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BRMC launches a new (old) way of doing small group ministry

BRMC launches a new (old) way of doing small group ministry
A Connect Group made up mostly of parents with children of different ages

Barker Road Methodist Church (BRMC) announced the launch of the Connect Experience 2023 (CE’23), with the objective of unifying its approach to small group ministry. The official launch took place on 22 April, kick-starting a sermon series on biblical koinonia or fellowship.

Recognising that many church members are not yet in a small group, while others attend small groups that have been running for decades, CE’23 will run separate programmes to close this gap. BRMC members who are not part of a small group— called “Connect Group” in BRMC—can sign up for an Experience Group, while those who are already in a Connect Group can join the BRMC family in rediscovering and experiencing transformational community life through a weekly guided exercise spanning eight weeks. Registration for CE’23 is open now until 17 June.

At the 47th Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC), President Rev Stanley Chua exhorted all TRAC churches to make small group ministry a place where members not only experience God through the Holy Spirit, but also hold each other accountable for their discipleship.1 Rev Lai Kai Ming, the pastor leading CE’23, believes that the Lord has “already started the renewal of [BRMC]”, and that being in a Connect Group is “the first step to rediscovering what being a Christian and a church is really about”.

Connect Group

The Connect Group model is based on the original Wesleyan method of community life (also known as the Class Meeting), one which emphasises the sharing of the believer’s daily experience with God rather than just head knowledge of the Bible. With the initial aim of re-examining what being a Christian and a church really means, BRMC’s 3-week sermon series on biblical koinonia will dive deep into the 4As:

  • Authority of God’s Word: We are called to be doers of the Word, not just hearers.
  • Authenticity in relationships: How real and honest are we with each other?
  • Accountability for good works: We are commanded to watch over one another in love.
  • Acts of the Holy Spirit: The Spirit helps us connect with God and one another for the sake of the world.

Based on these 4As, CE’23 continues in July and August with an 8-week guided exercise that will help participants taste the goodness and joy of authentic Christian community. It will give people the opportunity to reflect on how God wants them to apply his Word in a safe and encouraging small group environment. BRMC hopes that CE’23 will strengthen existing groups and encourage those not in any to join one.

Annabelle Tong (first from left) and Timothy Sun (second from left) say the Connect Group provides a safe and honest space to share about the struggles they face
Annabelle Tong (first from left) and Timothy Sun (second from left) say the Connect Group provides a safe and honest space to share about the struggles they face

Leong Mei Lin, a Connect Group leader at BRMC, believes that such sessions are a start to authentic fellowship with fellow churchgoers, and a protected time where one can reflect on his or her walk with God. “Small group sessions give me a window to look into the lives [of group members] and to learn from them—how they live out their Christian faith.”

Leong Mei Lin leads a Connect Group at BRMC
Leong Mei Lin leads a Connect Group at BRMC

Zachary Yong worships at Wesley Methodist Church. He is part of the Kopi kakis comics team and loves his coffee with milk and no sugar. / Photos courtesy of Barker Road Methodist Church

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