The Columns – January

ConnectGroupsHeader

Let’s just see where God takes this”… These were my husband’s words once we made the decision to begin a connect group. We prayerfully considered our focus and how it should be formed, and decided to simply list it in the church publications. To be honest, I worried about the group before it even took shape. Would everyone get along? Would we have enough in common? Will this be a draining and time-consuming endeavor on top of my already busy life? I had friends that were already in connect groups who praised the difference their group was making in their lives. One went so far as to say that his experience re-defined what it meant to be a part of a church family. I reflected on one of my favorite passages of scripture, Philippians 4:5–9 which addresses our anxieties by reminding us to pray and surrender our fears to God.

About six weeks later, we had our first meeting of four couples and four single adults. Some of the members I knew – others were relative strangers. What became clear from the beginning was that this was a group of eleven individuals with a desire for Christian connection above all else. And it was that desire and willingness that quickly eclipsed my earlier fears. We have different careers, life experiences, family circumstances and faith traditions, yet we find genuine commonalities and are developing lasting relationships. At our meetings we don’t always have a set agenda, but discuss current events or other similar topics through a Christian lens. I don’t feel the pressure of having to plan for our time together – all of our members are equally vested in the group and therefore discussion ideas just seem to come. Sometimes, we just chat.

One of our members, Becky, said it best; “I’ve been thinking about our connect group and my experience so far. First off, I couldn’t have prayed for a better group of folks! God just knew exactly where I needed to be. . .amazing! I was a bit apprehensive at first but after attending my first gathering, I knew I had found a place to belong. I was so blown away with how sincere, genuine, compassionate, caring, welcoming, friendly…and the list could go on forever…that each and everyone in the group was. I left my first connect group gathering on a “high”…this wonderful blessed feeling. I told everyone I could that I met the most awesome group of folks and that I had never met more genuine and sincere folks ever. You all just amaze me! You are all so filled with Christian love and the Spirit. I am truly blessed to be a part.”

Our church had challenged us to “connect-grow-serve-lead” and our connect group is heeding this call. I encourage every member of our congregation to consider being a part of a connect group regardless of where you are in your life. Connect groups come in all shapes and sizes, and there is a place for every person who desires to experience God in this way. Make the time – YOU will be blessed as well.

Looking for a Connect Group?!

• Hey FUMC!!! We would love you to join Melissa and me in our new connect group, two evenings a month to just have dinner and talk about how Christ can be injected more into our daily lives. If you’re interested, contact me, Victor Crusan, at vecmgc@msn.com.

• I’m looking to start a connect group for those living in the Long Lake/Southern Trace area. Membership at FUMC is so valuable to me and I see this as an opportunity to make it even better. If you’d like to join in that journey with me, please give me a call, Robert Mills, 318-469-1191.

ERIK RASMUSSEN • Director of Connect Groups/Singles/Counseling • erasmussen@fumcshreveport.org • 318.424.7771

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