Skip to main content
Connect Leader Training

Building Friendships and Community In A Group

Part 3: Building Friendships and Community In A Group

The most important part of Connect Group and the biggest reason we have Connect Groups is to create a sense of community. As connect group leaders,
we should plough most of our energy into building community and friends. I encourage every connect group leader to focus on building community instead of building a meeting that happens once a week. I’ve heard of many stories where people part of a connect group have been in a crisis and the first people they’ve contacted have been the people in their connect group. This is a clear sign of a healthy Connect Group. A Connect Group focused on building community and friendships is vital to help people on their faith journey. So the question is, how do people feel part of the community?

They are loved
As Connect Group leaders, we need to know that every person that is in our Connect Group has been placed there by God. That means that God will give us as leaders the capacity to love them, and we can call on God and say, God help me to give time to give energy and to love every person in my group.

Every Connect Group leader should focus on loving people, we have been called to love people not to try and fix them. So don’t see the people in your group as different projects of how to fix them. We need to remember that God heals, God restores people, as leaders, we are called to love them and shepherd them toward God. That is our role.

We can do this by spending time with him and even spending time with him socially. When we spend time with people in our group in their homes, they feel part of the community, they feel loved, they feel cared for. And when we spend time with them, I encourage you to ask them not only what’s happened in the past, or what’s happening in the present, but what they have got in their hearts for their future. What do they feel God is placing in their hearts for their future? We can be a part of that by saying I want to pray for what God has for you in the future and see you walk into that. That happens when we spend time with people individually, building into them and making them feel part of the community.

Make them feel that they have a part to play
How do we make people feel part of a community? When they feel they have a part to play. We can look at 1 Corinthians 12 Paul speaks, and he says, “Every person has a part to play. Every person has a unique gifting that God has given them.” So I want to encourage us not to wait for people to come to us and say, “I feel God is doing this inside of me,” or “I feel God is showing me that I have this gifting.” Just assume that every person has a part to play.

I recently heard a story during an Alpha Course where one table leader didn’t arrive, and some reluctant leaders in the building were nervous about leading that group. One of the leaders eventually called a couple who weren’t leading and said to them, “You need to fill a gap tonight; please, can you just sit with these people and lead the table tonight.” As a result, they continued to lead the table for the rest of the course, and after that, they formed a Connect Group from the table. That is a leader assuming that people are on His journey and everyone has a part to play. We need to call that out of people. God has given us a mandate to ask Him, “God, what do you have for each person, my group? I want to make them feel part of the community by making them feel a part of what we are doing!” As leaders, we can open doors for people in ministry.

Connect People with other People in the Group
I encourage you to use the people within your group, possibly those that have been with you for some time, and to connect them with others in your group. So, for example, if you know that there’s someone who’s going to visit your Connect Group for the first time or someone is new to your group, ask someone who you can trust, someone, who’s been with you for quite some time in your group, to engage with the new person. I’ve seen so many great friendships formed because of that; we need these friendships in our journey of faith. This also helps us to share the load. We don’t need to be everything as Connect Group Leaders

Take them on Mission.
Once again, we just need to assume that people are on mission instead of waiting for them to get on mission. So assume that they are on mission and give them opportunities to be on mission with you. Take them where you go. Assume that they want to go with you. So that can be for example, at church when people are being prayed take one of your Connect Group members with you and even if they just stand there in silence, they are catching your heart. So if you are going on mission somewhere, assume that people want to go and take them, invite them to come on a journey with you that makes them feel part of this community.

These four principles will help make people feel a part of a community and build great friendships and lasting relationships.

More Connect Leaders Training Resources