Old and new friends from across Fairfield County gathered in New Canaan in early March for Small: The Next Big Thing.  The evening of dinner and dialogue celebrated Twelve: A Foundation for Small Group Ministry, and cast vision for how to include the spiritual seeker in small groups.  It was a milestone event in the life of Twelve‘s ministry, the beneficiary of spirited and social connection.

Leaders and friends from 5 communities, representing participants in over 60 small groups and sponsoring churches, heard “the next big thing” as presented and experienced by Fred Sievert and Dr. Joanne Swenson.  The audience was challenged by questions posed and explored at each table, with each table’s dialogue then summarized and shared with all attendees.

  • Is your neighborhood a potential zone for building spiritual community?
  • In your community do people gather for values-based activities, like gardening, hiking, meditation? How might such activity create spiritual community?
  • Think about all the Ones in your life – single, new to town, young. What spiritual community welcomes these Ones?
  • If you could dispense with 2000 years of tradition, how would you redesign Sunday worship to build spiritual community?

The Sevens Gap

You can hear a lot of statistics about church decline, but we are struck by some troubling statistics — that all exhibit “seven” (odd and weirdly biblical). Joanne Swenson shared these statistics at “Small: The Next Big Thing.” Read More

Ones, Nones & Dones

We often hear about “the unchurched.”  In our “Next Big Thing” discussions, we segmented the unchurched into three distinct groups, to think about why they are not attending church, and if small groups could reach them. Read More

Small Groups Version 12.0

It may seem simple to welcome the unchurched into small groups, but, in fact, it’s challenging.  Small groups, since the church’s origins, were distinct communities of the most devout – missionary teams, brotherhoods of monks, orders of sisters,  scholarly communities.  Read More

Social group or Small Group?

What is the difference between a social gathering of church friends, and a small group meeting? At our “Next Big Thing” gathering, participants discussed this crucial difference. Both are effective pathways into spiritual community for seekers.  But they are distinctive forms of community.  This can be captured in 5 C’s. Read More

The Surprising Power of the Outsider

Fred Sievert has been pondering what sparks powerful dialogue about faith. Speaking to those gathered at “Small: The Next Big Thing,” Fred recounted experiences in public speaking, teaching, twittering and posting to his website,”God Revealed” moments.  Since retiring as President of New York Life… Read More