Faith Sharing in Community
Leads to Mission
The Five Essential Elements
Prayer is the foundation of our Christian life and for that reason we both begin and end our small Christian community gatherings with set times for prayer. Just as the leader is encouraged to prayerfully prepare before the meeting, so too, the leader is urged to encourage the small community members to pray in preparation.
At a small community meeting, a passage from sacred Scripture is read. Members listen attentively to hear what God is saying at this moment in their lives. They have prepared by reading the scripture and the commentary beforehand. Now they move to a deeper level of learning by connecting the Scripture with their lives.
The heart of small Christian community meetings is faith sharing. Faith sharing is sharing some facet of one’s relationship with God or connecting a personal event with a passage of Scripture or an aspect of our Christian faith.
As small community members share and get to know one another, relationships naturally form and people begin to support one another in prayer as well as in other ways. Whether it is support through a crisis or an ongoing support of knowing there are others who share your desire to live the Christian life.
In his Letter, St. James reminds us to “be doers of the Word and not merely hearers who deceive themselves” (1:22). As a response to the Word of God and the shared word among the small community members, there is always an invitation to respond. Ideally the response ought to flow from the Word and the sharing. Action does not necessarily mean adding on “something else.” It means following God’s call to live our faith. Through the faith-sharing experience, communities grow in their awareness of their own gifts and in their ability to put them at the service of the Mission in a variety of ways.
Dynamic small Christian Communities
As a small group grows in living out the five essential elements of small Christian communities, it becomes a living witness to the Word of God. By God’s grace as members incorporate these elements in their lives and, therefore, in the life of the community, they may truly come to be called a small Christian community on mission with Christ in the world.