Sharing your life with fellow believers is called fellowship. St. John writes, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). When believers are united to God, they are inevitably united to one another also.
This is necessary. God did not design human beings to face life on their own. Instead, he intended believers to be woven together in a community so that they might encourage one another as together they walk the often difficult path of life. Consider these words of direction from the Scriptures, intended for all Christians:
· Be devoted to one another in love. (Romans 12:10)
· Encourage one another and build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
· Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)
· Offer hospitality to one another. (1 Peter 4:9)
Connect Groups are a way for our Redeemer family to carry out our mission to Gather, Grow, and Go to the Glory of God. All three goals of our mission can be met by Connect groups, especially our goal to Gather.
We want Connect Groups to grow into a vital part of our ministry at Redeemer. We want to be more than a friendly church. We want to be a church of friends. Connect groups are one place where friendships are made.
Connect groups are almost entirely led and conducted by the congregation members. The pastors don’t run the Connect groups. The pastors don’t plan the Connect groups. The pastors will provide a little training for Connect Group leaders and help plan content for Bible studies. But for the most part, this is pure member ministry.
THREE TYPES OF CONNECT GROUPS
Study Groups are comprised of Christians who want to gather for the spiritual study produced by Bible study and devotion. They take St. Peter’s words to heart: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
These Bible studies differ from Sunday morning Bible study. They are more discussion-oriented. Study group members take portions of God’s Word and apply them to their lives. There is no “teacher” in study groups. There is a facilitator who keeps the discussion moving and focused on the topic of the day.
Of the three types of Connect groups, Study groups are the only type where the pastor helps the leaders prepare. If you would like to be a study group leader, a pastor will help you find appropriate and meaningful Bible study materials.
SERVICE GROUPS are comprised of Christians who want to serve either Redeemer or the community in some way. They understand that faith-wrought service gives a type of testimony, just as Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Service groups identify a way that they could serve the church in general, or serve specific people/groups within the church, or serve a segment of the community.
Some examples of service groups: a group that meets at an assisted living center to socialize with the residents; a group that meets at elderly or sick members’ homes to do yard work; a group that supports foster families within and outside the congregation.
SOCIAL GROUPS are comprised of Christians who want to gather for some recreational fellowship. They understand that just as God rested from his labor (Genesis 2:2), so also people will rest from time to time. We need to rest and recharge intellectually and emotionally so that after that rest we might resume serving our God with vigor.
Examples of social groups: a group that plays golf once a week; a group that discusses a book which the entire group has read; a group that plays Sheepshead/Euchre once a month; a one-time trip to a Brewers game with tailgating.
PLANNING & PROMOTION
Our summer Connect Groups will be preceded by the planning period during May. Start planning what type of Connect group it is, who it’s for, how often it’s going to meet, where it meets, etc. You put this information on a Connect planning form, which will be available on this page by the end of the day of May 9th.
The information for your and all the other Connect groups will be published, both in print and online. People will enroll by contacting you, the group facilitator.
Interested in starting a Connect Group? Answer the following questions:
1. Are you going to facilitate a Study Group, a Service Group, or a Social Group?
2. How often is the Connect group going to meet?
3. When is the Connect group going to meet?
4. For how long will your Connect group meet when it assembles?
5. Where is the Connect group going to meet?
6. For whom is the Connect group intended?
7. What are the costs (or potential costs) of participation in the Connect group?
8. What is your Connect Group called?
When Will These Groups Start?
The next round of Connect Groups will begin after the Memorial Day holiday and run through the summer. We will provide information to our members at the end of May with a summary and schedule of the new groups that are forming. Please contact Glenn Cederholm, chairman of our Adult Discipleship Board at 920-251-7028 for more information.