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Connect Group resource for Week of Monday 11th May

This is a suggestion for how to lead an online Connect Group, based on the talk that Tim Frisby gave on Sunday 10th 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

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 Tim’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!

In the third talk of our series on the Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) Tim spoke about love. The idea that God is love and that Jesus loves us may feel like Christianity 101, but it is complicated by our understanding of the word ‘love’, and our past experiences of being loved. Therefore, instead of attempting to measure the love of God by our own definitions, we should start with Jesus, and let him define for us what love is:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. 

1 John 3:16

Tim referred to how none of the three Greek words for love (Eros – romantic love, Storgé – the love between a parent and child or family members, and Philia – friendship love) do justice to the unconditional, self-sacrificial, even enemy-encompassing love displayed by Jesus on the cross, and so the word Agape became the word of choice for the New Testament writers writing about the love of Jesus.

Tim also mentioned the following parable that Jesus told in Matthew 13:44:

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

If Jesus is the man (which he appears to be in the other parables he tells about the kingdom in Matthew 13:3-8; 24-29, 31-32; 33; 45-46) then that makes you the treasure he was searching for, and then joyfully gave up everything in order to get! You are the treasure!

  1. If you feel comfortable, it would be great to share with the group a moment in your life when you have experienced the love of God in a personal way. This may be the first moment you realised that God agape-loved you rather than just the world in general, or a more recent time where his love for you has felt especially real.
  2. If you wouldn’t say you’ve ever experienced the love of God, share a time when you experienced the love of someone close to you.

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

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).

Before praying, let’s take a moment to remember that we come to the one who agape-loves us – who thinks of us as His treasure. The Apostle Paul writes that ‘…God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us’ (Romans 5:5). In this moment, ask God to pour into your heart once again His great love for you. Choose to breathe in His love.

Prayer (10 mins)  

Move into a time of intercessory prayer that those around us would come to know the agape-love of Jesus for themselves, and that God would use us to make His love to them known. 

You may want to end your time by praying together the Prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life