Over the past several months you have heard us push Connect Groups. Pastor Jake even wrote an article in the March newsletter. Honestly, this idea is not a new one here at our church. On one level, Connect Groups are sort of a re-branding of what we have been doing with Bible studies and Sunday Schools, and on another, it is a new way to think about how to do those things. We are strategically placing Connect Groups at the center of our identity as a church. I thought it might be a good idea to explain why and how we view these groups as such a big piece of who we are.
First, Connect Groups are the central tool for shepherding and care for every member of SCC. This is actually a very important Biblical command to the church. Remember when Jesus was talking to Peter after he had risen from the dead and told him to feed his sheep (John 21:17). The church is charged with caring for the whole body of Christ without letting anyone slip through the cracks. Shepherding is one of the most rewarding parts of church community, but it is also one of the most frustrating. That is the emphasis behind the Acts 6 narrative. As the church grew, they began to struggle to shepherd everyone well. Our Connect Groups serve as smaller shepherding units within the whole body. This is important because it ensures that everyone’s needs are heard and not overlooked. Ultimately, this is how the church can handle growth without abandoning our responsibility to love and care for every member. We shepherd well through Connect Groups.
Second, Connect Groups are a central tool for growth and discipleship. As you might expect, Connect Groups teach and discuss Scripture. Ephesians 4 commands the church to “Equip the saints”. There are several aspects of the church that serve in growing and discipling believers. The pulpit has a unique role of teaching the church as a whole, while Connect Groups powerfully grow and disciple members through intimate relationships, and practical application. This is where faith comes alive and powerful testimonies are heard. When we live our faith together, we are challenged biblically to grow and live a vibrant life for Christ. Connect Groups provide us with the opportunity to make growth and discipleship a regular part of our family.
Third, Connect Groups are community focused on Gospel ministry. Let’s face it, when we allow people to invest in our lives and even hold us accountable, we become personally saturated with God’s Word and convicted to live out our ministry call. Yes, we are all called to the great work of Gospel saturation. At the end of Matthew 28, we see that Jesus commands His followers to take the Gospel to every nation. At the beginning of Acts, Jesus repeats this command by calling His followers to be His witnesses everywhere. The community and excitement associated with a Connect Group family is contagious and draws others into that family. Also, Connect Groups exist to help facilitate our connection with the Gospel ministry all around us. Sometimes believers struggle to find out how they fit into the kingdom work. We want connect groups to help connect our community to the ministry work needed for the spread of the Gospel. Connect Groups play a vital role in connecting the body to the work of the Gospel.
You will certainly hear more about Connect Groups as the months and years go by. We desire for every member of this church to be in a Connect Group in order that they might experience all the things above. We want to do church community well and we are convinced this is the right emphasis for SCC. Please don’t waste any time. Get plugged in today.