Connect Groups resume at Triad Baptist
The second session of Triad Baptist’s Connect Groups small-group ministry is underway, with four new groups and 51 new participants.
Jared Hoots, Connect Groups pastor, said 283 members are now part of 22 Connect Groups — six more groups than the ministry had in its initial launch in September. Only 22 people decided to take a break from the ministry after the first session.
The current Connect Groups session began Dec. 4, 2016, and ends the week of Feb. 11, 2017. Learn more about Connect Groups and how to get involved.
“I’m thrilled with the feedback, the retention rate, and just the overall impact that Connect Groups have had right out of the gate,” said Jared Hoots, Connect Groups pastor (and Radiate high school ministry leader and pastor).
“I know that God is using these groups to foster discipleship, accountability, and deeper connection among those who are participating.”
Those sentiments were confirmed by Triad’s first Connect Group survey of participants in session one, which ended the week of Nov. 12. They gave the ministry (including their leaders, groups, and locations) high marks.
Of the 212 completing surveys, 75 percent rated their group as outstanding, with the rest scoring theirs above average.
Respondents said they found the groups helpful for:
- Weekly encouragement to stay focused on God’s word
- Reading and applying Scripture behind the sermons presented on Sunday
- Personal Bible study
- Processing life decisions
- Support in life’s challenges
But weekly encouragement, application of scripture, and support topped their lists of the small-group ministry’s biggest impacts on their lives. A community service project is also part of the Connect Group ministry. Among those already completed by Connect Groups: assisting with the Fall Festival; running a fundraising bake sale for Upward Football on Grandparents Day; volunteering at the Ronald McDonald and SECU houses; doing cardboard testimonies for worship services; and assembling ‘thank you’ baskets for visiting missionaries.
God ‘already at work’ in new groups
Sandy Cecile and Lisa Bailey are the leader and host of a new ladies group — one of the four added in session two. The group meets on Wednesday mornings at Bailey’s house. Women have enjoyed it so much that they’ve stayed long after the official two-hour time.
“Our meeting time is 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and our first meeting didn’t end until 2 p.m.,” Bailey said. “Sandy and I were amazed at how the ladies all did their homework, and were eager to open up. So many ladies shared. We laughed. We cried. We loved each other but ultimately praised God through it all. I can't really describe that morning except that Sandy and I were overwhelmed with excitement of it all. God worked in a way greater than we had imagined.
“The second meeting was last Wednesday. The meeting went until 1 pm. Once again, ladies were laughing, crying, sharing, and praising God. God is amazing, and He is already at work in this group.”
Bailey said the desire to begin the new group for women stemmed from the benefits she and Cecile had realized from sharing similar burdens together, and encouraging each other.
“Because of the trials we share with each other, we decided to start an all ladies Connect Group,” Bailey said. “Our desire is to first point each other to Christ and His word. We want a group where women feel safe to share their heartaches and struggles. And for our group to be a group that will support each other through prayer and Christian fellowship.
“Woman often struggle with a lot of the same things,” she added, “but in different ways — whether it’s a wayward child, a struggling marriage, or loneliness from divorce or loss of a spouse. We all want to be loved, supported, and encouraged. We want our group to ‘connect’ with one another, share each other’s burdens and uplift each other.”
In addition to the group led by Cecile and hosted by Bailey, Triad added Multi-Generational Groups led by Duane and Linda Cross (Dave Caranci host), and Jim and Ruth Dumont (Kathy Chase host), and a Senior Adult group led by Fred and Jeanne Mark (Harold and Patsy Simcox hosts).
During his Dec. 18 sermon, Lead Pastor Rob Decker again reminded members at both Triad’s contemporary and traditional services how important small-group ministry is for spiritual maturity, growth, and helping people stay connected at a personal level, even while members of a large church.
“It is so important to stay connected to people who encourage you,” Pastor Rob said. “Through our Connect Groups, Sunday School communities and other ministries, we offer several ways for people to be in groups of 14 or fewer people to make those personal connections and get that support.”