The Unexpected Upside of Joining an Online Group

Written by Lisa Craig, a volunteer Group Leader at Connexus Church.

Before we joined our first Small Group, my husband and I attended Connexus for many years. We had volunteered on and off, but mostly, we were driving a half-hour to church on Sunday, enjoying the sermon, and going home. It felt very disconnected, and I told my husband that we had to get more involved or we may as well save the drive and watch the sermons online. So, along with volunteering in Kids Ministry, we joined a small group. It was a great way to meet other people at Connexus and make friends. 

When that group ended, we intended to host our own group for Connexus-goers in the south of Simcoe County. However, with the pandemic, we ended up hosting an online group with members from Midland, Orillia, Barrie, Angus, and Beeton. 

The online format worked really well for the group. We all had children between the ages of 2 months and 10 years old. We decided to meet at a time when most of the children would already be in bed. Having been part of a group before that met in person, Andrew and I knew what it was like to arrange and pay for a sitter and then drive a half hour each way for our group gatherings. While it is nice to have time away from the house, we found it far more relaxing to be able to stay home and join people online. 

Some of our members also worked shifts, and they agreed that the online format worked so much better for them. We often heard, “Hi! I just got home from my 12-hour shift!” The online format also meant we didn’t have to cancel due to bad weather. 

Sometimes we talked over each other and had many “Oh, you go!” ”No, it’s OK. You go first” moments. But, we eventually got into a rhythm, and meeting online ended up feeling very natural. 

Of course, we wished we could get together in person and felt we’d maybe even have even better conversations. And, we all wanted to snuggle the new baby, of course. 

In an effort to stay connected, we would pick a snack for each meeting, and we’d all bring that with us to our computers. Once, we had a chocolate-themed meeting, and I dropped off homemade brownies and British chocolate at each member’s home. 

We also had a game night where we completed an online escape room together and that was a lot of fun! One member, who had done the escape room before, shared her screen and moved us around the room while the rest of us followed the clues to the answer. 

At the end of our group, which ran from September to June, we were able to meet up at a central home and enjoy a BBQ outside. It was so nice to see everyone in person and for our children to meet each other. 

Because we all lived so far apart, we did not continue the group this fall. We had all thought we would be able to join in-person groups, but the pandemic did not let up!  As my husband and I reflected, we realised that the online format worked really well for us. So, we’ve decided to host another short-term online group. 

Joining a group is a really great way to meet the other people in our church community. Group is a place to share your thoughts and questions and just be yourself. You’re creating a little community where you can be encouraged and encourage others. And you can do that in person, online, or in a hybrid group.

Whatever you choose, just commit to showing up and participating!

Now is the perfect time to jump into a group at Connexus as registration is now open! To find out more details, or to sign up to join a group this winter, click here.

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