Sunday, May 8, 2011

Skype Covenant Group

I'm a member of a covenant group that meets using Skype's group video application.  We are all in the Nebraska Annual Conference, and this format allows the five of us to continue meeting no matter where in the State the Cabinet might send us.  At times there are technological glitches that interfere with our conversation, but on the whole this group does fill a need I've felt ever since reading Dick Wills' book, Waking to God's Dream.

Before he became a UM bishop, Dick was the pastor of church that organized its adult members into accountability groups.  The rule that governed group discussions was simple: identify a spiritual practice that you want to observe and for which you want the group to hold you accountable.  Each group member picked a discipline (prayer, reading scripture, fasting, visiting the sick, etc.) and, at the next meeting, everyone reported on their efforts to engage in regular spiritual exercises.

This isn't the Methodist General Rules (Using the Ordinances was discussed but not Do No Harm and Do Good).  Bishop Wills argues that his format is more democratic and that's why he prefers it for an American congregation.  I think the Bishop's model is great for beginners, those who are new to accountability groups.  His groups can be a way to introduce Wesley's concept of the Means of Grace to a congregation.

The Skype group was organized in March so we're still getting used to each other and this method of covenanting.  We have a Facebook group page that allows us to stay in touch with one another outside of the Skype sessions.  I'm curious if anyone else uses technology in connection with a Discipleship group and what the experience has been like.


Craig L. Adams said...

What a wonderful idea.

LA said...

UMC article on starting online Bible Study