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Connect Group resource for Week of Monday 10th August

This is a suggestion for how to lead an online Connect Group, based on the talk that Liam Thatcher gave on August 2nd. 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 links to your group so they can listen before you meet:

Liam’s talk

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 (30 mins)

On Sunday Liam continued our current teaching series ‘Living by Faith’ by looking at the story of Moses, as told in Hebrews 11.

Liam talked about how faith is a calculated decision. Moses chose to be on the side of God and not Egypt. He considered the paths open before him and chose faith. Hebrews says something incredible:

‘Moses regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt’ (v25) 

Moses lived 1500 years before the coming of Jesus. It’s not like he knew who Jesus was, or what he would do… so what’s going on here? Two things:

Firstly, by choosing to identify with God’s KINGDOM over the Kingdom of Egypt, Moses – whether he understood it or not – was actually putting his faith in the KING of that Kingdom. Even though he couldn’t know how the promises would be fulfilled, by trusting God’s promises, he was putting his faith in the one who would bring about the promises.

But secondly, by choosing to identify with God’s people in suffering, Moses was actually pre-figuring what Christ himself would do. 1500 years later, in a way Moses could never have perceived, God would take on flesh – identifying himself with the suffering of his people, and dying in their place. Hebrews 12 tells us that Jesus is the ultimate example of faith – ‘For the joy set before him he endured the cross.’ (Hebrews 12:2)

 This is faith. Ponder. Calculate. Count the cost. And DARE. Give yourself to building the Kingdom of God. And don’t settle for small… if it’s the will of God, it has to be done.

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 3 and then 5 more, then great, wherever God is drawing you to this week, then follow Him!

  • What does it look like to trust God and live by faith? What connected with during Liam’s sermon, that you sense God speaking to you about?
  • Maybe you already know that there are things God is asking you to lay down… you’ve been tempted by things that are fleeting or sinful and you need to confess them to God and choose to no longer pursue those things….what would that mean for your life? Can others help you in this process?
  • Maybe there are things God is asking you to pick up. Steps of faith He is asking you to take. Is there anything you sense God is speaking to you about, or has been speaking to you about? God may be asking you to pick up a new challenge or a season of rest. It could look different for each of us….how do you sense God leading you at this time? Is there anything you sense He is speaking to the whole church?
  • It may be that you have stepped out in faith, and it’s been hard… are there any things that we can support and pray for each other about regarding continuing to live lives of faith?

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 in Matthew 4:

Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Prayer (10 mins)

Move into a time of prayer for one another, for the church, for London and the UK, and the world.