Listen to the Spirit… adapt as needed…
stay longer where you are drawn…
“Our Community is made up of Christians: men and women, adults and youth, of all social conditions who want to follow Jesus Christ more closely and work with him for the building of the Kingdom.” – CLC General Principles #4
Suggested Song: You Invite Me In by Meredith Andrews
Prayer begins where we are, as we are. Let us take some time to be present and aware of ourselves, our bodies, our breathing, our state of mind, our heart, our spirit … Let us become more aware of God …
Lord, thank you for gathering us today to meet and explore our hopes of growing together. Help us to create a warm and inviting space to befriend, listen and share with one another.
Jesus’ first disciples were asked, “What are you looking for?” (Jn 1:38) Help us to discover what we are looking for as we come together to form this group. May we encounter you as we experience one another. Amen.
During the meeting, let us pay attention to what is going on within each of us; let us notice various feelings and movements of the Spirit that flow through us.
Normally in a CLC meeting, the check-in portion is a brief sharing about how we are each doing physically, emotionally, and spiritually as we come to our meeting. Since this is our first meeting, we will use it as an introduction and sharing of hopes for this group. Each of us are invited to share:
- Basic facts about myself, including something not many people in the group may know.
- Where do I stand with God? (Please describe a recent experience of grace if you are comfortable.)
- What do I hope or desire from this group?
This portion usually includes the “heart” of the meeting: an opportunity for extended prayer and sharing, as well as excerpts from spiritual reading or Scripture. Since this is the first meeting, it will be used tonight as an extension of the “check in” and setting the foundation for the new group. If needed, include an icebreaker to aid introductions. Good icebreakers give everyone a chance to get to know one another. Here is an example below:
What’s on Your Bucket List?
Use this icebreaker to launch a discussion on priorities in life, whether our plans for life reflect God’s plans, or what it means to establish and achieve goals.
Materials: Clean Bucket, Sheets of Paper, Scissors, and Pens or Pencils.
- Before your group meets, cut the sheets of paper into smaller slips. You will need three slips for each person in your group.
- Give group members the slips of paper and pens or pencils.
- Explain that you would like everyone to identify three items that would be on his or her bucket list – the list of goals and dreams they would like to achieve before they die – and write each one on a separate slip of paper. They could include places they would like to visit, goals they would like to accomplish, people they would like to meet, and adventures they would like to have.
- Explain that in a few minutes, you will randomly read some of these bucket-list items and see if the rest of the group can guess who wrote them. Collect the slips of paper in the bucket once everyone has finished writing.
- Randomly select one slip of paper from the bucket, read it, and have the group guess who wrote it. If time permits, read enough slips to represent two or three bucket list items for each person in your group.
Living out the CLC Way of Life
Share a copy of the handout “Living Out the CLC Way of Life”. Without feeling pressured to make any decision tonight, invite everyone to take the page home to read and pray with so that each person can decide whether CLC is right for him or her.
We all know that regular attendance is vital to the growth of any group or community. Recall in that first encounter with Jesus in John’s Gospel, the disciples came and saw, and stayed for a while (Jn 1:38-40). Let us try out this group for 4-5 meetings. Then each of us will consider making a commitment to stay with the group for at least 6 months. What do you all think of this? Leave some time for questions, comments, or concerns regarding what the group and the upcoming meetings.
Listening and Sharing
This part of the meeting has already been incorporated in the previous portions. Normally it is an opportunity for each person to share how he or she was moved or affected during the Focus Activity.
Thank you everyone for sharing and listening. We now have an opportunity to listen deeper and reflect to the group what we have been hearing during this meeting. We are going to take a minute of silence. Let us pay attention to what is taking place within each of us and among us. One of these questions may help:
- How have you been feeling throughout the meeting? Comfortable? Anxious? Curious?
- Were you touched or moved by any sharing? How so?
- What is remaining with you as you leave the meeting?
Thank you to the people who hosted the meeting. Thank you everyone for being present and participating. Let us pray for one another and for any special intentions that may have surfaced through our conversation tonight.
Agree on a schedule of meetings (once every two weeks is ideal). Determine the date, time, and location of the next meeting. If the group would like to rotate facilitation of the meetings, then determine who will lead the next meeting and what support they will need in planning.
Pass out the CLC Brochure to anyone who has not received one.
If time permits, invite people to offer petitions out loud, then conclude with something like:
Dear God, thank you for gathering us together, for being present and helping us create a warm and inviting atmosphere. You know our hopes and longings for the group. Help us to continue be open to you and one another as we are being formed as a group. May we go in peace, in your grace, in your love, in the company of Jesus Christ Our Brother, Lord, and Savior. Amen.