All the support you need is right here.
Want to start small groups for young adults at your parish? Want to continue developing the young adult community that already exists?
The information provided on this page is to help Young Adult Ministry Leaders & Young Adult Small Group Coordinators successfully minister to and with young adults through the small group model.
We hope that you will find the resources and processes here to be clear, simple, and easy to implement.
Please know that the Office of Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministries is here to support you every step of the way. We want to see your small groups succeed as a fruitful model of ministry for young adults in our diocese. If you need ANYTHING at all, please contact Josh Salinas at email@example.com.
On this page, you will find the small group season calendars, major “action items” for each season, and a timeline for the season.
Current Season: The Lenten Disciplines
Beginning Well Schedule:
Length of Lent 2022 Season: Seven Weeks
- Week One: February 28-March 6
- Week Two: March 7 – March 13
- Week Three: March 14 – March 20
- Week Four: March 21 – March 27
- Week Five: March 28 – April 3
- Week Six: April 4 – April 10
- Week Seven: Special Week: 7 Parish Pilgrimage
Access the Lenten Disciplines!
This season features:
- A focus on Lenten Disciplines: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving
- Tips to stay committed to lenten promises
- Professionally designed weekly small group content
- A focus on communal foundations to support authentic accompaniment through friendship
This season features:
- Available in Spanish!
- March 2: First Week Begins
- April 11: Last Week Begins
- April 14: 7 Parish Pilgrimage
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Easter Small Group Schedule:
Length of Easter 2022 Season: Eight Weeks
- Parish Registration Opens: March 9
- Parish Entry Forms due to OYYACM: March 30
- Young Adult Small Groups Opens: April 18
- Week One: April 18 – April 24
- Week Two: April 25 – May 1
- Week Three: May 2 – May 8
- Week Four: May 9 – May 15
- Week Five: May 16 – May 22
- Week Six: May 23 – May 29
- Week Seven: May 30 – June 5
Tools to Help You Plan
Steps to Get Started
With your parish leadership, determine if young adult small groups would be a good fit for your parish! Use the document “Summer Road Trip Project Overview” as an outline of what you would be receiving and committing to join.
*Please note: All small groups must be run through parishes.*
Contact Josh Salinas to discuss your participation or let us know that “you’re in!”. firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you want your group to meet in person, virtually, or have a bit of both?
- Take seriously the recommendations concerning Covid from the CDC and local government.
- Consider the safety and comfortability of your young adult participants (you will obviously need facilitators to feel comfortable with whatever setting you choose).
- Make this decision in conjunction with your pastor and parish leadership.
- If your groups meet will virtually, does your parish have a Zoom account to share with facilitators to use or will facilitators have to use their own?
- If your groups will meet in person, do you want to encourage meeting in public spaces/ homes or at the parish?
- If meeting in person, what sort of precautions will you want to implement such as wearing of mask, use of hand sanitizer, taking temperatures, being socially distant, etc? How will you communicate these precautions and ensure they take place?
- If meeting at the parish, what sort of procedures will individuals need to know in order to use the space, such as parking, what doors to enter through, what times door close, etc.? Check for the availability of meeting space in the parish.
How would you like to organize your small groups? This will help determine who you ask to be a facilitator and how you structure your registration form.
- Would you like to pair small group participants based on their life stages: single, married, married with kids?
- Would you like to pair small group participants based on their self-description of faith: “Green to Christianity” (Beginning stages of learning what Christianity is about), “Looking to Go Deeper” (Interested, but hesitant), “I’m all In” (Committed)? Also recommended as there will be small group questions specific to each description.
- Would you like to pair single small group participants by gender? By age?
Check out our small group guides! They were co-created with input from several ministry leaders around the diocese. The guides do NOT provide the small group CONTENT, but rather, instructions for the logistical elements of small groups.
Once you have determined the logistics above- where you will be hosting your small groups and how you will be grouping your small group participants- you will be able to recruit facilitators. Your facilitators will need to be comfortable hosting the small groups in the determined settings and will need to match the demographics of your intended groups.
Tips for Determining Facilitators
- Determine a small team to help discern individuals’ names with you.
- Be incredibly picky!! A small group facilitator makes or breaks the small group experience and fruitfulness. Do NOT simply find a willing person. See Facilitator Qualities for a list of characteristics that are important for a facilitator to possess.
- When you ask an individual to consider being a small group facilitator, make known the responsibilities ahead of time. Ask them to skim over the Facilitator Guide and the Responsibilities of the Small Group Facilitator. The Responsibilities of a Small Group Facilitator is a Word Document so that you can edit it to match your parish expectations.
- Encourage the individual you ask to be a facilitator to take a few days to prayerfully consider the opportunity.
- If the individual says yes to being a facilitator, ask them to decide upon the day of the week and the time they are able to host their small group.
- Communicate Facilitator Training Dates as soon as possible and encourage your facilitators to register to attend one of them.
- Once you determine your facilitators, you then should organize your small group information so that you have a list of your small group options that includes the following information. This information will later need to be sent to the diocese.
- Host Name
- Meeting Space: Virtual, In Person (Home Address/ Parish Location, etc.)
- Day of the Week
- Meeting Time (Virtual should be kept to an hour and a half, in person could be two hours)
- Demographic Information: Mixed Gender, All Male, All Female, Single, Married, Married with Kids
- Language of the Small Group
Materials for Small Group Coordinators
Materials for Facilitators
Once you know which small groups you have available for participants to join, you can work on creating the system for participants to register.
You may choose to simply provide a direct link to an online registration form, or, you may wish to house the link on a webpage upon which you can offer more detailed information about the small groups.
Considerations when creating your registration:
- Information you will need to gather from participants:
- Email Address
- Cell Number
- If they want to meet virtually, in person, or if they are open to either
- Any demographic information you are taking into account when forming groups: Gender, Single, Married, Married with Kids, Description of Faith (Green to Christianity, Looking to Go Deeper, All In)
- Preferred Language
- Optional: Address if you want to consider proximity to meeting locations
- Optional: Any friends with whom they request to be in the small group
- What platform to use for a website:
- Your parish website
- Google Sites (free)
- Weebly Sites (free)
- Wix Sites (free)
- What system to use for registration
- Your parish website may have a “form” feature you could utilize
- Free: Google Forms (See example of a registration through Google Forms)
- Be sure to edit confirmation page, under “Settings”.
- Free: Signupgenius (See an example of a registration through Signupgenius)
- Small groups should have 6-8 individuals, including the facilitator. Keep in mind that smaller groups tend to be preferable with virtual platforms.
- Note that name, email, and cell number of participants will be shared with the facilitator and group.
- We recommend making your registration “first come, first serve” and to note this policy, if you are concerned that groups will ever fill up.
- You may want to note expectations of attendance, for instance, if the entirety of the season were 7 weeks, you could note that participants should not register unless they can make at least 5. This would be to encourage a true commitment and not hurt the integrity or closeness of the group.
- Some communities are either not comfortable with or not capable of utilizing online registration because of access to computers, availability of email, or desire to have personal contact information online. You may need to make accommodations for this, making use of word-of-mouth and phone communications, if this is your situation.
The OYYACM wants to help promote the small groups happening at your parish! We will be utilizing our communication platforms, particularly The 635 networks, to encourage young adults to join a small group in a parish. We intend all small groups to be anchored within a parish, as we would like to emphasize the importance of parish involvement and commitment to young adults.
Our promotion to young adults will direct them to the Young Adult Small Group Registration Page (will be updated in time for registration to open).
Ensure you have completed the Parish Entry Form according to the Planning Timeline so that your parish can be advertised on our website.
Materials for Designing Your Own Parish Promo
The diocese will utilize its Facebook and Instagram followings to advertise the small groups via The 635. Keep an eye out for posts and please, feel free to share them on your platforms as well.
Considerations when planning your promotions:
- Get the information in as many places as possible. It’s important that members of your parish see that something is being offered for young adults, even if they are not young adults themselves.
- Attain all the proper permissions to advertise in various places: Who manages the parish bulletin? Who manages the parish website? The parish social media accounts? Parish emails? Parish texting systems?
- If your parish is celebrating Masses, see if the priest would mention the small groups or if small group information can be included in Mass announcements.
- Once is not enough to promote your small groups. You will need to schedule lots of reminders for your young adults, particularly as the deadline for registration approaches.
- Nothing beats a personal invitation! Plan personal invitations as part of your promotion.
Tips for Running Small Groups
Be attentive to your registrations to see if people are signing up and if your groups are getting full.
If it seems like your groups are not filling up, consider re-strategizing with an extra emphasis on personal invitations. What members of your parish do you know that are particularly influential or have many contacts? YOU do not necessarily need to be the one making the personal invitations; in fact, sometimes the invitations are best received from someone not directly involved in leadership.
You should be in contact with individuals as they sign up to let them know if they have secured a place in your small group OR if they have been placed on a waiting list. We would like to afford young adults on the waiting list with an opportunity to seek membership in a small group through another parish if they wish to do so.
The diocesan/ 635 platforms will communicate the closing date of registration. After the close of registration, the OYYACM will keep the links live to your registration page from our website unless you request we do otherwise.
Once registration has closed for your small groups, it will be time to assign members to their small group facilitators. Remember to honor the “first come, first serve policy”, to group individuals with like-individuals as must as possible, and to accommodate people’s friend preferences where you can.
Depending on your registration system, assigning small groups may be as simple as sending your facilitators their group members’ information. However, if your system had multiple small groups running at the same time for the same demographic (see “Tuesdays” on the Signupgenius example), assigning small groups could be a more difficult process. This process can be tedious but would allow for more flexibility in assigning young adults with their friends.
The OYYACM will be providing you with an attendance sheet. You are welcome to share this directly with your small group facilitators. The information that this sheet will provide us if important for collecting metrics to measure how well utilized the small group materials are. The OYYACM will collect the complete lists at the end of the small group season.
During the week before small groups starts, facilitator should reach out to their small group members to welcome them and make sure they are aware of any important details for meeting. It would be the coordinator’s job to prepare the facilitators with the contact information and a general script of what to say.
Throughout the course of the season, you should be supporting the facilitators with frequent checkins, particularly after the first week and mid-season.
IT CAN BE REALLY TEMPTING TO STOP INVESTING IN YOUR FACILITATORS AND SMALL GROUPS ONCE THEY START RUNNING LIKE A WELL-OILED MACHINE. Don’t let this happen- as the coordinator, the distance you allow between yourself and this ministry will eventually harm its impact.
Remind facilitators to be taking attendance, noting anything of importance, and to follow up with individuals who miss a gathering.
At the end of the season, be sure you are checking in with your facilitators to allow them to process how the experience went. These are the individuals YOU want to most heavily invest in so that they can invest in the small group participants.
You will be contacted by OYYACM if there is a survey to complete at the end. OYYACM will also collect information regarding the number of individuals participating in your small groups.