Growth Groups are what their name indicates, opportunities for disciples of Jesus Christ to grow. The Bayside congregation uses the home-based small group environment to facilitate the second step (connect —GROW—serve) in the adult track of the church’s Discipleship Path. After our adults have the blessing of connecting in our Sunday morning assembly, the next step is to invest more intently and intimately in their own growth and in the growth of others by means of these Growth Groups.
Groups of five to fifteen believers meet in homes for application of God’s word, mutual care, and a challenge to live one’s faith out in service. These groups meet primarily on Sunday evenings for 60 to 90 minutes. Each group discusses the same subject matter, the Sunday sermon, but may have a very different feel and make-up depending on who populates the group. Members and guests are free to attend the group of their choosing. No effort is made to artificially create demographically specific groups. Issues such as child-care, meals, and host home rotation are decided by the group.
Ideally each group has a facilitator and co-facilitator to introduce and guide the discussion, as well as lead the group in other member care and service endeavors. These facilitators submit to six weeks of training and commit to an active role in their group for the duration of the session.
Home hosts for these groups may be facilitators or other Growth Group participants. Groups may consistently meet in one home or move in a rotation of homes. If a group out-grows its host’s home or consistently exceeds fifteen participants, the group will be expected to multiply. The co-facilitator of the existing group will establish another location and adopt those who wish to be a part of the new upstart.
In a year’s time the church typically offers three Growth Group sessions (Winter/Spring, Summer, Fall). Sessions will run from seven to fifteen weeks with periodic breaks for holidays and special programming offered by the church. There is also a multi-week break between sessions to allow for family travel schedules and the retooling of the ministry.