When we launched our small group ministry in the Fall of 2021, we were cautiously hopeful that they would be received well and that folks would both grow their faith and grow in community. Our expectations were met and exceeded. Nearly everyone we hear from LOVED their small group experience, and they urged others to join a group. Here is some of the encouragement our small group members provided for those considering joining a small group:

“Try it! It is a liberating experience!”

“DO IT! It is so worth the time!

“The Groups are small, friendly, and encouraging.”

“…you will get so much more than you expected!”

Don’t miss out this quarter. Find a small group that you are interested in, take a chance, and experience God in community.

Take a look at the groups coming up in January and February. You can sign up in the email, on our website, or even on Sunday morning at Church.

This Sunday, our leaders will be at church to greet those interested in their groups. You can ask questions, get clarity, and meet your potential small group facilitator.

Jesus Before Christianity
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Jesus Before Christianity

Led by Reed Fuller
When: Thursdays 7:00-8:30pm, Feb. 3 – Mar. 24
Where: The first three weeks we’ll meet via Zoom. The remainder of the study will be at The Escape.

Nolan’s portrait introduces readers to Jesus as He was before He became enshrined in doctrine, dogma, and ritual, a man deeply involved with the real problems of His time, which are the real problems of our time as well. In a new preface, Nolan reflects on recent work in Christology and how a book written in South Africa in 1976 still has a message for people today.

Invitation to a Journey
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Invitation to a Journey

Led by Daryl Koning
When: Sundays 6:00-7:30pm, Feb. 13 – Apr. 3
Where: Stephen Ministry Room, The Church in Aurora

“The process of being formed in the image of Christ for the sake of others.”

So Bob Mullholland defines spiritual formation.  Compact and solid, this definition encompasses the dynamics of a vital Christian life.

In this class, Christians new and old will be helped to understand that we become like Christ gradually, not instantly.  Not every personality is suited to an early morning quiet time, so we will talk about how different personality types express their piety differently.  We will review the classical spiritual disciplines and the importance of undertaking our spiritual journeys with and for the sake of others.

The 10 Commandments: Laws of the Heart
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The 10 Commandments: Laws of the Heart

Led by Cathie Laubscher
When: Wednesdays, 6:30-8:00pm, Jan. 19 – Mar. 2
Where: The Great Hall, The Church in Aurora

Are the Ten Commandments just a set of rules or are they a way of life? How does each one call us to reflect on out life and values? What does it mean to love God and our neighbor in a world where violence, greed, and fear threaten our lives, our values, our hearts? Joan Chittister answers these and other questions. Each chapter focuses on what one of the commandments means for us today. The final two shed light on the two Great Commandments, “Love God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus
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Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus

Led by Nene Morella
When: Wednesdays 10:00-11:30am, Jan. 25 – Apr. 26
Where: The Escape; Zoom available.

A rare chance to know Jesus as his first disciples knew him.  What would it be like to journey back to the first century and sit at the feet of Rabbi Jesus as one of his Jewish disciples? How would your understanding of the gospel have been shaped by the customs, beliefs, and traditions of the Jewish culture in which you lived? Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus takes you on a fascinating tour of the Jewish world of Jesus, offering inspirational insights that can transform your faith. Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg paint powerful scenes from Jesus’ ministry, immersing you in the prayers, feasts, history, culture, and customs that shaped Jesus and those who followed him. You will hear the parables as they must have sounded to first-century Jews, powerful and surprising. You will join the conversations that were already going on among the rabbis of his day. You will watch with new understanding as the events of his life unfold. And you will emerge with new excitement about the roots of your own Christian faith. Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus will change the way you read Scripture and deepen your understanding of the life of Jesus. It will also help you to adapt the rich prayers and customs you learn about to your own life, in ways that both respect and enrich your Christian faith. By looking at the Jewishness of Jesus, Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg take you on a captivating journey into the heart of Judaism, one that is both balanced and insightful, helping you to better understand and appreciate your own faith.

The Road Back to You
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The Road Back to You

Led by Jenna Hickman
When: Tuesdays 7:00-8:30pm, Jan. 18 – Mar. 1
Where: Harris Study, The Church in Aurora
Notes: A group for moms with kids at home.

What you don’t know about yourself can hurt you–and your relationships, and how you make your way in the world. It can also keep you in the shallows with God. Do you want help figuring out who you are and why you repeatedly stumble into the same self-defeating patterns? Consider the ancient personality type system called the Enneagram.  The Enneagram is an ancient personality type system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively.

Not only will you learn more about yourself, but you will also start to see the world through other people’s eyes, understanding how and why people think, feel, and act the way they do.

Romans: The Gospel of Grace
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Romans: The Gospel of Grace

Led by Rodger Shaulis & Nancy Gallik
When: Ongoing on Wednesdays, 10:00-11:30am
Where: Great Hall/South Chapel, The Church in Aurora

This study on Romans has 12 lessons from one of the great books of the New Testament which focuses on salvation being offered through the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is an ongoing Bible Study with a few openings available. Other studies will continue when this one ends.

Sacred Rhythms
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Sacred Rhythms

Led by Reed Fuller
When: Tuesdays 7:00-8:30pm, Feb. 1 – Apr. 5
Where: The first three weeks we’ll meet via Zoom. The remainder of the study will be at The Escape.

Do you long for a deep, fundamental change in your life with God? Do you desire a greater intimacy with God? Do you wonder how you might truly live your life as God created you to live it?

Spiritual disciplines are activities that open us to God’s transforming love and the changes that only God can bring about in our lives. Picking up on the monastic tradition of creating a “rule of life” that allows for regular space for the practice of the spiritual disciplines, this book takes you more deeply into understanding seven key disciplines along with practical ideas for weaving them into everyday life. Each chapter includes exercises to help you begin the practices–individually and in a group context. The final chapter puts it all together in a way that will help you arrange your life for spiritual transformation.

The choice to establish your own sacred rhythm is the most important choice you can make with your life.

Holy Envy
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Holy Envy

Led by Betsey Poe and Kay Oxford
When: Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30pm, Jan. 19 – Apr. 5
Where: The Escape

Barbara Brown Taylor is a former Episcopal Priest and New Times bestselling author.

In Holy Envy, Barbara Brown Taylor contemplates the myriad ways other people and traditions encounter the Transcendent, both by digging deeper into those traditions herself and by seeing them through her students’ eyes as she sets off with them on field trips to monasteries, temples, and mosques.

Troubled and inspired by what she learns, Taylor returns to her own tradition for guidance, finding new meaning in old teachings that have too often been used to exclude religious strangers instead of embracing the divine challenges they present. Re-imagining some central stories from the religion she knows best, she takes heart in how often God chooses outsiders to teach insiders how out-of-bounds God really is.

Throughout Holy Envy, Taylor weaves together stories from the classroom with reflections on how her own spiritual journey has been complicated and renewed by connecting with people of other traditions—even those whose truths are quite different from hers.  The one constant in her odyssey is the sense that God is the one calling her to disown her version of God—a change that ultimately enriches her faith in other human beings and in God.

Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope
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Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope

Led by Pastor Derek Hickman
When: Thursdays, 6:30-8:00pm, Jan. 20 – Mar. 3
Where: Harris Study, The Church in Aurora

You’d be hard-pressed to overstate the extent to which fear, anxiety, and worry permeate our lives today. Fear wreaks havoc on our relationships and communities. It leads us into making bad decisions. It holds us back from the very pursuits that promise fulfillment and joy.

As the senior pastor of a large, diverse church in America’s heartland, Adam Hamilton has seen the cost of fear up close. When he surveyed his congregation on how fear affects them, 2,400 people responded—and what they said was eye-opening. Eighty percent admitted to living with moderate or significant levels of fear.

Unafraid is Hamilton’s insightful and impassioned response. Drawing on recent research, inspiring real-life examples, and fresh biblical insight, Hamilton uses a mixture of facts and faith to help readers understand and counter fears related to such outsize perils as death and illness, as well as the everyday anxieties all of us encounter. He invites us to:

Face our fears with a bias of hope
Examine our fears in light of the facts
Attack our anxieties with action
Release our cares to God

Writing with generosity and intelligence, Hamilton shows how believer and unbeliever alike can develop sustaining spiritual practices and embrace Jesus’ recurring counsel: “Do not be afraid.” For anyone struggling with fear or wondering how families and communities can thrive in troubled times, Unafraid offers an informed and inspiring message full of practical solutions.