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Made for Mission: Transforming Lives Through Small Groups

Our lives, with all the complexities and challenges, gain true meaning and purpose when we answer the call to follow Jesus and enter into a personal relationship with Him. He enters our lives, reveals God’s amazing love, and transforms us into who we are made to be as His disciples. This transformation is not a solitary event but ongoing throughout our lives and is meant to be shared. We are made for mission, called as disciples to go and make disciples. We can’t do this alone. We need one another!

Jesus, present in the Eucharist, invites us to respond both internally and externally. Our “Amen” is our yes to follow Him and participate in His Body, the Church. At every Mass, we are sent forth in peace to announce the Gospel by our lives. As Eucharistic people, we recognize the need for relationship with one another in our walk with Christ beyond the Mass. In small groups, life in Christ happens through spiritual friends who encourage and pray for one another to take necessary steps on the mission of love.

Jesus set it all up for us with His close disciples, and it’s not complicated: invite, show up, believe in the call, and share it with others. Whether they gathered on a mountain, on the shores of the sea, or in the Upper Room, they prayed, shared faith, and worked together, forming bonds of friendship rooted in God’s love. The disciples could not contain the transforming love they experienced and wanted the whole world to know it, so they stepped out of their comfort zones to share the Good News. They multiplied quickly amid all the hardships and persecutions that came their way. Jesus laid down His life for His friends, empowering them to lay down their lives for the growth of the Gospel.

Genuine discipleship requires us to share our lives together. At St. Columba, small groups began several years ago as the leading step on the journey of discipleship. Through inspiring homilies and personal invitations, they have multiplied with more people joining the journey. We now have twenty active groups of people engaged from every age and stage in life. Diverse groups have emerged - seasonal, life-stage, shared interests, sacraments, and neighborhoods. Groups meet weekly or bi-weekly over a snack or a meal in homes, coffee shops, parks, classrooms, and the parish center. Through intentional prayer, study, and personal sharing, we discover true purpose and accompany one another as friends on the journey. Several parishioners have stepped up this Lent to lead new groups in a parish-wide study. Whether they are new or have been participating in small groups for a while, they are taking the next step to share their gifts with others for the growth of the Gospel.

We encourage all people to join a group, or start their own. This can be challenging in our busy world; it requires realigning our priorities and creating time for ourselves and space for God, but the graces far outweigh anything. The parish provides formation support to help anyone get started and beyond. Over the years, we’ve experienced transformation in the life of our parish with more active participation at Mass, deeper involvement in parish life and ministries, and a growing commitment of parents to form their children in faith as primary educators. Most of all, people are walking more closely with Christ and feeling equipped to share the mission of the Gospel in word and loving service as His Body now on earth.

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

By Julie Romero, Faith Formation Director, St. Columba Catholic Church, Durango

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