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Kingdom Come: Family

This is a suggestion for how to lead an online Connect Group, based on the talk that Liam Thatcher gave on 29th November. 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)

This term we are thinking and praying about what Jesus’ kingdom come ‘in London as in heaven’ might look like. Each week we’ll be looking at a different aspect of the nature of the King and his kingdom, and this week Liam reminded us that the Kingdom of God is a family, not just in word, but in action. A family to belong to and a family to invite others to. The power of family is one of the most powerful things on earth. 

Liam spoke from this moment in Jesus’ life recorded in Mark 3:31-35:

‘Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”’ (Mark 3:31-35)

Jesus is radically redefining how we think about the people of God. Essentially he is saying that, culturally, our primary allegiance is to our Father and his bloodline, above all other relationships. And we should shape the whole way we do life around that commitment. Spiritually speaking, if people relate to God as Father, that makes them siblings, and therefore worthy of the same level of commitment we would give to a blood relative. Irrespective of whether they are of a different clan… tribe… or nation… if we share one Father, God, we are family.

Liam gave us some questions to ask ourselves that we can talk through with each other now:

  1. When was the last time you shared a meal with someone in the church, in particular someone who’s not naturally part of your friendship circle, or who may be very different from you? When was the last time you hung out with someone from a completely different background to you? A different age bracket, cultural or ethnic background. And just shared life together, as friends, as equals, as siblings. When was the last time you did that with someone at a different stage of life to you?
  2. When was the last time you initiated a conversation that felt like a risk? When was the last time you chose to address something that would have been easier to ignore? Or you made yourself vulnerable to someone? Or you invited someone to give you honest feedback? 
  3. How are we doing at celebrating and mourning together? 

How have the reflections on the above questions gone? What may be particularly striking to you at the moment? How can we as a Connect Group grow in some of these areas?

Prayer (10 mins)

Depending on the way the discussion has gone and how people have responded to the prayer, you may want to open breakout rooms so that you can pray for one another.

Pray the Lord’s prayer together to end: 

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.