New! Worship Groups Now forming!
At Grace, we believe that church isn’t a service or building. At its core, church is family. And although the pandemic has disrupted our normal church rhythms for the foreseeable future, we continue to be on our mission to live for God’s world, as God’s family, in the joy of God’s gospel. We believe that worshiping together is essential to living out our mission.
The leaders of Grace are making a strategic shift from passive viewing to active participation in worship. Instead of watching a video on our own, we encourage community-building with participation among all life stages and ages as we gather together in homes or online for worship.
The leaders of Grace are encouraging a shift to how we worship together during these difficult days. We’re calling it Worship Groups, which is essentially gathering together in our homes for worship.
Worship Groups is not a new concept: Homes were the primary locations for worship in the earliest days of the Church (Acts 2:2; 2:46; 5:42; Rom 16:5; Col 4:15); in the first 300 years of the Church, historians estimate that a community of around 1,000 believers grew to as much as half the Roman Empire – while meeting almost exclusively in homes. In other words, gathering together in homes for worship has biblical and historical precedent.
So, how do we form “worship groups”? Here are 4 simple steps to take: Find people, find a time, be safe, and worship together.
Find people. In this season, we invite you to find a few people outside of your nuclear family that you can regularly join for worship. We encourage gathering with people who are in various life stages in our church family. There are several ways this can happen:
- You can gather in a home with people you already know.
- You can gather with others via Zoom.
- We can connect you with new folks.
Find A Time. The “when” isn’t as important as having a consistent time for connecting around worship together.
- For some, this will continue to be Sunday morning.
- For others, they’ll gather for worship Sunday evening or during the week.
Be Safe. Following CDC guidelines, these groups will meet either via Zoom video or safely in person in groups of 10 or less for indoor gatherings.
- If you are meeting in person, we highly encourage you to follow the guidelines of the CDC as laid out here.
- When it comes to safety, we trust you to do what’s best for you and your family. There is no guilt or shame in being cautious.
- If you or your group prefer not to meet in person, we encourage Zoom video meetings, where screen sharing can allow the group to participate in worship together.
Worship Together. Once you find a space and a time to safely worship with a few others from various life stages in our body, the next step is to gather for worship. On our website, you’ll find a liturgical guide for worship each week. We suggest having different people lead different portions of the service. You can be as creative as you’d like to be, but participation is the key word.
How is this different from a small group or a missional community group?
Home churches will not replace pre-existing small groups or missional groups from meeting together during the week. Again, this aim is gathering together in our homes for corporate worship.
How is this different from our parish system for members at Grace?
Home church will not replace the parish system, which is our system for caring for members at Grace. While we hope that caring for one another will happen organically in our home churches, worshipping together is our primary focus.
I can host, but what does that involve exactly?
Hosting a Worship Group does not require leadership training, just an open door!
What about existing small group / care groups?
We encourage existing care / small groups to meet as worship groups. The members of these groups have already begun forming bonds of friendship, caring for each other and sharing thoughts on scripture and sermons.
How do Worship Groups fit with Parishes?
Parishes were formed to facilitate connection between members of our congregation and leadership through improved communication and understanding the needs of our church. The worship groups will be serving a different function: maintaining a sense of community and increasing active participation in worship services. The parishes and the worship groups function in parallel but independent of each other.
How will Worship Groups use the online service?
We will continue having services online. Up until we move inside, the service will be previously recorded. But once we are inside, we will stream the inside service that will be available for worship groups to access.
Are there any Worship Group training requirements?
No special training is required.
What’s involved in leading a worship group?
To host a worship group all that is required is an open space in which to stream the service, to coordinate during the week with those in your group, and to encourage people to worship and safely engage with one another.
How will GMR support Worship Groups?
Pastor Andrew Kerhoulas is the coordinator of the worship group initiative. He will be supported administratively by Alyssa Rock.
Will Worship Groups be provided any resources?
GMR has created systems to facilitate creation of worship groups via the form linked below. We will also be building into our liturgy sections of our worship that can be read by members within the worship group and as is currently done, and provide questions pertaining to the sermon to facilitate discussion following the service.
Will Worship Groups be asked to follow any CDC guidelines / cleaning requirements / social distancing/masks requirements? Through the formation form, we will have input on the level of safety /precautions of each member. Then the group itself will determine the particular levels of safety precaution they will observe.
To register, please fill out the form below to indicate how you’d like to participate in our Home Church initiative. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Andrew Kerhoulas at .