Introduction to St. John’s Emmanuel Groups
– “…they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
– Matthew 1:23b

1. Biblical basis of Emmanuel Groups
Acts 2:46 (NRSV)
46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and
ate their food with glad and generous hearts, (emphasis mine)
Acts 5:42 (NRSV)
42 And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as
the Messiah. (emphasis mine)
1 Corinthians 16:19 (NRSV)
19 The churches of Asia send greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church
in their house, greet you warmly in the Lord. (emphasis mine)
The “at home” portion in the above readings is highlighted primarily to emphasize
and illustrate the size of the groups of believers that we are talking about here. To function
effectively, most small groups need to range in size from 4 to 10. Ideally, groups ranging in
size from 6-8 function best. (The “home” environment, in a complementary fashion, can
provide a further catalyst by providing the safety and security needed to build close
relationships, and in this way can assist in the growth of healthy and empowering
Emmanuel Groups, but where the group meets is really secondary and optional, compared
to what the group does when it meets!)
2. Philosophy of Emmanuel Groups: the three-legs (“tripod”) of the Christian life
1) my secret life – my daily personal walk with Christ through personal prayer,
study, meditation, fasting, etc.
2) my Sabbath life – my weekly observance of a day devoted to corporate
worship and rest, connecting with the larger congregation through Word
and Sacraments, and taking a break from the routines and
responsibilities that normally preoccupy me the other six days.
3) my fellowship (small group) life – connecting with my brothers and sisters in
Christ in meaningful way (Emmanuel Groups), so that I experience, as
well as help provide others, the support and strength of Christ’s body
on earth:
• To know and be known.
• To love and be loved.
• To celebrate and be celebrated.
Introduction to St. John’s Emmanuel Groups
3. Basic Ground Rules of Emmanuel Groups: (agreed upon by all participants in the
Emmanuel Group; often called a “group covenant”)
a. Anything said in the group is considered confidential and will not be
discussed outside the group unless specific permission is given to do so.
b. We will provide time for each person present to talk and to pray, as he or
she feels comfortable doing so.
c. We will share in the tasks needed to make our group grow and flourish.
d. We will talk about ourselves and our own situations, avoiding conversation
about other people.
e. We will listen attentively and compassionately to each other.
f. We will pray for each other.
g. We will strive to grow and multiply our group.
4. Meeting format:
– three elements:

a. sharing
b. study / Bible application
c. free prayer
5. Logistics decided upon by consensus of the participants:
– day and time of meeting?
(the time each week that everyone can reserve for their group)
– length of meeting = ____ minutes max (usually 60 to 120 minutes)
– where to meet? (most attractive/accessible for all)