What’s the big deal? Community Groups?

"There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community
without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life,
without community." – M. Scott Peck

All the time you'll hear us talk about Community Groups or Small Groups at Connexus.  You'll hear us wax eloquently about why it's important for you to be in a group.  We'll give you next steps to get in to a group.  We try to make it really easy to find your place in our church because we really do believe that life change takes place best not on a Sunday mornings while we sit in rows and face a stage but when we turn our chairs towards each other in small groups of people to do life together.  Today I'm not going to write about all that sort of "organizational stuff".  I want to tell you a couple stories about groups that Christine and I have been in that have had profound impact on our lives.  By not being in a Community Group you are missing these sorts of things happening in your life!

We had been just attending a church for a few weeks when the normal call "get thee into a group" was put out from the front.  Having been a part of leadership in churches for a while I knew the importance of being in a Community Group.  So we followed the steps to getting connected to a group and eventually the first night of our new group came around.  WOW!  Was I ever nervous!  My hands were literally shaking and sweaty!  I remember having this very strange thought processing going on . . . why was I this nervous?  I do this sort of thing for a living . . . why am I reacting this way?   Although the first night was a little nerve racking – Christine and I have relationships with people from that group that we will probably carry with us for the rest of our lives.   I've learned that getting connected to community isn't always the easiest thing – it takes investment on our end.  I am so glad that we pushed through our temporary emotions that first night – we would be missing out on some great friends if we just kept doing the "going to church on Sunday and not knowing anyone" thing.

Just a few weeks after joining that Community Group we had our daughter.  Wow!  Those were crazy days!  I have a very clear memory of the first day we brought her home and all of the extended family had left and it was just Christine, myself and this new little bundle of goodness.   Christine and I simply sat there and stared at Haley and said to each other "now what do we do?"  Those early months of new parenthood were intense in a lot of ways.   I was so thankful for our Community Group in those days.  Even though we had really just met these folks they provided meals for us and even gave us a few presents for Haley.  (One of the items is still a cherished possession of Haley's!)  The love and care that the group gave us was totally unsuspected.  Community Groups are about that sort of stuff . . . doing life together.

I remember sitting back during a recent Victoria Day weekend when something hit me like a tonne of bricks.  We were getting together with a group of our closest friends to enjoy some time on the long weekend.  Our kids played together.   We chatted about where life was going.    But then after a couple hours into our time together it hit me . . . these people are all folks we met through our Community Groups over the years.  The relationships had grown to the point where I didn't put people in the mental category of "people from church" but in the category of "closest friends" or "people I really love spending time with".   I value these folks deeply.

This month at Connexus we're going to be talking about helping people get connected to Community Groups.  We're going to be inviting people to join us for our next GroupLink event on January 26th.  We'd like to see a boatload of people connected to Community Groups this month.  (And by "boatload" I mean a big honkin' yacht not a tiny canoe.)  We're talking about it because we really do believe at our core that Community Groups are the best place for life change to take place.  For me – I've seen it first hand.  My life has been molded by Groups.  I am so thankful for the opportunity I've had to been in a number over the years.  I know there are a pile of people of Connexus that are missing out on this experience and I want to help them get a taste of it.

Rich Birch
[email protected]
Executive Director of Operations
Connexus Community Church


Leave a Comment