Parish Groups at Advent

We believe that the five values of Advent Houston are best lived out in intentional, deep relationships with the people God brings into our lives. Connecting with others at church on Sundays is great, but the environment isn’t always conducive to getting to know others or to be known by them. Therefore, we hope that every member and regular attender of Advent Houston will join a Parish Group.

The word "Parish" is an ancient English word that comes from the Greek word "paroikos," which means "dwelling beside." Broken up into its two parts, "para" means beside or near, and "oikos" means house. Over time, the word was used as a way to divide up the township or countryside into districts that the church would shepherd.

In The Message Eugene Peterson translates John 1:14 this way: "the Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood." This translation captures beautifully a belief we share: that discipleship and mission are tied together. We grow in our relationship with God and with one another as we follow Jesus, together with our neighbors, in faith. And so, we want to “dwell beside” one another, and we think that the word "parish" really captures that desire.

Defining Characteristics of a Parish Group

Each Parish Group is oriented UP, IN, and OUT* .


The group is oriented around their vertical relationship with God. So, members of a Parish Group will read and discuss God's word, learning together more about what it means to embrace and embody God’s Word in their lives (i.e. live out God’s Word). Together they will pray and worship the Savior.


Our growing relationship with God calls us to grow closer to one another as we embrace, embody, and extend God’s grace to each other. Each Parish Group will seek to build care and community in each other’s lives.


Part of loving God and loving each other is encouraging each other to pay attention to where God has placed each of us. In addition to inviting others to join us—to come “in” to our group—we want to move out into our neighborhoods, jobs, and other places that are part of our day-to-day lives, always asking "where can we embody and extend the grace of Jesus Christ" today.
All Parish Groups are open, and all parish groups strive to multiply over a two-year period.

Practices of a Parish Group

1. Word & Prayer
2. Food
3. Fun
4. care

Over time, we want each Parish Group to engage in these practices together and to spur one another on to individual spiritual practices as part of developing good rhythms of embodying God’s grace. When needed, Parish Groups should organize meal trains or care teams for members. 

*We are grateful to the insights of Mike Breen and his book Building A Discipling Culture

Join a Parish Group

Parish Groups are the primary avenue for spiritual formation, discipleship, fellowship, and mission at Advent Houston, so we strongly encourage every Advent member or regular attender to join one.

Parish Groups are all co-ed with mixed life stages, so please join the group that is convenient for you in terms of location and day/time. Current times and locations of our active Parish Groups are available online. For events based on affinity or life-stage, please see our Events page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I join a Parish Group? 
Parish Groups are one of the best ways to live out the values of Advent Houston, especially our desire to make and form disciples in everyday spaces of life. Parish Groups allow us to create spaces of hospitality and belonging outside of our Sunday services and are the primary avenue for us to grow in our knowledge and love of Jesus, one another, and others in his world. 
Which Parish Group should I join? 
Although it can be valuable to connect with others who are in a similar life-stage to you or who share similar interests to you, we also believe that we learn best from a variety of people. And, as Football Coach Bill Parcells said, “the best ability is availability.” Therefore, you should join the Parish Group that meets in a location and on a day/time that is convenient for you. 
Do I have to attend Parish Group meetings every week? 
In order to get the benefit of developing deep, intentional relationships where you can know others and be known by them, we encourage you to prioritize attending Parish Groups as regularly as your schedule allows. We know that life is busy, though, and many of our members work irregular hours, so don’t let your inability to attend weekly keep you from joining a group.  
Is childcare provided for Parish Groups? We love children at Advent Houston, but we recognize that sometimes their joyful noises can inhibit intentional discussions, the lifeblood of Parish Groups. Therefore, we reimburse up to $120 a month for childcare for each Parish Group. Parish Groups are responsible for coordinating childcare for their group.  
What size are Parish Groups? 
All Parish Groups are open, so the size might vary from week to week. Ideally, Parish Groups will be 8-12 adults. If your group is regularly larger than that, we encourage you to to talk with your group about multiplying to start a new group. All Parish Groups strive to multiply over a two year period. 
Where do Parish Groups meet?
Ideally, Parish Groups will meet in members’ homes. We encourage you to set up a rotation for hosting so that more than one member/family shares in hosting. If hosting Parish Groups in members’ homes is not feasible for your group, consider seeking out a common location like a restaurant, coffee shop, or park.