This Is How I Small Group is a periodic series getting to know members of the small group. Some will have decades of experience, others will be brand new to small group ministry. Each one has a unique perspective that makes them invaluable to their church and to the small group network.
- Name: Ashley Calabro
- Current town: Easley, SC
- Current church: 5 Point Church
- Current job title: Life Group Coordinator
- How long you’ve been in that role: Unofficially, since Aug 2020. Officially, since October 2021
- One word that describes how you work: Diligently
Q. You mentioned when we reached out that you are pretty new in your current role. How did you come to be here?
A. My background is actually that of a worship leader. I went to school for Music and Worship Leadership, so I have spent a long time thinking through my philosophy of worship, and Sunday service production in general. At my previous church, I was primarily involved in worship and production; I also did some work in the Life Group ministry but not much. When I applied to work at my current church, their need to see the Life Group ministry taken to the next level and my passion for people and discipleship resulted in me becoming the new Life Group Coordinator.
Q. What does a typical work day look like for you?
A. The first thing we do every work day as a staff here at 5 Point is go through a few chapters of the Bible together, and a designated staff member will share a thought from one of the passages we read. After that, depending on the day, I’ll either have a one on one meeting with my direct supervisor or a group meeting with the department I work with. Most of our meetings take place in the mornings. After meetings, I look at my calendar for the day and begin to sort out what is time sensitive and what isn’t. Most days, though, are interrupted by something totally unplanned, because well….this is ministry!
Q. What about groups ministry have you been the most fulfilled by?
A. The most fulfilling part of Groups ministry has been seeing people take next steps because of their life group or through their life group. Baptisms, deciding to start tithing, coming to church more often, reading their Bible every day…all because it was talked about at Life Group and it was done in community!
Q. What tools, apps, subscriptions, etc are most helpful to you?
A. I practically cannot do work without my planner – it is an old fashioned, paper one, but one that has lots of room for each day of the week and boxes to check next to each line. Those checkboxes are KEY. For encouragement and inspiration I find myself on the Small Group Network FB page a lot and their podcast.
Q. What are your best work tips or productivity hacks?
Probably one of my best time management tips is setting Screen Time Restrictions on my social apps. I keep the apps completely inaccessible unless I need to look something up, in which case I unlock the app I need for 15 minutes, and then I go back to doing something important and mindful again. I work in an open office setting, so there is no shutting doors when I’m in the zone – headphones have been amazing when I needed to write curriculum, studies, messages etc. When I need some serious inspiration though, I work in another room at the church or I work off site for a couple of hours to completely switch the scenery around me.
Q. What have been your biggest questions since you began your role and how would you say they’ve been answered?
I’ve been implementing some new concepts and processes, and I’ve had lots of questions about how to build a framework seemingly from scratch; looking up the best books that talk about what I’m doing and looking at churches and how they deal with the same issues has been amazing! Lots of answers have been answered in community or relationship with others.
Q. What is your current biggest struggle?
My biggest struggle currently is my tendency to put the cart before the horse; I have big dreams for this ministry, but I don’t have the coaches in place yet to help me pull those dreams through and sustain them over time. With that, because I’ve shared new vision and new processes, I’m struggling to figure out who could be a good coach – because the vision is so new It’s going to take time to see who truly gets it.
Q. Would you describe yourself as more of a processes person, or strategy/ideas person, or something else?
I would say I’m more of a process person; I have big ideas and big vision, but my first step anytime I step into something new is to either implement, change or better the process.
Q. Are you currently in a small group, and if so, what makes your small group unique?
I currently lead a small group of adults 25-30 who are unmarried; this makes the group unique because our church is struggling when it comes to this age range and marital status. A group I am a part of is our Young Adults ministry – this one is unique because it ranges between ages 18-24, so needless to say, there are all stages of life as a part of it, yet we all share very similar struggles.
Q. In your short time in your role, what are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the relationships I have built; I can name Life Group facilitators right now who I know trust me and believe in me and support what I say because of our relationship.
Q. If you could offer someone starting day one as a small group point person, 1 piece of advice, what would it be?
In order to be a leader, you need a following! Start by building relationships and listen to people first. They will tell you where the needs are, it is on you to prioritize their needs over your plans.
Q. Who would you most like to see answer these questions (either because you want to know what they have to say or because you think everyone else should hear what they have to say)
I’d love to hear Rick Warren answer these questions!! I know all of us could learn something from him.