Before we consider some reasons for why we value connect groups, what exactly are they?
At Parramatta Christian Church, connect groups are small groups of about 6-12 people who meet fortnightly to eat together, pray together, worship God together, reflect on the Bible together, and encourage one another whilst being on mission together.
So why do we prize Connect Groups so highly? Here are four reasons drawn from Scripture.
An Ideal Environment for Growing in Christian Maturity
Growing in Christian maturity means to increasingly be freed from the power of sin whilst becoming more and more like Jesus in our everyday lives (see 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 5:23). The Bible makes clear that although we each have a responsibility to become more like Jesus, growing in Christian maturity is very much a community project.
Proverbs 27:17 – “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Connect Groups provide the encouragement, correction, and accountability that stimulates Christlikeness whilst also keeping us from drifting from the faith (see Hebrews 3:12-13 & Colossians 1:28).
A Special Type of Care – Mutual, Pastoral Care
This principle is derived from 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul urges us to have “…equal concern for each other” (v. 25). The New Testament is littered with what have been called the ‘one another’ verses (see 1 Thess. 5:11; Hebrews 10:24-25; John 13:34-35). These verses encourage us to actively be in each other’s lives so as to promote the kind of mutual care that we all need if we’re going to flourish in our broken world. As these verses cannot be obeyed in isolation, Connect Groups provide the perfect context for the ‘one another’ verses to be expressed and experienced.
An Ideal Context for Fellowship to Happen
Describing the defining characteristics of the early church, Luke includes these insightful words: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship…” (Acts 2:42).
Fellowship is a special kind of relational experience that only Christians can enjoy. In his book Why Small Groups? pastor and author C. J. Mahaney writes: “Nothing can compare to the fellowship we enjoy when we worship together, encourage and correct each other, and communicate to one another our current experience of God.” This is one of the main reasons why we value Connect Groups at PCC – they can become a foretaste of what our relationships will be like on the New Earth (see Revelation 21:3-4).
An Ideal Context for Expressing the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
According to the New Testament, God has given spiritual gifts to every born-again believer: A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other – 1 Corinthians 12:7 NLT. God has granted us his supernatural abilities so that we will use them for the building up of his people and for the advancement of his kingdom. Connect Groups are the ideal place for the expression of these gifts! It is in the context of connect group where we are to experience the love, healing, and transforming power of God as the Holy Spirit moves through his anointed people.
PUTTING INTO PRACTICE…
So, for these four main reasons – growth in Christlikeness; mutual support; fellowship;
spiritual gifts – we strongly value Connect Groups. If you’re not currently in a Connect Group,
why not consider joining one?
If you would like to join a Connect Group, please fill out a Connect Card at church, or contact the church office.