Connect Group resource for Week of Monday 4th May
This is a suggestion for how to lead an online Connect Group, based on the talk that Pete Greig gave on Sunday 3rd 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 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 Pete’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!
Pete spoke from Romans 8:18–28, a powerful depiction of intercession.
There are three ‘groans’ in this passage.
The groan of creation – we see this all around – medically, economically, environmentally, and personally. The call of Christ is to suffer with others in a broken world. Jesus said (Luke 14:27) ‘Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me, can’t be my disciple’. It’s the cross first and the resurrection second. To be filled with the spirit of God is to be filled with agony as well as ecstasy, to express our heartbreak in the presence of God. Carrying the pain of the world is where prayer begins – groaning with creation. Part of what we do when we pray is lamenting – expressing our pain, longing, and fears to God.
The groan of the saints – this is the groan of the church as we cry out to God together. We are Sons and Daughters of God. We are not immune to the problems of this world. We are being called by God to intercede for others.
2 Chronicles 7:14 ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’
We need a healing of the land. If we’re going to pray and intercede, we must understand the authority we have as children of God. Jesus is exalted at the right hand of God – far above any other name or authority:
Ephesians 2:6 ‘AND God has raised US up with Christ and seated us in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus’.
We must understand our authority in Him. Remember the hamster and the dog! 🙂 In prayer, the call that is upon us it not just to groan empathetically but WITH the Spirit, exercising His authority from His side.
The groan of the Spirit of God – Remember Danny’s writing when he was little. God knows our hearts, He takes the intention of our hearts, and we can trust the Spirit to interpret our prayers, with groaning and longing. We don’t need to pray with ‘all the right words’. Heaven is full of groaning and yearning and longing.
BUT this is groaning unto life, it is labour pains. Whilst the world is terrified, there is hope for those of us who know Jesus has risen from the grave. When we groan with creation and with the Spirit of God, we do so knowing that it is unto life.
Q. What particularly stood out to you from Pete’s talk? What were you challenged/encouraged by?
Q. How do you find intercessory prayer (praying on behalf of others)? Those who find this more natural can encourage those who find it more challenging.
Q. Read verses around the authority of Jesus and the authority He has given us. What does this teach you/move you to do?
Q. How have you been moved/inspired to pray?
Don’t forget you may need to be active in moderating the discussion if you have a large group, asking people to raise their hands if they’d like to share, and to keep their mics muted unless talking.
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).
The Father loves to give His children the gift of the Holy Spirit. In this moment, breathe in the eternal, unchanging love of God. And breathe out fear, anxiety and worry. Breathe in the peace and presence of the Holy Spirit… Breathe out questions, uncertainties, and loneliness. Breathe in… breathe out…
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.