Part 1

Introduction

Thank you for considering leading a connect group at Home Church.

Connect groups have one, simple purpose: to bring people together.

From the beginning of time it's been obvious we are designed to be in relationship with others. We serve a God who is by His very nature, relational and desires to know us intimately. There are numerous examples of the relational nature of our God throughout the Bible. One is when God desired to be in relationship with His people when He said, “I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people

Lev. 26:12 "I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people."

Another is when God explains it is not good to be alone....

Gen. 2:18 "The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’"

Jesus came to earth to reconcile the relationship between God and us. Jesus was up close and personal with the people He encountered. He was clear in John 13:35 about the fact that our relationship with one another was of upmost importance.

John 13:34-35 ‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’

And then in John 15:13-15 Jesus takes our relationship to a new level and calls us 'friends'....

John 15:13-15 "Greater love has no-one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."

Holy Spirit is also relational.......He lives inside us!

And so we read in Acts chapter 2 that the early church acted upon the words of Jesus and were relationally connected, in unity and met regularly in homes for fellowship, prayer and food.

Acts 2:42-46 "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,.."

It is in Acts 2:42 that we come across the greek word 'Koinonia'. This Greek word that occurs 20 times in the Bible. Koinonia’s primary meaning is “fellowship, sharing in common, communion.

Friendship is a key aspect of the Christian life. Believers in Christ are to come together in love, faith, and encouragement. That is the essence of koinonia.

 

Part 2

The heart of home church

 

Our Purpose...

BELIEVE

We consider reaching people with the good news of Jesus Christ and leading them to a place where they can believe in His name to be one of our greatest responsibilities. We see this in our day-to-day life with those we encounter. Although our weekend services are for people at all stages in their spiritual journey, they will always be relevant to the lost and unchurched.

"You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Acts 1:8 (NIV)

"If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

Romans 10:9 (NIV)

BELONG

God is building a home, a place we can belong, grow in our faith and in relationship with each other. This happens when the welcome is genuine, real friendships are formed and everyone feels at home.

"That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home."

Ephesians 2:19-22 (MSG)

BECOME

The life Jesus has called us to live is an expansive adventure. It's important to remember that Christianity is a lifestyle to be lived. It's a journey we must work on every day. With the help of The Holy Spirit, we can become all God has called us to be.

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

 

Our Values...

GROW 

Commit to seeing our church grow, gathering on Sundays with your church family. Take the opportunity to invite friends from your day-to-day world to come with you and experience the life-changing message of Jesus Christ for themselves.

"I was glad when they said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Psalm 122:1 (NLT)

GROUPS

Commit to being relationally connected and in a small group. We believe it's the best way to build friendships and grow in our relationship with Christ. We encourage you to join a connect group today.

"They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts."

Acts 2:46 (NIV)

GIFTS 

Commit to serving others with your gifts and talents. We believe God has equipped each of us with unique gifts and skill sets. We encourage you to use your talents to serve God's vision through the local church.

"God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another."

1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

GENEROSITY 

Commit to financially supporting the vision of Home Church through tithes and offerings. We count it a privilege to give back to God from that which He has blessed us with.

"One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed."

Proverbs 11:24-25 (NIV)

 

     

    Part 3

    Why Connect Groups?

    Life happens in the context of relationships.

    A place to connect

    It's easy to feel alone in a crowd.  We are a small church with lots of people. Connect groups are an open door into the life of our church family.  When you are part of a smaller group, you experience the love and strength of biblical community.

    "No longer strangers and aliens.." Ephesians chapter 2

    A place to grow

    Connect groups are a place you can be equipped to become more like Jesus and to live a faith-filled life. We believe that every person is created with God-given potential to make a difference in the world. Connect groups are a place where there are like-minded people who believe in you. This is where leaders are developed. We want to see you grow, flourish, and become all that God has called you to be!

    Proverbs 27:17 (NLT) “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

    A place to serve 

    Connect groups are a place you can be equipped to become more like Jesus and to live a faith-filled life. We believe that every person is created with God-given potential to make a difference in the world. Connect groups are a place where there are like-minded people who believe in you. This is how leaders are developed. We want to see you grow, flourish, and become all that God has called you to be!

    Galatians 5:13 "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love."

     

    Part 4

    How Do Connect groups work?

    There are different types of Connect Groups. Is there a book study you'd like to lead. Do you have a passion or interest that could involve others. Would you like to host people in your home?

    Connect Groups meet together for a set length of time throughout the year.

    Groups meet in a 4-month rhythm: Jan-April / May-Aug / Sep-Dec

    Each cycle begins with an empty group and people register for your group at every restart.

    Connect Groups meet frequently - either weekly or fortnightly

    They meet on different days of the week

    They meet at different times of the week

    They meet in homes, coffee shops, in the park etc.

    Each group has a leader - they are supported by their ministry leader who comes alongside to help their group to help it flourish and assist with pastoral care.

    When it is time to launch new groups we promote the groups.

    The leader goes out and gathers people to their group.

     

    Part 5

    15 Do's in Connect Groups

    1. Prepare well.
    2. Invite people to your group.
    3. Email or call the day before your group as a friendly reminder.
    4. Create an inviting and friendly environment (play music, think about the environment)
    5. Have food and snacks available.
    6. Give plenty of time for DISCUSSION. Approximately 70% of the speaking should be from members and 30% from the leader.
    7. Keep the discussion POSITIVE.
    8. Stay on TOPIC. Carefully lead the conversation back to the topic when tangents occur.
    9. Where sensitive issues or complex questions arise in your group, do follow up one-on-one or refer to your ministry leader if necessary.
    10. Steer the discussion in a direction where EVERYONE can participate.
    11. Ideally, men should minister to men and women to women.
    12. Pray for one another.
    13. Encourage people in the 4G’s
    14. Be consistent
    15. Share communion together
     

    Part 6

    15 Donts in Connect Groups

    1. Don't take offerings.
    2. Don't do praise & worship.
    3. Don't try to do a church service.
    4. Don't use unapproved speakers or materials.
    5. Don't get into controversial topics.
    6. Don't entertain a critical or divisive spirit.
    7. Don't allow gossip or disruptive behaviour - it's a privilege to be in your group!
    8. Don't postpone a group meeting without informing your group and ministry leader.
    9. Don't be too intense.
    10. Don't build your own little kingdom - not a platform for your ministry.

     

     

    Part 7

    RESPONSIBILITY OF A LEADER

    A leader is:

    1. A person of character and integrity.
    2. Committed to personal spiritual growth. (a self-feeder)
    3. Supportive of the vision of the church, understanding the purpose of Home Church and embracing the four core values.
    4. Passionate about God and people.

    Practically....

    • Report attendance following each gathering.
    • Refer any pastoral issues to your leader.
    • Grow your group - invite people!
    • Make it a safe and welcoming environment.
     

    Part 8

    Are you ready?

    1. Complete the training.
    2. Decide on a topic/group.
    3. Place to meet.
    4. Familiarise yourself with ChurchSuite.
    5. Gather people.
    6. Pray for your group and help people find friendship.