Two Sunday’s ago, I had the honor of sharing with our Sunday services how connect groups have impacted my life. I did not blink when asked and immediately said yes to share about something that played such a big role in my life and spiritual growth for 5 years, yes 5 years! I was given the opportunity to lead a connect group and it not only impacted the life of those who attended, but also my life beyond any expectation I originally had. Connect groups allow individual church members to feel connected, to live life beyond the walls of the physical church, and identify with others in life, in struggles, in prayer, in worship, and through enjoyable activities together! And that’s what it’s ultimately about, togetherness, all to build each other, build up the church, build up God’s kingdom on earth and bring God’s love to the world! If you are not connected, get connected! You won’t regret it! As I shared with the church, I am sharing here some of the things I learned during that time leading a connect group.
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:9, 10
What did connect group mean to me?
I can sum it up in three words:
Transformation – I was transformed in faith, transformed physically, and transformed spiritually most of all.
Love – I learned to love, to be loved, to receive love, and share love. God’s love is the best love of all, after all!
Destiny – Through pivotal moments in my faith walk that happened in connect group leading, I came to learn my spiritual gifts, that I had other abilities that God gave me that I would never have known if it was not discovered and fostered through relationship with others, and their encouragement.
As we learned about each other and formed lasting friendships, relationships, and trust with bold faith, we prayed together, worshipped together, and had fun together. From outdoor meals and bbq’s, appetizers in a pub, cooked meals at homes, Jones beach Christmas light show, we learned how to appreciate the nuances of our lives and how God created us to live in love, support, and faith for his kingdom.
Some of the greatest joys I’ve known attending C3 Church Long Island was getting to know each member individually and collectively. Individually I learned how to pray for people, how to understand their challenges; it gave me wisdom not only for my life but to share with others. It taught me how to be truly vulnerable and most importantly, how to TRUST again. After a lifetime of heartbreak due to the failures of others and seeing trust broken over and over in my life, God was beautiful in that he used the most important tool to restore that trust. People! People wronged me and he used People to restore me, but this time they were filled with God’s spirit. What I started without having a full notion of what I was doing, ended in brotherly love that transformed my life and that of others. It was incredible in that it was a two-way street and we felt it in our prayers together. We saw God answer with healings, miracle homes, apartments, life transformations, mending of relationships, new hopes, and new dreams, as well as new jobs. All propelling us to new destinies.
I recently watched a leadership video by Ps. Phil Pringle, the founder of the C3 movement on C3 tv on YouTube. In it he said something that really stood out to me and the timing for what I’m sharing was so God-timed: “We are the accumulation of a variety of people who have spoken into our lives, and I cannot truly say that I am a self-made person”. It’s truth, centered on God, on community, and with a spirit of humbleness and wisdom.
I learned that it’s okay to feel others' pain, and you don’t’ have to cut yourself off from feeling what others feel to protect yourself. I learned to let go and stop protecting myself, because God can do a much better job.
As I wrote this, I received an analogy of how I’ve been experience God’s gift of life. God showed me that Life is but a series of colorful tiles of people, places, experiences, emotions, and imperfections that God is arranging into a beautiful mosaic art piece that when finished will be perfect!
I learned the truth of God’s word and how to seek it, pray it, help others to understand it, and it made my life a living testimony for HIS glory.
So, as a result of our church family, community, connect groups, friendships, relationships, my life is completely transformed. Not just physically, but spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, and with a renewed passion for life to pour, sow, and help others see what God can do and transform in their lives.
Unlike the adage, I came into this world with nothing,
I leave with nothing. I say NO!
I came into this world with a destiny, and I am leaving this world with eternal treasures and to the glory of HIS kingdom! Get connected!