Finding Your Group

We will help you with finding members for your group.  We encourage you to take time with your spouse to discuss first what type of group you are looking for.

Questions to think about with your spouse:

1.     What do my spouse and I want to get out of our small group (social, friendships, serious Bible study)?

2.     What type of group would we both feel comfortable with (serious or more laidback, personality preferences)?

3.     Do we want to form a group with couples we already know from church (i.e. friends, relatives)?

4.     Do we want to form a group with couples we don’t know yet, but would like to?

5.     Do we want to form a group with couples at a similar stage in life?

6.     Do we want to form a group with couples who live close to us?

7.     Do we want to help lead a group or just be part of a group that fits our goals?

8.     How long would we like to be part of a small group (1 year or ongoing)?

Components & Guidelines:

Number of couples – Ideally 4-6 couples (including you and your spouse) is the sufficient size for a small group.  Less than 4 might be subject to more cancellations and more than 6 makes it more difficult for spaces purposes.

Type of group – You want to find a group that will be fit you and your spouse’s goals and preferences.  It tends to be easier if your group is made up of couples at similar stages in their relationships.  The more the group has in common, the easier it will be for people to identify with one another and open up and share.  However, if everyone is at the same stage, your group might not experience as many differing perceptions or fresh viewpoints.

Group leaders – It is important that you have 1-2 couples who are designed as the leaders of your group.  The purpose of group leaders is to plan the sessions, facilitate the sessions and organize the schedule.  It is fine to have two leaders who aren’t a couple (two women leading the group).  You might decide as couples you want to share responsibilities for leading/facilitating the sessions, but the group leaders are the ones who are responsible for your group overall.

Mentor couple – Each small group will have a Couples in Christ mentor couple to help them get started and to support them throughout their time together.

Setting for group – Groups will meet in the couple’s homes for the monthly meetings.  Inviting couples into your home is easier and friendlier than trying to meet at church or another public place.  Your home tends to be a place where everyone can be comfortable and hear each other.  Rotating to different member’s homes for the sessions works well as to not overwhelm one couple to host all the time.

Overall schedule – Group members need to commit for at least a year.  Each group can decide what their overall schedule for the year looks like.  We encourage each group to meet monthly for at least 9 of the 12 months (might want to take the summer months off).  Another component we highly recommend is to schedule a yearly retreat for the couples to have more time together to go deeper into the lessons as well as to socialize.  The retreat could be scheduled at the end of your time together to wrap up the year and plan for another year.  Additional ideas for the group include a planning a family outing, attending a marriage conference and/or couple activities at church together and doing a service project.

Time schedule – Couples in Christ small groups make a monthly commitment for 2 hours.  (Homework for couples is done outside of the meeting on their own time which typically is another hour each month.) When the group has formed, the group determines the day of the week and specific time for meeting.  It tends to work best if your group can figure out a repeating time for scheduling purposes.  For example, we tend to meet the first Sunday night of the month from 7-8:30pm.  We schedule in social time up to ½ hour before the meeting and ½ hour after the meeting.  The intent of this “extra time” is to allow couples the time to informally socialize when it works best in their schedule and it doesn’t interfere with the meeting time.

Resources – There are a variety of marriage resources that are Christian and/or Catholic you can use to for your groups.  We suggest starting out the first year with the HomeBuilders Couples Series (Go to Resources for more suggestions).  This series is designed to strengthen marriages and develop supportive relationships with other couples.  You can choose from a variety of topics from the series and it has a great, easy-to-use study guide for both the facilitators and small group members.  Contact the coordinators or your mentor couple for other ideas/resources.

Refreshments – Many groups choose to serve simple refreshments to help create an atmosphere of fellowship.  If you plan on doing this, think about how you can keep it simple.  Serve 1-2 things with drink options during the social time of your meeting (either before or after).  The host for each meeting can be responsible for providing refreshments or you can have a sign-up sheet.

Child care – For many couples this is an important question to consider.  Options include:

  • Arrange babysitting for all children in one house and hold the meeting at the same time (convenient, but can be very distracting for all involved).
  • Each couple arranges their own babysitting.

We have found that having the children not in the house when you are holding the meeting works best, unless your children are older and able to respect your privacy.

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