Are you interested in meeting new people? Deepening your relationships at Blacknall within a smaller community? Studying Scripture with others? Then consider joining a Blacknall small group! Contact the Small Groups Ministry Team for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lenten Discipleship Groups
What: Lenten Discipleship Groups are short-term small groups that aim to help us deepen our walk with Christ in gatherings for sharing, study, and prayer. Since they occur during Lent, a six-week period of preparation for Easter, these groups also aim to help us become people who are better able to respond to God’s boundless love for us.
When: Groups will gather at Blacknall for six weeks on Thursdays at 12-1 p.m. and 7-8 p.m.
Meeting details: Groups will gather to share, study, and pray together. A facilitator will lead a discussion of a simple curriculum. Our study will focus on five of the parables that Jesus taught while making his own journey toward the events of Good Friday and Easter.
Many of our already-existing small groups plan to follow this study. If one of those time slots does not work, we encourage you to gather some friends in your neighborhood or at your work or school, and start your own group! The curriculum will be available to all.
Curriculum: Week One; Week Two; Week Three, Week Four; Week Five; Week Six
Fall 2015 Small Groups
View the list of current group openings below. For more information, please email email@example.com.
Southwest Durham | 1st & 3rd Sundays | 6-7:30 p.m.
Coed, Multigenerational. We will be studying the book of Romans this fall. Point person: Allison Dimsdale
North Durham, American Village | Every Other Week
Coed, Multigenerational. Point person: Dean Storelli
Blacknall | Weekly | 6-7 a.m.
M3 Men’s Bible Study, Multigenerational. Bible study over breakfast and coffee that follows the sermon series. Point person: Peter Lima
North Durham | Weekly | 6-7:30 p.m.
Children welcome, Coed, Multigenerational. Study will coincide with the sermon series. Point person: Ramonna Cvelich
Central Durham | Weekly
Women, 20s-30s. Point person: Julie Okada
Southwest Durham | Weekly
Men, Multigenerational. We often discuss upcoming sermon texts and spend time in prayer for our families, for each other and for the greater Blacknall family. If the spirit leads, we are known to gather at the Q Shack occasionally to break barbeque together. Point person: Mark Paulson
Watts Hillandale, Old West Durham, Walltown | Weekly
Coed, Multigenerational. Preference for members who live in these neighborhoods. Point person: Jonathan Hilliard
South Durham | Weekly | 7:30-9 p.m.
Singles and couples, younger and older, mostly from the south Durham area, meeting near Southpoint mall. We chat, study the Bible, and pray. Point person: Michael Whisenhunt
North Durham | Weekly | 7:30 p.m.
Coed, Multigenerational. Our group enjoys meeting together for fellowship, prayer, study, and tea/snacks. We like following the sermon series but have also studied books of the Bible. We welcome new members! Point person: Emily Cox
To get connected to any of these groups, please send an email to Chris Blumhofer, leader of the Small Groups Ministry Team, SmallGroups@Blacknall.org.
What is a Small Group?
Small groups are relational communities that pray, fellowship and learn from Scripture together in order to foster deeper relationships with one another, grow in their understanding and knowledge of God and be shaped more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. In some cases, they are also excellent places for people who are just beginning to examine (or re-examine) the role of faith in their lives.
Click here to download a printable brochure.
Why are small groups important to the life of Blacknall?
Small groups are a primary place where deep Christian community is formed and the work of discipleship happens. They are an important part of meeting our desire for meaningful relationships in a world that is becoming increasingly fragmented.
Jesus himself elected to call together a small group to journey with him. They asked questions together, ate together, worshiped together, served together and rested together. As they lived and traveled as a group, Jesus taught about and modeled a life conformed to the will of God while being committed to deepening relationships with his disciples. During some of his most difficult moments, including the last days of his life, Jesus withdrew from the crowds and chose to be with this group. This band of followers grew in maturity together and became a living testimony to the power of Jesus at work in their lives. (See Matthew 4:18-22, Matthew 26:6-13 and Acts 4:13.)
Small groups at Blacknall can serve a similar purpose, offering a place for members to journey through life together, allow themselves to know and be known, and to grow together as disciples of Jesus Christ.
What are the characteristics of a small group?
A small group is an opportunity for life changing community at a level that is rarely available in other walks of life. A group is usually comprised of several people who meet regularly for prayer, worship, encouragement and study. It is a safe place to ask questions and pursue answers to the hard questions that life brings, as well as a place to build community and discipleship. The leader of the group is not expected to have ready answers but, instead, to facilitate a conversation where growth and discovery can happen in community. Because the focus is on real life change, not simply acquiring more knowledge, believers and interested non-believers of all types can share in the discussion. The focus is on the heart, not the head.
Here are a few other characteristics:
- A small group spends time together in intercessory prayer, and some will commit to pray for one another during the week.
- Small groups are encouraged to have an “open chair,” which is a figurative way to demonstrate that they are open to new members joining the group.
- Groups choose their meeting time during the week and their location, which may be someone’s home, the church or another convenient location. There is often food or coffee, and childcare can be negotiated as a group forms.
- There are many study topics and resources available to the group for discussion, including topical studies, follow-up sermon questions and Bible book studies.
- The group leader serves as the facilitator of these discussions and leaders will be in regular communication with the Small Group Ministry Team.
- Some groups, as they grow, may decide to help launch a new group with some of their members.
What are the roles of the Small Group Ministry Team and Small Group Leaders?
The Small Group Ministry Team (SGMT) at Blacknall Presbyterian Church seeks to promote the formation of committed small groups.
The Small Group Ministry Team is comprised of representatives from various small groups in the congregation and the adult discipleship pastor. They usually meet together as a team on a monthly basis and are open to new members who are excited about the ministry of small groups in the church. They meet with the session at least yearly to provide a report on the health of the small group ministry and welcome the session’s input and feedback throughout the year.
As the SGMT promotes the formation of small groups, they hope to 1) promote within the Blacknall community the benefits of being in a smaller, committed community with one another, 2) assist new groups with getting started, 3) equip new leaders and 4) provide support for the groups as they grow and multiply. They hope to be in contact with small group leaders at least several times per year, provide resources as needed, offer workshops for leader growth, and be in prayer for the groups.
Small group leaders are the backbone of this ministry. Their commitment to Jesus Christ, to relational community, and to spiritual growth and discipleship allows a space for small groups members to find connection and to flourish. The SGMT is grateful for them!
The SGMT expects that small group leaders will be in regular communication and prayer with their small group members, communicate with a member of the SGMT several times per year, attend a workshop or meeting of other small group leaders once per year, evaluate their group’s desire to continue meeting together at least yearly, identify and encourage other potential leaders in the group, and welcome new members, knowing that over time the group may benefit from multiplying and forming another group.
Interested in joining a group? We would love to help. Email the Small Groups Ministry Team for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org. Chris Blumhofer (chair), Allison & Todd Dimsdale, David Dunderdale, and Dean Storelli