One easy way to use Take Out in your adult faith formation ministry is to offer a monthly series for parents to gather in small faith communities and discuss one article from each months’ issue. I know from experience that adults today are often searching for ways to connect with other people who share common values, are at the similar place in life, and, of course, share the same faith beliefs.
Reserve a room in your parish that is large enough to accommodate 25-50 people (or more!). Set up tables with 5-7 chairs at each. (Having people sit at tables is an easy way to divide them into small groups.) Several sets of the discussion questions should be in the middle of each table along with a few copies of that month’s Take Out magazine.
Refreshments are always welcome and need not be fancy or time-consuming to display. Decaf coffee and cookies are usually a welcome after-dinner treat.
Check this website each month for small-group discussion questions, tips and tools to help facilitate your Conversations that Matter series.
Small Faith-Sharing Group evening schedule:
7:00 p.m. Opening Prayer and Greeting (we use Sr. Janet’s prayer on page 2 of Take Out)
7:05 p.m. Brief overview of the article to be discussed.
7:15 p.m. Refer participants to discussion questions on each table and begin small group discussion (Make sure participants understand that the questions are a beginning for their discussion – they can discuss one of them or all of them. Remember to make room for the movement of the Spirit in these discussions that may take a group in a new or unexpected direction.)
8:00 p.m. Break for refreshments.
8:10 p.m. Come together as a large group and discuss article (write important thoughts and contributions on a white board or flip chart).
8:30 p.m. Close with prayer or Scripture reading.
"Lost in Plain Sight: Road to Emmaus," by Pat Lieb, page 5.
1. Have there been times in your life that you wanted to walk away from a problem or bad circumstances instead of face it? What do the disciples learn when they do this?
2. Doubt is an important element of our faith. When have you found doubt most prevalent in your life and how did you return to your faith?
3. It is “in the breaking of the bread” that the disciples finally recognize that Jesus was with them all along. Have you found deeper faith or reconciliation over a meal? Do you strive to have a family dinner at least a couple of times each week? Do you believe that God is with us “in the reality of our lives, just as they are?” Why or why not?
Ideally, your parish will offer childcare for parents of young children on these evenings. If that is not possible, try coordinating these evenings with your Child Faith Formation staff person. While parents are engaged in small faith sharing groups, offer children a craft, activity or even a Christian movie at the same time.
Because Take Out magazine is often shipped early, you can plan ahead for each month’s discussion article. Check this website for monthly discussion questions, tips for successful family faith formation and new ways that Take Out can be a ministry resource.
Make sure to let participants know that they can bring a friend or another couple to next month’s discussion – numbers often grow as the series continues.
by Sister Janet Schaeffler, O.P.
April 6 — LUKE 24:13-35: ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS. Where or when do we recognize Jesus? Are there people in my life who help me recognize Jesus? Meals are important. What do we like about our family meals? How is Jesus with us during our family meals? Thinking back now, was there a time this past week that Jesus was close, but I missed Him because I was too busy with other things, too upset, too angry? In today’s Gospel story, why did Jesus disappear? Does this story remind me of the Mass?
April 13 — JOHN 10:1-10: JESUS IS THE GATE, THE DOOR. What kind of shepherd has Jesus promised He will be? What is abundant life (life in its fullness)? Is our life abundant? What makes it this way? Sheep follow the shepherd. How do we show that we follow Jesus? How does it feel to hear Jesus call you by name? Sheep recognize the shepherd’s voice. How or where do we hear Jesus’ voice in our everyday lives? When are we called to be shepherds?
April 20 — JOHN 14:1-12: JESUS IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. Jesus says whoever sees Him has seen God the Father. Who is a sign of God for you? Are you a sign of God for others? If our family could take only one small suitcase for our journey through life, what would we pack? What do you do when you are afraid? When you have a hard decision to make? When have you been in a safe, sacred space? Jesus says we can do what He did. How will we make our world a better place this week?
April 27 — JOHN 14:15-21: THE SPIRIT WILL BE SENT TO US. Jesus asked us to love. What other “commands” flow from that? Where and when do you feel the Spirit with you? What acts of love make the presence of Jesus alive for us in our family, our parish, our neighborhood? What do you think the Spirit wants us to do this week? Write a family prayer thanking the Spirit for his constant presence with you.
Print out this Easter cross for children to draw pictures or write good deeds inside it (PDF download)»
Helpful links for "My Face, MySpace (sic)," page 7
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