Many churches have small groups, also known as home or cell groups.
A small group is part of the church congregation, and it's a great way to go deeper in Christian fellowship and Bible study during the week.
Groups are typically between six and 12 people, and led by one of the congregation who is often supported by the vicar and other lay leaders in the church. This way small groups can connect their study and prayer time with what's going on across the parish.
The format varies from group to group and church to church, but the weekly or fortnightly meetings often consist of a meal together, worship and prayer, and a Bible study. If you're not part of a home group yet, find out what's on offer at your church.
Small groups will often undertake a short course of study together. There are several resources available from the diocese:
Come and See
Come and See takes place each Lent. This year Come and See is based around the Lord’s Prayer. The resources are geared to first time enquirers and those who have been part of the Church for many years, so it's a great way for a small group to explore and renew the foundations of faith. Find out more here.
Exploring the Beatitudes
What does it mean to be the Church of the Beatitudes: contemplative, compassionate and courageous for the sake of God’s world? This three-session course helps small groups to explore a vital question for the church today.
A three-session course looking at one of the most powerful stories in the Gospels, the raising of Lazarus. Small group members read a daily reflection and then discuss and pray through the reflections when they meet.
Alive in Christ
Based on Paul's letter to Colossians, a letter addressed to the smallest, least important town of any New Testament letter, this short course explores what it means to live as a Christian disciple and what it means to be the Church.
Principles of Deep Water Fishing
This four-session resource for small groups helps member to explore more deeply what it means to be a Christ-like Church for the sake of God's world by reflecting on the principles of Christian mission in Luke and Acts.
Living is Christ, Dying is Gain
A four-session course designed to assist small groups to navigate the effects of the pandemic. Paul called the Philippians out of lockdown to return to Christ as the centre and the pattern of their faith. How does that same call apply to us?
Through nine reflections, Bishop Steven examines what these ‘comfortable words’ have to say to us as we learn to live with COVID-19. The book, which is published by BRF, is based on the Comfortable Words podcast (see below).
Other free resources from the Diocese of Oxford
Many diocesan resources are suitable for use in a small group setting. The contemplative toolkit sheets provide an invaluable way to slow down and reflect in these busy times. Sheets for each of the five contemplative toolkit practices can be downloaded free of charge from the website
The Firepit is way of creating the space for a small group to talk about daily life and sharing issues about everyday faith. Some groups have been meeting online using the Firepit model to provide fellowship, encouragement, support and accountability. Firepits work for established groups but are also a great way to use at the beginning of a new small group.
Firepits (PDF doc)Share stories of how God is active and present and working for good in your lives. Download and print out this leaflet for each person in a Firepit.
Contemplative toolkit practices (PDF documents)The practices require little planning or preparation, but can have a beneficial effect on wellbeing, flourishing and good mental health.
Dwelling in the WordDwelling in the Word is a process that many people in the diocese are using to listen to scripture, each other and God.
Audio teachingBishop Steven's podcasts are free to download and, at around 15 minutes per episode, are ideal for listening to in a small group setting. Find each series on his website, or soundcloud, as audio you can play from any computer. If you prefer podcasts, you'll find each series on Spotify, on iTunes or wherever you subscribe; just search 'Bishop Steven Croft'.
Contemplative, compassionate & courageous resourcesYou'll find web content, a written reflection and film in the vision and values section of this website; all are suitable for a three-session exploration of what it means to become more contemplative, more compassionate and more courageous.
Care for CreationFour short films from Bishop Olivia about the environment and how we understand our relationship to the created world. Each film introduces an idea related to our faith and offers some questions for small groups to ponder.
Episode 1: Incarnation | Episode 2: Sin and salvation | Epsiode 3: Heart knowledge | Episode 4: A Kairos moment
Other discipleship courses
Of course, there are many discipleship resources available for small groups. Here are just a few for you to explore: