Primary Reason for Gathering - Discipleship

The most important reason for gathering is to place God in a primary spot in their lives, make faith essential to their lives, hear the invitation of Jesus to change themselves, and transform the society around them. In other words to make disciples. We live in a complicated culture in which we constantly juggle society and our Christian values personally and with our families and friends. SCCs provide a place where life’s issues can be discussed, shared, and reflected on in the way that Jesus showed us. Some refer to these groups as “safe places” to listen to each other and hear the voice of God. Jesus calls us together in the Gospel of Matthew when he says, 

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, 

there am I in the midst of them." MT18:20


Communities are Invited to Form by the Parish. Parish-based communities are usually invited into groups by the pastor and parish leadership, and often begin through an organized national program that a parish or diocese is using. They can also be started by a parish as a Lenten program that focus on the Scripture of the coming Sunday.

A small community is generally made up of 8-12 people who meet together to pray and to reflect on faith and how it informs and applies to their lives.


While different SCCs do different things, the majority follow a similar format. This may vary depending on the materials they use.

•Gathering Prayer 2-3 minutes

•Introduction 1 minute

•Life Reflection or Ice Breaker 10 minutes

•Scripture Reading 1 minute

•Scripture Reflection 2 minutes

•Reflection Sharing 40 minutes

•Parish Questions 15 minutes

•Family Question (done at home)

•Action 5 minutes

•Sending Prayer 5 minutes

•Evaluation of the Gathering 5 minutes


90 minutes (approximately)


There are several kinds of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in the Parish

Seasonal Small Groups:

Most parish-based communities are seasonal and meet during Fall and Lent. Some meet monthly and even weekly all year long. Seasonal SCC's meet for six weeks during the Fall or Advent and Lent.

Ministry/Organization Communities

Meet periodically in their areas of ministry to pray and reflect on their ministry. Other parish meetings can follow an SCC format, as well as other parish groups and organizations.

Ongoing Small Christian Communities

Meet weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly depending on the group. These groups are sometimes referred to as “intentional groups or communities” if they are meeting on a regular basis or on their own independently of the parish. Many seasonal groups decide to continue meeting with the blessing and guidance of the parish. 

Family Groups

May be formed by an individual family or groups of families who want to spend time together in prayer and reflection regularly or during particular seasons such as Advent or Lent.

Neighborhood SCCs

Are another way parishes gather people especially in urban and suburban areas.

Meeting Places

SCCs are encouraged to meet in parishioner’s homes. Some parishes have meeting areas that are conducive to faith reflection gatherings and some groups prefer to use those spaces.

The Faith Formation Team

The Group Leader

Each group has a facilitator or co-facilitators whose main task it is to keep the group focused. The facilitator is also a full member and participant, but must guard against playing a dominating role.  

Facilitator Training

Facilitators are generally trained by the diocesan or parish SCC staff or Core Team. Many parishes make the mistake of thinking that everyone knows how to facilitate groups and therefore, don’t bother to train. SCC staff or Core Teams are encouraged to meet often with their facilitators to discuss their progress. Facilitators are also asked to return an evaluation sheet after each meeting and, at the conclusion of the seasonal or other type of group.

Organizing the Parish-Based Small Christian Communities

A parish puts together an organizing committee. This may follow the requirements of a particular program or in general may consist of committees to do the organizing tasks. The Small Group Committee or Core Team, as they are most often called, consists of 5-7 parishioners who are willing to come together to pray and reflect on their faith, and to organize the small community sessions. They also recruit and train facilitators. 

Reviewing the Experience of the Community

After each season, it is advised that all the groups come together for review, evaluation, and reflection. Parishes do this in all kinds of creative ways including pot luck suppers, inviting speakers in, celebrating a special Mass, a prayer service, retreat days away, or picnics for the family. There should be a great celebration!

On-Going Formation

It is advisable that a parish design a plan for their small community effort. With other parish committees and the evaluations of the SCC participants, the parish can plan the direction the SCCs need to take. For example, they may want to learn more about the SCC movement, more on scripture, more on certain aspects of the faith, input on parenting, being a young adult, peace, economics, culture and religion, current church or religious issues, and other topic