How to Get Started

Model of the First Christian Communities

If we see how Jesus implemented his method to proclaim the Good News, he worked with a small group (the Apostles). We also see, Saint Paul, also collaborating with other small groups, in the process of forming and edifying the first Christian communities.

Desired Environment for the Groups

The goal is to create an atmosphere that invites God, specifically the Holy Spirit, to help the group members to walk a closer walk with Jesus. This environment must be similar to the rapport that exists between good friends, that is conductive to enjoying good times together. It is not a professional environment, such as what occurs between a psychologist or counselor with a patient.

Our loving God always wants to communicate with us, and he does whenever we allow him. It is extremely important that we spend time on a daily basis in this posture of speaking and listening to God. Developing this discipline is one of the greatest blessings that we will experience in life. One of the goals of Spiritual Companions is to foster this type of dialogue.


In one type of meeting, there are just two of you, one in the role of Sharer (represented by a “mouth” symbol in the diagram that follows), and the other one, in the role of Listener (represented by an “ear” symbol in the diagrams that follows). Please note that in different meetings, these two individuals will rotate their roles.


The role of the Listener is to encourage the Sharer, to remind him of the commitments that he has made, and to provide him with a sense of belonging and interconnectedness to the parish. He also prays daily (intercede) for the Sharer. It is important to realize that he is not acting as a spiritual director, or a counselor. In the Spiritual Companions model, the role of the Listener is simply to encourage the Sharer to seek the Lord daily, by being committed to a regular prayer time when communication with God can take place.

Meetings

Sharing the Word of God

As explained already, normally this type of meetings are focused on reading and sharing Bible readings corresponding to the following Sunday. But during the initial first four weeks, the focus should be directed at providing an environment where the members get to know each other better (instead of discussing the biblical readings). Each member takes his turn in planning of these meetings. Possibilities type of activities include: going for a walk in a park, going to the zoo or a museum or visit, visiting a family that needs help, or visiting the Blessed Sacrament as a group. The individual who chooses the activity for the week, also has the responsibility to opening and closing the meeting with a prayer. Prayers can be spontaneous, or they can chosen from one of the prayers found in the  Prayers link. At the end of the activity, the member who chose the activity for the day, shares how he began his walk with Jesus. It is recommended that during the first four weeks, there be no other meetings How is my Walk with the Lord  The illustration below provides a recommendation for the pattern for the first four meetings:

Once group members have developed sufficient trust and friendship, they are in a good position to start discussing more intimate subjects, such as their personal faith walk at that point in time, and also how things are going in their different circles (family, work, etc.). Finally, they should share what they perceive that the Lord is doing in their lives. This type of discussion should occur in an even smaller group (two people), with the role of each individual defined before hand. Specifically, in one meeting, one of the members will share, and the other member will mainly listen. At the next meeting, the roles are swapped. 

Each member should feel comfortable sharing, since there is an understanding that what is shared in the group, stays within the group. If someone shares something that is not private, and they do not care if it is shared outside the group, they should clarify it. For obvious reasons, these meetings are called How is my Walk with the Lord .


How is my Walk with the Lord (as sharer)

Here one of the two persons shares how things are going in their life. Typical reflection questions include: How is their relationship with God? Are they being faithful to their daily personal prayer? How are things going in the various circles of their life? It is helpful to remember that one's life should be ordered according to following priorities:

How is my Walk with the Lord (as a listener)

The main mission of this role is for the sharer to be heard. From time to time, the listener can share their own experiences and perspectives, especially if they think it is something that God may be saying to them. But it should be said in a way that encourages them to prayerfully consider the advice but not as if the listener knows definitive answers. have the potential of helping the sharer make good decisions.

Recommendations for the format of this type of meeting, is presented in How is my Walk with the Lord.

The chart below provides a template with recommendations for the order of meetings for the following four weeks. In this graphic, the mouth represents the person who is sharing (Sharing), and the ear, the person who is listening (Listener).

Upon completion of this first eight weeks, the entire group comes together and assesses if they want to continue meeting., and also offer recommendations on how to improve the shape and structure of the meetings. If they decide to continue meeting, they also discuss the readings for the following Sunday and also establish where and when they will meet to share in How is my Walk with the Lord . The chart below offers suggestions.

After the group has established a genuine friendship, it is recommended that they occasionally they gather with their extended families, possibly for a Lord's Day celebration, which takes place Saturday evenings (a template for this type of celebration will soon be available).

The recommended pattern of meetings is also presented as a list, in the following link:

Meeting Pattern