Small groups, also known as home or cell groups, meet outside of the main services times, often in someone's home. They typically contain between six and 12 people and are led by one of the congregation, a lay leader, or the vicar.
These smaller groups meet together to go deeper in Christian fellowship and Bible study during the week. This way small groups can connect their study and prayer time together with others. 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.
Have a look below for some suggestions for great small group resources.
Come and See
Come and See is the Diocese's Lent course for small groups and individuals. Each year we look at a new topic from the Bible and explore its implications for everyday faith. Past years have included themes such as the Lord's Prayer and the Creed and in 2023 we will be looking at the Beatitudes!
Come and See is designed to be accessible to both practicing Christians and those new to faith through an approach based on reflection and questioning exploration. Each small group sessions includes a video reflection from Bishop Steven, a reading from Scripture and space for participants to wonder and to question what it means to practice Christian faith within our daily lives.
There is also a wealth of other tie-in material available for young people, children and families as well as resources for use in schools. Click here to find out more and register for Come and See.
The Firepit (Encouraging One Another)
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 great to use at the beginning of a new small group by sharing 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.
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 practices require little planning or preparation, but can have a beneficial effect on wellbeing, flourishing and good mental health.
Resources from Bishop Steven
Bishop Steven has produced a range of small group courses exploring different themes and free podcasts. Click the titles below to read more about each course.
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).
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.
Bishop 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'.
Other Small Group Courses
Of course, there are many discipleship resources available for small groups. Here are just a few for you to explore:
LICC Growing on the Frontline
Growing on the Frontline
is an eight-session small group course from LICC
that helps people to become more Christ-like within their everyday contexts, with the aim of transforming the places we live and the people we love, and to enable us to live authentically for Jesus.
LICC Fruitfulness on the Frontline
Fruitfulness on the Frontline
is a six-session small group course from LICC
that enables people to notice God at work in and through their lives and encourages them to become workers for God in their everyday context.
is a holistic model that provides small group sessions, individual resources and church resources. It has a focus on reflection on personal discipleship to aid participants as they grow in their relationship with Jesus.
is an increasingly popular new course from St Martin-in-the-Fields that describes itself as 'an invitation to invest in becoming the type of person who knows how to be with yourself, others, the world around us and through this to be with God. It is an invitation to discover faith in the context of discovering friendship.'
is an eight-session course with a focus on the love of Christ. It follows Paul's letter to the Corinthians and involves real-life stories and brand new documentary films that build on the weekly Bible readings.
The Bible Project
is a growing website based in America which provides exceptional audio-visual Biblical learning resources. It is mostly aimed at personal use by people seeking to grow their knowledge and understanding of Scripture but many of the resources can be downloaded
and used within a small group.
The Bible Society
offer a huge array of resources for individuals and groups to engage with Scripture including podcasts, books, daily reflections, videos, and maps of the Holy Land. Their very popular eight-part Bible Course
which looks at the whole story of the Bible is available for individual and small group use.
Five Steps to Faith
Five Steps to Faith
is an five-part course from Bible in Brief
that introduces the basic story of the Christian faith, accessible to both children and adults new to Christian faith or preparing for Baptism/Confirmation.
is an six-part video based course for those exploring faith from Church Army.
It's particular strength is the audio-visual centre of each session which can engage with those who prefer a less traditional small group structure.
contains a wealth of material that seeks to make the Bible more accessible. There are many courses on different books and stories and characters from the Bible such as the Sermon on the Mount, Christmas, Mary Magdelen etc.
Talking Jesus involves six video-based sessions and a coursebook with a special focus on evangelism. It is great for encouraging participants to be more confident in sharing their everyday faith.
is produced by the Church of England. It's a ten-week course focusing on evangelism and can be used in tandem with a 50-day series of daily reflections which allows individuals to explore what it means to be a witness and to share faith.