Greater NJ Annual Conference for the UMC {2017}

©2017 Shari DeAngelo

Stay Connected with Small Groups

Keeping connected is especially important in stressful times. While health advisories dissuade in person gatherings, encouraging your small group members to continue to meet virtually or by phone will be important. Your church’s virtual small groups will allow people to experience community, while maintaining the health and safety of your group. Click here GNJ Small Groups.

There are various online platforms available. The most accessible are Video Chat in Facebook and Zoom. For information on these and other technologies, visit our technology pages.

Care Groups

In these uncertain times it is important that the church remains connected to members, as well as the community. Small Groups is an effective way to manage the care of many people.

Divide up those you minister to:

  • This would be an ideal time to include people who are not regular attenders but have ties to your church.
  • Create groups of 5-8 people. Break up according to members and not households as members of the same household might have different needs.


  • Begin by asking leaders who they might already be reaching out to.
  • Then consider how do your members already gather? Likely your members already have infinity groups even though they may not be identified as small groups. Choir? Children’s Ministry? Committees?
  • Also think about those who are in the same geographic area? While you will not be visiting at this time, these groups can become an ongoing ministry in your church.

Once you have divided up your congregation naming someone to oversee the care of the group will be important. Who are the encouragers in these groups? Who are the prayer champions?

Ask these persons to check in with their group by phone on a regular basis (start with once a week, some members especially those who live alone might need more contact.) The purpose of the call is check in, to assure all people feel cared for and to reduce stress. It is also a time for prayer. Quiet and patient listening presence will be the most helpful at this time. Ask overseers to report to you the pastor if anyone seems to be having a difficult time. While the primary purpose of the call is care, the overseers should know where to point the member to other resources offered by the church, as well as determine how accessible these resources are to their group.

While care groups can assure that all people are being contacted regularly, invite your congregation to take the initiative and reach out to one another regularly. Who sits near you in church? Who do you serve with? Encourage parents to have children also keep in contact with one another.

Do you have creative ways you have been connecting with your congregants? Please email to Gina Yeske or call 732-740-0878.

Soul Caring Calls

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

For some congregants, meeting virtually will be a challenge. To combat isolation and to foster connection, invite members to give someone a call and ask the question, “How is it with your soul?” This question goes beyond “how are you” and allows the conversation to go deeper. John Wesley asked the people to watch over one another, this question has led Methodists to care for one another through many different circumstances. Use the questions below to guide a spiritual call:

  • How am I drawing closer to God?
  • What is creating a blocking my connection with God?
  • What is draining my energy and my faith?
  • What brings me life?
  • How can we pray for each other?

Small Groups create connections with God, each other and the world. In these challenging times, creating opportunities for people to remain connected will lead to hope and cultivate a deeper faith.

During the Week

In an effort to stay connected with the congregation as a community, it is a good idea to offer a prayer time or bible study during the week. This can also be done via livestream or conference call. See out technology pages for help on how to do this.

Encourage small groups to continue meeting regularly via phone or video conference. For groups such as older members who may not use technology as much, offer to (or enlist a volunteer to) set up a conference call line for them and then all they have to do is call in.

Invite Friends, Family & Neighbors to Online Services

  • Create a sharable invite for worship. Include time, an eye-catching photo and a link.
  • Create a FB event. Boost your event for a small fee. Target demographic near your church.
  • Create a Watch Party
  • Share the message with local media like, Patch, Good Neighbor and other local sources. Many of them, including can be done by you online HERE.
  • Put your Facebook and web info on your church sign.