As a young child, I grew up in a church very similar to New Covenant. I loved Sunday School. I enjoyed hanging out and getting to know other children my age, and boy was it loud: kids interacting, reciting memory verses, and lots of games!
Fast forward to 16 years old, and I still enjoyed the classroom setting. The ‘circle group’, you may call it. The worship service held me over until it was time for the sermon. But before the sermon started, the call for the youth to dismiss was made. I was out of there! I made my way back to the classrooms, thrilled to spend some time with my fellow youth and youth leaders. I was in my favorite spot, spending time with my friends, interacting with some wonderful youth leaders, and engaging in the Kingdom of God.
Youth Class was important to me. We had a great time together. It meant praying together, sharing our lives, growing in our walk, and hanging out on the weekend. We really learned more about each other. It’s even where I first officially met and got to know my future husband.
As I grew older, graduating from youth class, the thrill began to fade. My friends and I stopped praying together. We didn’t hang out as much and didn’t talk much about the Lord. Sure, we saw each other on Sunday mornings, but what kept us together and interacting was the engaging leaders and a group we could call our own. Youth Group tied us together.
Many churches have youth groups and even younger groups, like New Covenant’s Flip 180 tween ministry, that regularly get together. But what happens to the youth when they aren’t youth age anymore? Where do they fit into the church? Where do the young adults fit in? Where does the young married couple fit in? I think youth ministries do a great job of modeling how adults should do relationships. My sons are in Flip 180. They can’t wait to go the next meeting to see their friends and enjoy some food, have great discussions, and watch the occasional movie.
Why should the fun and friendships fade when we transition to adulthood?
At New Covenant, this is why we have a small group ministry, Connect Groups. They are a place where young adults, singles, couples, families, and young-at-heart can enjoy fellowship together, pray together, and share life together. Everything that I enjoyed so much as a teenager is available to everyone in the Connect Group setting. I have made so many new friends. I have learned compassion, humility, and how to love and serve others. Relationships grow, with each other and the Lord, as we care and share each others’ burdens.
Relationship and fellowship was important to the Acts 2 church. In fact, Acts 2 says they did it daily! It should be important to us as well! The Bible teaches we are the body of Christ, every one of us connected, doing our part just as God designed. We need each other to function properly. We need each other to heal properly. We have to be connected. Only when we’re working together, growing together, and living in interdependence with each other, connected to the Lord, will we be living healthy fulfilled lives. We can’t live disconnected lives.
Connect Group Ministry Leader