Ideas for Forming Small Groups
Timothy and I highly recommend that Course students consider meeting together to closely study and share Course-related experiences and insights. If you have been studying on your own and would like to have study partners for the extra benefits of support, think what joining with a friend or two - in person or on zoom - would do for your spiritual development.
Here are some of the tips, ideas and guidelines we have used and found to be easy and effective in keeping the group consistent and focused on our one goal.
First, ask for and find one or two others who would give importance and priority to group study of A Course in Miracles. You may find them among the friends you have now, or by other means. Let Holy Spirit choose them for you. Your joined purpose is part of the learning and healing process. In our experience, any number up to six or eight people in a group seems ideal to give everyone a chance to share. "Whenever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them. "
Your group may have an experienced Course student as a leader, or you may rotate leadership. The leader chooses the reading for that class, and will help keep comments focused on the Course during the meeting. Staying with the material helps the group avoid analysis of each others' issues, opinions based on pop psychology, and fix-it sessions.
If you don't know other Course students, and are willing to meet on zoom,
contact me, and I will keep a list to share.
Set a specific time and place (or channel) for your meeting and don't vary it.
Each meeting can be focused on a lesson, a set of lessons, or a section of the text.
Read closely and carefully. Our Text Class videos are an example of how this is done, where everyone is encouraged to read carefully and comment on what they have read.
One person reads a paragraph or so and says what stands out in it for them, or how this applies to a situation in their lives, or any other comment they may have on that paragraph. Others in the group then may also comment on the paragraph just read. Then on to the next person who reads and is the first to share.
Set a time limit. We have found that 1.25 hours is about the longest it should go unless you are going to take a break.
"Close reading pays rich rewards, and anyone can do it."
This theme will help you stay on track. Our Text Class videos on YouTube will show you what this looks like in action.
Your group might want to read along with us as you watch the YouTube Text Class, and pause the video to discuss among yourselves. This would be a great use of YouTube. If you try this, let us know!