Because we believe that one of the most important roles of a church is connecting people, we have designed our small groups to help facilitate this. Often the typical small group structure fails to help people connect in meaningful relationships, so we have chosen to take a different approach. While each group is unique, they all have the following aspects in common:
Learning is not new to our Connect Groups. What is new, is that each group now studies the same topic – the same topic that is being taught about at our Sunday gathering. This connects people in two ways. First, it helps members of the same group to better be able to relate to each other’s Sunday morning experiences. Second, it helps each group be connected to the church as a whole instead of being isolated.
Perhaps our most noticeable innovation is that instead of having a single leader who asks all the questions, the people in our groups collaborate to make each meeting productive. Every week, individuals are assigned tasks related to the topic of study for the following week. For example, if the church is studying Matthew 27, every member would be given a task related to that chapter. We call these assigned asks, circle roles. One person may be responsible for coming up with a series of questions on the chapter. Another person may be in charge of connecting the chapter to a real life situation. A third person may be in charge of picking out verses that impacted them. When the group comes together they each share their part. This connects people by allowing for mutual edification.
Our Connect Groups give each person a direct link to the leaders of our church. The Bible commands that pastors pray for those who are spiritually weak, but for many reasons pastors never know who the spiritually weak are. The Bible commands that we meet the physical needs of those within the church, but too often the needs go unnoticed. In each Connect Group there is a leader in charge of linking people with spiritual or physical needs to the right pastor, ministry leader, or resources available in our church.
In our Connect Groups we spend time sharing prayer requests, praying for those within our groups, and praying for other major prayer needs within the church. The connecting power of prayer is amazing.
In the Bible and in everyday life, it is clear that food brings people together. All you need to do is think about holidays and coffee shops to know that food allows for more open communication and deeper relationship development. We make no claim as to know why this is true, but we believe it is. Therefore, every Connect Group shares food. Some groups choose to coordinate a pot luck style meal and others have a small snack, but they all share food.
Like food, having fun with people deepens relationships. Time away from the serious things of life allows for people to learn more about each other and develop lasting friendships. People seem to inherently know this when they are children, developing lasting friendships with those they play with. We think it is important for all ages and so Connect Groups take time to do fun things together. Sometimes it is in place of the regular meeting and sometimes it is separate, but every group has fun.
Because it is our goal to be biblical, we ask everyone who makes Creekside their church to commit to the following God-given mandates for church involvement: