A healthy church is always creating spaces where multiplication takes place. Connect groups provide one of those spaces.
By Heber Ticas, Superintendent, Latin America
These past twelve months have been extremely difficult for many people around the globe. The pandemic has claimed many lives and has disrupted the flow of life for all. One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with the pandemic has been the isolation that we have had to endure.
For congregations, it has not been any different. Many of us find it quite challenging to express being the church through virtual means. The inability to come together, worship, and fellowship has fractured the rhythms that we once enjoyed as a church. One of the components of our congregations that I miss the most is our connect groups. While the pandemic has given us the opportunity to take a deeper look at our rhythms and consider a reboot for certain elements of ministry, it has also shown the value of these connect groups.
These groups are a fundamental piece of the faith avenue for any congregation. They afford us the opportunity to grow deeper in our relationships with one another and with the Lord. I believe that connect groups are also the best place for disciple-making to occur, and a great space for developing other leaders. Let’s take a deeper look:
In creating a healthy rhythm of connect groups in a local congregation, I propose it should be done with the following purposes in mind.
- Design the connect group in such a way that it builds up the believer and it creates an environment of community where relationships can be strengthened. There is a space for everyone—where we can lift each other up through the Word and prayer, and we can be part of each other’s life journey in Christian kinship.
- It has often been stated that the ministry avenues are not isolated from each other. There is a symbiotic relationship between the avenues. Connect groups grant us a pathway from the love and hope avenue and into the faith avenue. Let us keep this in mind as we design our connect groups.
- Connect groups afford us a connecting point for new believers. As we live out the love avenue as individuals and as a corporate body, connect groups are a key connecting point where seekers and new believers can experience the intimate element of the body of Christ.
- Connect groups will also serve as an entry point for non-believers into the life of the fellowship. A connect group can become a safer entry point for those who are hesitant to connect with a larger gathering. I would also encourage connect group leaders to always look for ways to connect the small group back to the hope avenue (corporate gathering).
A healthy church is always creating spaces where multiplication takes place. Connect groups are one of those spaces created for greater multiplication.
- This is the best space where multiplying disciples is better attained. The relational nature of a connect group allows for shared life experiences and for a deeper interaction with God’s word. These elements are crucial for the healthy participation in disciple-making.
- A connect group requires the participation of a host and a leader. These are great spaces that afford a healthy church the opportunity to develop and empower emerging leaders.
- Connect groups are not meant to become redundant and stagnant. A healthy connect group will always have multiplication in mind. A healthy connect group leader along with a faith avenue champion, should always have the goal of multiplying the connect group.
It is also important to note that connect groups can be customized to the needs and size of each congregation. As we consider sharpening our focus in the faith avenue, there is freedom in seeking the lead of the Spirit in guiding us as we take initial steps towards greater health.
We have discussed just a few aspects that need to be considered when thinking about connect groups. As I mentioned earlier, this season of pandemic has revealed the need to be in community with one another. It is a good opportunity for the church of Jesus Christ to step up and create these spaces where healthy community can be experienced. I pray that as we begin to restart some aspects of in-person ministry, we are ready to launch healthy connect groups.