Church at home

We will not be meeting in person at any of our services during March. Instead, we'd love you to join us online to watch Church at home here

Kingdom Come: Calling

This is a suggestion for how to lead an online Connect Group, based on the talk that Liam Thatcher gave on September 6th. It lasts around 80 minutes, but feel free to extend sections, remove sections, add your own or just do your own thing entirely! Whatever works best for you and your group. 

The discussion questions and reflections will work without having listened to the talk, but if you are going to use them you may want to watch the talk before you meet.

Welcome & Prayer (5 mins)

Welcome everyone to the group and remind people of the following: 

  • As a general rule it’s helpful to keep your mic muted unless you’re talking to reduce background noise. 
  • During the discussion if you want to speak, raise a hand and I’ll throw the conversation to you. 
  • We’ll be using the chat function to post links, quotes, Bible verses and prayer requests. 

Start your time together by praying, thanking God for the opportunity to be together and asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together (you may want to ask someone else to pray). 

Gratitude & Challenges (15-25 mins)

Ask everyone to introduce themselves and share one thing from the last week they are grateful for, and one thing they are finding particularly challenging. 

Don’t forget to make it clear who is to share next, and to let people know they can pass if they want to. 

Overview & Group discussion (30 mins)

On Sunday Liam started our new teaching series ‘Kingdom Come’ by looking at the story of Peter found in Luke 5:1-11. 

The people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Liam talked about how the call of the Kingdom is a call we receive, and a call that we share. Jesus calls each of us to be part of his Kingdom movement – God’s plan for reconciling men and women back to their creator. 

Encountering Jesus – the King of the Kingdom – changes everything for Simon Peter. In receiving the things he thought would fulfil him, he realises there’s so much more. He has spiritual needs. His internal life needs to be transformed. He is a sinner in need of forgiveness. He realises he’s not worthy to be in the presence of God himself… but Jesus says “Don’t be afraid.” And he draws him into relationship. He gives him a new calling and purpose. And Simon realises this is what he’s been longing for. And he’s willing to give up everything to be part of Jesus’ Kingdom. 

Jesus gives Simon Peter a new calling, which is to take his old passion for fishing and apply it to the Kingdom. To be fishers of people… to draw men and women to Jesus, so they can receive the same fullness of life that Simon has experienced himself. 

The same is true for us. For us to be fruitful in evangelism more than anything else, is not a new strategy, or clever new ways of portraying the gospel, important though those things are. Simon responded to Jesus instruction to lower the nets again and he brought in the biggest catch! Simon needed to do it, but it was the presence of Jesus that made the difference! The biggest factor in our lives is this: are we obedient to Jesus and empowered by his presence?

As always, the questions below are intended as conversation starters… we’re not here to simply study the Bible, but to allow it to form and shape us and lead us, so if you only sit with one question, or you talk through all of them and then more, then great, wherever God is drawing you to this week, then follow Him! 

  •  What connected with you about Liam’s talk?
  •  Where do you sense God drawing your attention? 
  •  Do you understand that you have been called, just as Simon was?
  • What difference does it make to our everyday when we understand the calling we have received and the calling we have to share this with those in our world?
  • Liam asked us to reflect upon 4 things and choose one as an action this week:

    • Invite someone to church
    • Invite someone to STEPS or the Managing Stress seminar
    • Invite someone to Alpha.
    • Get involved in running Alpha

What will you do? 

Meditation (5 mins)

You may want to encourage people to close their eyes, sit up straight in their chairs, place their palms face up on their knees/table and concentrate on their breathing – breathe in for 3 seconds, then out for 3 seconds (people may feel more comfortable doing this if their video feed is turned off). 

Reflect on these words of Jesus recorded in John 15:

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. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Prayer (20 mins)

Move into a time of prayer for people we know, for our city and this nation, for the church – that we understand the call that we have on our lives for the glory of God!