As a church, we believe that just as you need to eat more than one meal a week to be physically healthy, so you need more in your spiritual diet than just Sunday mornings. Therefore, we will make sure that people have resources in their hands to help them grow: Bible reading programs, recommended book and podcast lists, worship resources and the like.
We will also run a variety of midweek groups; each one slightly different and yet with similar purposes. Connect Groups are primarily for fellowship: for forming deeper friendships than you can through Sunday morning interaction. The aim is that people can learn together, grow together, do life together, become accountable to one another and pastorally care for each other. In fact, Connect Groups are the central part of our pastoral care structure. If you have a problem or a need, if you miss church for a few weeks, if you’re ill or in hospital, then your Connect Group friends will be the first to your side.
Additionally, Connect Groups are there to serve a discipleship function, as people read books together, study the Bible, review and discuss the current Sunday morning series, discuss and pray through the affairs of life.
They also can have an outreach dimension, particularly using social events to draw in spouses, neighbours and those new to the Church.
The bottom-line is that Connect Groups are a significant part of our discipleship process and the aim is to have a network of groups meeting across the region. Our hope is that everyone will be part of some form of Connect Group.
To help facilitate that we offer a varied and flexible selection of groups. Some meet midweek regularly in people’s homes, others less formally and more flexibly. Groups may be weekly, fortnightly or even monthly or miscellaneously. They may be day-time or evening. They may be men or women only, couples, age-specific or a cross-section. The majority are open to new members. Some are a group of friends who have chosen to meet together for a specific purpose. They could, for example, meet monthly for coffee, share prayer requests regularly by text and email, study a book together, meet to watch a DVD teaching series, play golf occasionally. There are guidelines, but there are no rules, per se.
Our value is that the Church should grow bigger and smaller at the same time: that as our Sunday services grow larger, we also have an increasing number of smaller gatherings, meetings and friendships developing. We are aware that people’s lives are busy. We also don’t want to unnecessarily fill everyone’s time with more and more meetings. However, Christianity is relational and there is great richness in learning, growing and sharing together.
JOINING CONNECT GROUPS
There are various ways people can make the connection into a Connect Group. As a starting point, group leaders and locations are listed on the website and a full list is also available in printed form at the back of the church. Please feel free to introduce yourself to any Connect Group leader or speak to one of the leaders if you'd like help in finding the right place for you.
Here is the link to a complete list of all the groups, with summary details and contact information.