The spiritual heart of St. Paul’s is Discipleship Groups. These are small adult prayer groups with a structure that, over time, holds us accountable to our deepest intentions and hopes. They begin and end with an elegant liturgy. The liturgy includes vows to follow spiritual practices such as:
- friendship with the poor
- and discerning call
This liturgy includes a time of silence, a statement of general intention read by the leader followed by seven scripture-based sentences read by participants. Although our churches can have a variety of small groups, Discipleship Groups are only those groups that use this liturgy.
The structure of Discipleship Groups builds on the work of Gordon Cosby and Parker Palmer. In the 1950s and ‘60s, Cosby discovered that small groups never resulted in mission and real spiritual growth, but rather became self-support groups unless they were structured from the beginning to encourage an outward focus. Parker Palmer has been working with small groups for decades and has developed meaningful and powerful ways to gather people in prayer-centered groups.
Some join Discipleship Groups right away, others after they have been at St. Paul’s for a time and participated in formation classes, bible studies or service projects.