I will powre water vpon him that is thirstie, and floods vpon the dry
ground: I will powre my spirit vpon thy seede, and my blessing
vpon thine offspring. And they shall spring vp as among the grasse, as willowes by the water courses.
--Ifaiah XLIIII: 3-4, 1611 Authorized Version
So you want to start a worship group!
There are lots of reasons that one person or several might want to start a worship group:
Attenders of established meetings move away from their old
meetings and want to worship with like-minded people in their new home.
New seekers discover Quakerism and want to form a meeting where they currently live.
Attenders of established pastoral or non-Christian meetings
decide to form a Conservative group to meet in addition to their
At Ohio Yearly Meeting, we welcome every new member of the Body of
Christ, and look forward to worship groups growing and taking on new
members as they mature. As the worship group grows, it will
eventually take on more responsibility, until it becomes a full-fledged
Monthly Meeting on its own. The process is easy. Heres how:
1. Contact us.
Contact the OYM Correspondent (see below) for a copy of our Discipline
and our most recent Annual Yearly Meeting Minutes. Visit our web
and read about us. See if what we are is what you want to be
associated with. There is a list of existing meetings of Ohio
Yearly Meeting on our How to Find Us
page. Contact one geographically closest to you, if
possible. Ideally, there will be physical visits, and gasoline
isn't cheap. Our procedure is for new worship groups to affiliate
formally with an existing host Monthly Meeting. You won't owe us
anything, but we can visit, offer advice, introduce you to
organizations that share your concerns, show you how to solve logistic
problems you may not have anticipated, and hopefully provide you with
an umbrella organization made up of interested people, including other
worship groups. You don't have to figure out all the details alone.
2. Gather several people together.
A meeting of one person can survive and grow, but it's not as easy or
fun. Find some like-minded people. If you are thinking
about forming a worship group, chances are good that several of you
already have the same idea. Ask around your current church or
meeting. Put up a flyer in the supermarket. Place an ad in the
Yellow Pages or the local paper--sometimes they're free. You
dont have to have many people, but it helps a lot to have fellow
travelers on this journey.
3. Pick a place to meet.
You can meet anywhere you want. The original Friends began by
meeting at people's houses. A circle of chairs in a living room
is a fine place to begin. It doesn't have to be fancy, it doesn't
have to be permanent, and it doesn't need much preparation. Don't
let not having an ideal place to meet for an hour or so prevent you
from doing it. Jesus met with his disciples in borrowed rooms and
Possible places to meet include public halls you can rent, conference
rooms where you work, church meeting rooms, or under a tree in your
backyard. As more people are attracted to your meeting, more
possibilities will appear.
4. Pick a consistent schedule.
This is fairly important. Decide whether you want to meet weekly,
every other week, monthly, or whatever, and pick a starting time.
Some people meet after their regular meeting or church service.
Others pick some other day. The reason it is important is because
to be successful, the meeting must be held consistently. You
can't put up a note advertising a weekly meeting and then not be there
when an interested stranger shows up. And if you want the worship
group to grow and mature into an established and independent expression
of the Body of Christ, then the sooner everybody fits it into their
routine the better. It's very hard for a worship group with an
irregular schedule to take off.
5. Just do it!
Just meet. Show up and sit down, and let Jesus do his part.
Concentrate on listening to God. This is the whole point of the
operation, so just do it. Some worship groups make a shared meal
a part of their regular worship. Perhaps a potluck or a picnic
works for you too.
Often worship groups and meetings meet together for camping
trips, religious retreats, or other joint activities. This is
important in Quakerism, which is focused on the meeting community as a
body with close physical, religious, and social connections. The
members of your meeting are committing themselves to making their
religious journey in your company--take them seriously, and enjoy being
6. That's it!
Not really. But almost. By affiliating with an existing
meeting, you can be welcomed into our community without a great deal of
difficulty. Choose someone to act as a correspondent, and buy a
cheap briefcase to keep any letters or papers in. When you decide
that the time is right to cease being a worship group, and start
calling yourself a Monthly Meeting, you can name someone officially as
Clerk. Until then, don't worry much about business meetings and
such. Just keep whatever records are useful: a contact list with
names and telephone numbers, letters you have sent and received, that
sort of thing.
It may be several years before you decide that your worship group is
stable enough to become an official Meeting, or it may be much
quicker. Your contacts within your host Meeting can help you
discern when the time is right. Don't worry about how many of you
there are, if you can manage regular meetings. Don't worry about
permanent places to meet--that can come later. The important
thing is to give Jesus a regular and sincere window into you for the
Light to shine through. Do that, and he can do the rest.