UPDATE: THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR THE JANUARY STORY CURES ONLINE SMALL GROUP IS FRIDAY, JANUARY 5TH. THERE ARE STILL A FEW SPOTS REMAINING!
We hang out on social media platforms because we want to connect with others and their stories. This desire is a good thing. Stories are a good thing. Stories bring us together, help us process our experiences, and introduce us to new ideas. But social media engagement rarely satisfies our longing for deeper connection or greater meaning. Receiving an RT for a witty tweet may provide a momentary connection and a short burst of happy hormones, but those things dissipate quickly.
Ideally, we would all live in the same city and have plenty of time to gather one night every week to explore and discuss stories, reading, writing, creativity, and grace in person, with snacks. But we're scattered all over the country and our schedules probably need less, not more. So I'm turning to technology to help us alleviate the problem of personal connection that technology oftentimes makes so obvious. Using an online small group platform with attention and intention, we can (almost) replicate a small group environment. We can create a space that welcomes conversations about things that matter. We can respond and ask questions at our own pace. We can use more than 280 characters. And we won't be at the mercy of the timeline algorithm gods who decide what we may or may not see on our social media feeds.
The first Story Cures group will meet January 8-February 2 via an online small group platform that allows for content delivery, discussion questions, and comment threads. The theme for January is Beginnings. I will deliver new content every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during those four weeks, and participants can engage the content and others' responses and ideas as little or as much as they want, whenever it's most convenient for them. I will moderate the responses and comments and facilitate the conversations throughout the entire four weeks. I would love for those who are in the group to commit to at least answering the three-to-four questions that are posted each week, but I know we all have those weeks where we have to let go of and ignore anything beyond the essentials. The group is designed to take just 10-15 minutes of participants' time a few days each week. They can engage more or less if they like.
This first group will be limited to 12 people, so please email me at email@example.com as soon as possible to let me know you'd like to register to participate. This is a one-month commitment, and there is no cost to participate. If you're worried that you're "not creative enough" to participate, go on and tell that thought to stike a trot. We are all wired for stories. We all gain things from reading and writing. And we all need the grace that appears in our stories.
Participants for the January 2018 Story Cures small group will receive more details and instructions after they sign up via email. Registration for the February 2018 Story Cures group will open up around the third week of January. The February theme and other pertinent details will be announced first to my newsletter subscribers.
I have a lot of experience coordinating and facilitating small groups and am thrilled to jump back into this work via Story Cures online small groups. I was the small group coordinator for a few years at a former church, and my husband and I led small groups in our home for over 12 years. I have seen really good things happen when people connect in intentional ways through small groups, and I think good things can happen in online small groups, too. I tested the online platform with some friends and was pleased with how the web-based framework is set up.
Have a great weekend and please contact me if you have any questions!