Connection Group Leader’s Guide
For the week of July 29, 2018
- Drinks available
- Pray for those who were baptized last Sunday, that they will share their reason with anyone who asks
- Pray for those children considering taking the baptism classes
- Launch of Connection groups church-wide will be received with excitement and gratitude as we become more of a family as a result.
- AIM of lesson: Jesus initiated the church and its important to Him.
1. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of church? What were your first/early experiences of attending church? Were those positive or negative experiences in your faith journey and why?
2. For many Christians the church is something they go to instead of something they are. Why do you think so many Christians are willing to settle for a concept of church which is nothing more than a weekly concert with a lecture?
3. Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
1.This week we were taught that church is not just a place or a thing we do, but it is a body that all followers of Christ are part of. According to the following scriptures how is the church described? With that imagery in mind, how should members of the church treat one another?
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.(NIV)
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (NIV)
1 Corinthians 13:13
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)
2. We live in a very individualistic society in which many of us function as if we’re independent from those around us. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul uses the human body as an analogy of how Christians are to relate to one another. As you read 1 Corinthians 12:14-31, what are some of the things that catch your attention in regards to how God wants us to function as part of his family?
Encourage members to underline/circle key words as it is read.
1 Corinthians 12:14-31
14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[a]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way. (NIV)
Can you think of ways you’ve benefited from others playing their roles?
VBS, Sunday School Ministry, Celebrate Recovery, First Priority, Men/Women’s Ministry, AWANA, Foster Parent Support are just a few examples
What are some examples of how the body of believers might be hindered when someone isn’t willing to play their role?
10% of church doing %90 of work causes burn out
3. The church exists so that Jesus can express His personality in a visible way. Our goal at STF is to be a church that intentionally loves people so that they will see who Jesus is through our actions and words and then be drawn to Him. Read Matthew 5:13-16 and Colossians 3:23-24 and list any specific guidelines or tips that could influence our effectiveness to display God’s life through ministering in South Tampa and beyond.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.  “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. [NIV] Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. [NIV]
What does it look like to be “salt” and “light”?
What does it look like to work “with all your heart”?
4. Part of carrying out God’s game plan is simply loving others and being a “light.” As others notice that “light,” what does 1 Peter 2:12 teach us about whose reputation we need to be concerned about?
1 Peter 2:12
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. [NIV]
What other ways can we as individuals and as a church family make God look good?
TAKING IT HOME
It’s incredible to think that we are God’s “Plan A” to spread the Good News about Him. Along with that big assignment we also have big resources to help us out. God’s presence and power are available to each of us through the Holy Spirit. We are simply asked to pray for open doors, contagious faith and clear communication. Take a few minutes and look at Colossians 4:2-6 and use it as a prayer guide for how each one of us personally can be the church God has called us to be.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.  Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.(NIV)
After prayer requests from group members are shared, split into same sex groups and spend a few minutes checking in with each member for any additional prayer needs. Allow each member to pray as led under each topic and then move to the next topic once done. Praying for one another as a family/church is crucial.