other's burdens and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ' (Galatians 6:2)
- Helping others to keep growing and going as Christians, not simply providing emotional and practical help - although this is included too.
- Resolving to make Growth Group a personal priority (at whatever level possible) - so we let others know when we cannot be there, pass on prayer requests etc.
- Supporting one another practically as needs arise within the group. The members of each group are together responsible for the pastoral care of the group - we are called to care for one another, so that all initiative for care is not left with the group leaders.
'Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.' (1 Peter 4:10)
- Small groups are an excellent place to learn how to serve, and start to develop the gifts which God has given us to serve others.
- 'Share with God's people who are in need. Practise hospitality' (Romans 12:13). Groups often meet for meals and social events together throughout the year.
- Recognising that our small groups are a place for serving helps us to see that we are not serving simply our own small group, but are also part of a larger church family, the body of Christ.