Connect Group resource for Week of Monday 1st June
This is a suggestion for how to lead an online Connect Group, based on the talk that Ele Mumford gave on Sunday 31st May. 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 send out the following link to your group so they can listen/watch before you meet:
Information for Connect Groups
- Please remind your groups to sign up for our new weekly email: christchurchlondon.org/subscribe
- For suggestions of how you and your group can practically help your neighbours and city, head over to our new Caring for our City page.
Tips for hosting Connect Group online
- Make sure you are online a few minutes before the start of the group so that you are there to welcome people as they arrive.
- If you have a lot of people in the group, you may want to ask everyone to keep their mic muted unless they are talking in order to keep background noise to a minimum.
- In the Gratitude & Concerns round where you want everyone to speak in turn you will need to let people know who is next. We’ve found it helpful to be very active in directing this, and to ask people to end with something like ‘Thanks for letting me share’ (very STEPS!) so you know when they are finished:
- Group Leader: ‘X is next then Y.”
- X: “… thanks for letting me share.”
- Group Leader: “Thanks for sharing X. Y is next then Z”.
- Just make it clear that people are welcome to say ‘pass’ if they’d rather not share.
- If your group is small enough, during the discussion you may want to suggest people unmute their mics so they can jump in when they want. This will help discussion flow more easily. With large groups you may need to keep people’s mics muted unless they are talking. This will take more active moderation – we’ve found it helpful to ask people to raise their hand when they want to speak, then wait for the moderator to bring them into the conversation.
- If your platform has a chat function, make use of that by pasting discussion questions, relevant quotes or Bible verses, and the links to the talk. You may also want to ask people to write their prayer requests, which could be emailed around after the meeting.
- Have the link for your next group available to share.
- You might also want to think about planning a short group chat either directly before or after one of the services as a way of offering another touch point for your group and to make it feel like you’re ‘going to church together.’
Note: Read out everything in italics. You may want to post these in the chat too.
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 (20 mins)
These are excerpts and main points from Ele’s talk. There are a few questions for each point to help the discussion flow but don’t feel you need to answer all of them, just go with where the conversation flows in your group!
Ele spoke about the gift of Pentecost, specifically remembering that it’s when :
- The Holy Spirit was poured out
- The Gospel was preached
- The church was born
What a day! What a story we are part of!
Work through these discussion questions:
- What are you grateful to the Holy Spirit for? How has the Holy Spirit changed/is changing your life?
- Do you leak?! How are you filled each day? What has this stirred you to pray for?
- What stands out to you from Peter’s message? How do you ‘preach the Gospel’ in different ways when you’re Spirit-filled (through words, actions, conversations, or care?) Encourage each other with what you have seen God do when you have stepped out in faith.
- Are there areas of life where you know the Holy Spirit is drawing you to point people to Jesus and you would love others to encourage and pray with you in this? Share together.
- What do we mean when we say – the church was born? What happened? What marked them as the church? What can that teach/remind us of as the same church thousands of years later?
Meditation (5 mins)
Before praying, take a moment to remember who you are praying to. 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).
We are told in the Bible that God is a good Father who loves to give the gift of the Holy Spirit to His children: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)
Invite people to receive prayer to be filled with the Holy Spirit – the comforter, helper, and giver of power. (You may find it helpful to go into breakout rooms to pray in smaller groups, or stay together and pray for everyone.) Invite everyone to be still and receive, and as a leader, you pray for those who would like to receive, ask people if they’re sensing anything, and pray into how God is leading you.
It can sometime work better over Zoom to keep these times clear and simple: e.g, ask ‘come Holy Spirit’, thank God that He loves to give us His Spirit, and invite people to open their hearts to Him. Some may ‘feel’ Him, some may not, but trust that He is present with people… invite people to ask the Holy Spirit to fill them each day, and to live from His overflow… and reflect on this next week!
Prayer (10 mins)
Move into a time of petitionary and intercessory prayer:
Our church community
You may want to take specific prayer requests – if the platform you are using has a chat function, ask people to write them down – you can then copy them into an email to the group. People can take it in turns to pray, unmuting their mic as they do.
You may want to end your time by praying together the Archbishop’s prayer for all those affected by coronavirus and or/the Lord’s Prayer.
If praying together, remind people to unmute their mics.
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy.
Sustain and support the anxious,
be with those who care for the sick,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may find comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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.