Why Connect Groups?
From its earliest days, the church has met together, gathering in both larger settings as well as in smaller groups (Acts 2: 42-47). Church growth writers sometimes speak of a three-tier structure which we call 'congregation', 'connect group' and 'home group'. All three are important and complement each other.
Joining a Connect Group is one of the best ways to get involved in life at St Mark’s. Think of them as family groups within an extended family network. Here at St Mark’s we encourage church members to join a Connect Group and then a Home Group to work out our church vision of Deeper with God, Closer with one another and Further out into our community.
What is a Connect Group?
A Connect Group is a gathering of approx 25 people who meet at least once a month to share a meal, learn, worship, pray together and have fun. There is a strong emphasis on outwardly focussed mission projects.
Connect Groups are led by two or three single people or a couple, supported by a leadership team, and are members of the congregation. The groups meet either in a home or in the church. Newcomers are warmly welcomed and through the Connect Group are helped to join one of the 2 or 3 Home Groups.
The key reasons for members of the church to be part of a Connect Group are:
- It encourages people to get involved in mission and community projects
- It gives people an opportunity to discover, develop and use some of their gifts ie worship, teaching, prayer ministry, hospitality, outreach gifts.
- It is an excellent way for people in the church to get to know a larger group of friends.
- It offers a place of welcome for new members to the church and give them the opportunity to join a Home Group.
What is a Home Group?
A Home Group is a group of 6-12 people who normally meet 3 times a month in term time, usually in someone’s home, for fellowship, bible study, prayer and worship. Each Home Group has leaders who take responsibility for the group.
Two or three Home Groups form a Connect Group and meet together once a month.
A Home Group:
- provides a place to develop relationship with God, but also deep and caring friendships
- is a place of sharing and accountability
- welcomes new members in and plans ahead for growth by multiplying and appointing new leaders where necessary.
What do I do next?
- If you would like to join a Connect Group contact Sam Mercer, our Connect Group Co-ordinator, who will suggest a Connect Group for you to join. Email or phone 020 7326 9423.
- Do the Alpha Course - an opportunity for anyone to explore the Christian faith and meet others new to the church. If you have not done Alpha before we strongly encourage any newcomers to do this course and then join a Post-Alpha Connect Group.
- The St Mark’s Intro Supper is an evening exploring the life and ministry, values and vision of St Mark’s. There are usually two a term and it's an excellent way to find out more and meet others who are new to the church. It is especially for those who have done Alpha before.
- Talk to friends you have made at St Marks – perhaps you could join their group?