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Lifeway, Saddleback partner for small group ministry conferences


LAKE FOREST, Calif. (BP) — For some congregations, small group ministry is an answer to a lack of space in the church building. For others, it’s an answer to inviting seekers or new believers into a relatively stress-free setting.

Serendipity by LifeWay, the small group ministry area of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, has joined Saddleback Church to sponsor a series of NEXT small group conferences in 2009.

The first of four conferences was held at Saddleback in Lake Forest, Calif., Feb. 19-21. Others will be April 24-25 at Victory World Church in Atlanta; May 15-16 at Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati; and Sept. 11-12 at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas.

The popularity of small groups is growing in churches across the country, said Rick Howerton, director of training and events for Serendipity by LifeWay. “People live such busy and disjointed lives that they are craving the intimacy the small group offers,” he noted.

Howerton defined a Christian small group as a deliberate face-to-face gathering of three to 12 people who meet regularly and share a common purpose of exploring Christian life, faith, evangelism, and discipleship.