Spiritual encouragement through small groups

| August 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

“Encourage yourselves daily while it is still ‘today’…” (Heb 3:13). When spiritual leadership is a robust, encouraging presence in the household, the faith tends to resonate and stick in multi-fold fashion in the heart of the family. As a result, evangelization, prayer and catechesis manifest both within and outside the home, giving sound reasons why the family is such a vital unit of society.

It provides an example of virtuous Christian living in faith, hope and charity to others. A family that witnesses its domestic, faith-based fellowship to neighbors, friends, its parish and the greater community ignites others to follow their lead in the virtues. The Holy Family, the first domestic Church, brought the answer to everlasting life into the world — as a small group.

Small groups are gaining traction nowadays — somewhat by restriction — but mostly by the need for communal relationships on a safe pod with trusting friends. To thrive, people need friendships. While the cautious, sensitive environment in which we live today can dampen our spirits at times, personal engagement via small group activities provides an encouraging response that strengthens its participants in striving for holiness. Christian fellowship is personal, prayerful and active — which makes engaging regularly in fellowship with others in small groups so powerful. By encouraging each other via a common end in mind — eternal life in friendship with Christ — we work to better imitate Jesus in spreading the Good News.

Manifesting a life of faith does not require a major pep rally. After Pentecost — where 3,000 were evangelized and subsequently baptized by the Apostles — spreading and sharing the faith was practically all about engaging others in small groups. A more personal approach still works most effectively today. Christ knew that people who create common bonds of fellowship become stronger. That is the premise behind the discipline within the Catholic Watchmen movement that asks men to engage regularly in small groups for encouragement and strength. “Iron sharpens iron, like one man sharpens another” (Prv 27:17). All disciplines of the initiative are meant to be a dynamic marque inside the hearts of men (visit the Catholic Watchmen website for daily, weekly, monthly disciplines).

Building fraternity and evangelizing men in regular group fellowship is the anchor of the movement. It makes men better spiritual protectors, providers and leaders at home.

Research shows that when men deem to be better spiritual fathers on the home front, it complements the faith-driven efforts of those with whom they live. Small group fellowship via Watchmen disciplines provides encouragement and accountability, helping men be better men — something we all want to improve upon. This is the qualitative dimension of the Christian friendship that reaches beyond data sets. Through trusting relationships, men need to hear other men’s struggles and testimonies on how Christ has impacted their lives. This close and personal experience is the first step in evangelization. Families can truly benefit and flourish in holiness as men become more accountable and step up to be spiritual leaders. When families flourish, neighborhoods, parishes, workplaces and societies flourish. And that’s a great reason to start up or join a small group today!

“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of seeds, but …” (Mt 13:31).

Deacon Bird ministers at St. Joseph in Rosemount and All Saints in Lakeville, and assists the Catholic Watchmen movement. Learn about the archdiocese’s Catholic Watchmen initiative at thecatholicwatchmen.com.

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Category: Catholic Watchmen