Have you heard about our small group movement called: Embrace? Or maybe you’ve heard about it, seen pictures on Instagram or Facebook (click HERE to see Embrace pictures from those using the hashtag #saEmbrace) but you want to know more.
Well here’s the simplest explanation of a very simple concept:
- Embrace is a once a month, discussion based, small group program for women.
- The groups should be no larger than 8 and, if possible, mixed in age.
- Embrace was designed for Salvation Army corps (churches) but we welcome anyone that believes in the concept.
If you’re at a Salvation Army corps we suggest working with your corps officer and/or women’s ministries secretary. Doing this will give you the needed support to be a successful leader or advocate for Embrace. Once you or the designated person registers to be a leader, we will send you a digital tool kit to get you started. (Embrace Campus sign up here.)
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Embrace that you may find helpful:
QUESTION: What does the program for Embrace look like?
ANSWER: Unlike a traditional women’s program that may take place, there is no ‘program.’ There is no craft, there is no giveaway, there is no Bible Study (unless you’re in an Embrace: Campus group). The discussion questions that the leaders receive on the first of the month are the program.
Here’s what a typical Embrace meeting may look like:
- 6pm: Arrive at host home (leader brings four questions)
- 6:15pm sit down for dinner (host provides)
- 6:30pm – Leader introduces the Embrace theme of the month and begins questions. Could simply look like: “Our theme for the month is grace and the first question is…” After that the conversation can flow! Sometimes the conversation doesn’t flow. And that’s ok, too. The group has to get comfortable with one another. It takes time.
- Try to wrap up by 8pm with a prayer.
QUESTION: How long do the groups last for? 4, 6, 9 or 12 months?
ANSWER: Each group, corps, church is unique so the answer may vary. It is helpful to follow the school or your corps program calendar. However, some groups like to meet the entire year, which is great! There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to this question.
Here are a few scenarios:
If your group starts in January, you could meet all the way through August and form new groups (if possible) in September.
If you start in March, April, or May, again, go through August and form new groups (if possible) in September.
If it’s summer time, host an event to promote Embrace, begin meeting in September and go through May.
If it’s October, November, or December, start right away and go through May.
If you are able to use the September – May model, you could use the summer months to meet in a more casual way. Like a BBQ or picnic. If your corps/church has multiple groups, use the summer months to meet all together for a picnic or BBQ.
QUESTION: Is there a Spanish translation of Embrace?
ANSWER: YES! Monthly questions are sent out in both English and Spanish. We are also exploring other translations like Korean and Creole.
QUESTION: How do you chose the groups?
ANSWER: It would be very helpful to have one person overseeing Embrace at your corps. At the corps I attend, the person who organizes the groups approaches certain women to see if they are willing lead a group. She then organizes the sign up process through email and talking to women at the corps. Once all the women from the corps are signed up and the leaders in place, she then starts forming groups. Ideally, there are no more than 6 – 8 women per group with a good balance of age/generations and mix up of friendship groups. Pray over the names first! 🙂
Also, the members are sorted into new groups each year. However, this is optional, depending on the size of your corps and the interest.
QUESTION: When do the groups meet?
ANSWER: The groups meet when it works best for them to meet. A helpful tool to use for this is called Doodle.com. It’s a scheduling tool. Once each person enters their availability by selecting the dates they are free, Doodle tells you what day works best. Or another option is to have the same day every month, like, the second Sunday night of the month. Again each group is unique and should try to accommodate each other.