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Green Men invading Manteca
Part of small group synergy conference at Crossroads
Green Man Group actors Bret Patterson, left, and Derek Lackey are ready to tape a video for Saturday’s conference at Crossroads Grace Community Church. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: Synergy/Annual Small Group Conference
• WHERE: Crossroads Grace Community Church, 1505 Moffat Blvd.
• WHEN: Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• COST: $49 at the door
• MORE INFO: Call 239-5566

Manteca is being invaded by green men Saturday.

They’re not Martians, though. They are actors playing “Green Men” at the Synergy/Annual Small Group Conference hosted by Crossroads Grace Community Church, 1505 Moffat Blvd.

The Green Man Group – a take-off on the Blue Man Group – are being used to demonstrate what a person attending a small church study group feels like when they aren’t taken into the group and before they become part of it. They lose their greenness as they become more human and start interacting with others.

The Green Men will appear live and in taped segments to help drive home the main point of the conference of finding ways to engage members of small groups so they can learn more about their faith and themselves.

This is the second time Crossroads has hosted the conference. Last year, 250 were in attendance. This year the all-day seminar starts Saturday at 9 a.m. and runs until 3:30 p.m. There are already 415 people registered from churches as far away as Bakersfield, Sonora, El Dorado Hills, and Berkeley with walk-in registration expected to swell the number to 450. Eight volunteers are helping stage the seminar.

The keynote speaker is Steve Gladen of the Saddleback Church in Southern California that is led by Pastor Rick Warren. Gladen is the minister in charge of small group worship. Saddleback has 4,000 such groups operating. There are also other speakers.

The cost is $49 to register.
Crossroads Pastor of Spiritual Formation Ed Applegate, who is coordinating the conference, noted that the small worship groups that meet in clusters as small as eight are critical to individuals being able to fully embrace their faith and learn more about how people interact as Christians.

“During Sunday services when you meet as a group to worship you are led by an individual who usually has an amazing gift of delivery and is a devoted and knowledgeable student of his faith,” Applegate said.

Small group gatherings typically during the week allow individuals to connect and learn more about the Bible, God, the church, and their community.

“Sunday is more of a monologue and small groups are more of a dialogue,” Applegate said.

The goal of the conference is to help people who are facilitating groups to learn ways of drawing people out and to maximize the experience of those involved.

The Green Men on Saturday will have one of their ranks lose their greenness and become more human as they are drawn more and more into being an active participant of their group.

For more information call Crossroads at 239-5566.