Connect Groups – a new way to be church
Life is better when you’re connected to other people. So is church. We have started something new – small groups called Connect Groups! We want to grow and strengthen connections within our church in a casual yet purposeful way. This is an experiment in community growth.
Why Connect Groups?
St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church is growing! We all regularly see people in the pews at church whom we don’t know. We want everyone connected to our community to develop meaningful relationships with God and others beyond Sunday worship, because these relationships strengthen our lives and strengthen our community.
Our Connect Groups are intended to help our growing church feel small by fostering stronger personal relationships. When you join a group, you have the opportunity to get to know each other, talk, share, and care for one another, and apply Christian ideas to the challenges we face in daily life. We’re here together, so let’s grow together!
What are Connect Groups and how does this work?
Connect Groups are small groups that intentionally meet together regularly, at least once a month, for a few months, starting from February and running through April. Groups will be generally formed with 8-12 people who are at a similar stage in life, who have similar family dynamics, or a similar location.
Once we’ve notified you of your group members and their contact information, you self-organize and choose dates to meet. We recommend that you meet casually in each others’ homes or another comfortable location and share some food. It’s OK if your group decides to meet innovatively in other ways. We are sure that our Connect Groups will be as varied as we are!
We’ll offer some getting-started resources, and some discussion topics, but your group can decide what you’ll do when you gather, how to handle child care, etc. Just keep in mind our Connect Groups goal: deeper relationships in a warm and safe environment.
Disclaimer: We are trying something new and want you to come along for the journey. We will in many ways be building this boat while we sail upon it! It’s not “groups like St. Martin’s has done before,” so it requires a leap of faith. It’s intended to get you out of your comfort zone in a purposeful way!
There is so much to be gained by building new friendships! We want you to take the risk, knowing that this journey is not trying to make a forever group. Jesus calls us out of our comfort zones.
I’m not sure. Why should I join a Connect Group?
Connect Groups are for everyone, newcomers and oldtimers alike, the quiet folks who may want to remain anonymous in church, and the people who think they have enough church friends already. When we do life together, our challenges become smaller. God uses others to bring friendship, support, encouragement and even accountability to us, whether we know we need it or not. We all need a community where we have people who care about what’s happening in our messy lives.
The first commandment is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
~Mark 12:29-31, NRSV
Oh, yeah, sign me up!
Simply download this form, fill it out, and bring it with you and put it in the offering plate. We’ll get you connected. If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and someone on our staff will be honored to help you.
Looking to the future
After April, we’ll reflect on our first experiences with connect groups, and with an eye toward what our church needs to build broader and then deeper connections, consider where to go with them!