Have you ever wondered what would happen if a tree tried to grow on its own power.  If the tree suddenly said to the water, the sun, the ground, the insects and the animals, “I’m done with you now, I think that I’ve got just about everything I need from you to keep me going.  In fact, you might be holding me back at this point, I’m going to try it on my own from now.”

Well, you probably haven’t considered it because its ridiculous.  As soon as the tree stops taking in sunlight, water and nutrients from the ground it dies.  As soon as the tree dies it no longer creates the oxygen needed by so many other things.  In the same way we need to have people around us, people who give us what we need to grow.  But we also need to be able to give; this doesn’t just help other people grow but ourselves too.


Read Colossians 2:6-7

  • What are some important influences in your own spiritual growth?
  • Who do you think you have influenced in your life so far?
  • Who do you hope to influence in your future?
  • Who, specifically, has helped you grow in your life so far?  Why were they so influential?  Do you want to influence others like that or not? Why?
  • What is it about yourself which has the most influence on other people?

Read Hebrews 10:25

  • Have you ever felt as if you could grow better without others?  Why did you feel this way?
  • What makes you not want to be around other people?  Why is there temptation to try and do things alone?
  • This passage tells us to encourage one another.  When do you feel encouraged by other people?  How can we be more encouraging to each other?

This passage from Hebrew says that we are to encourage each other, “Especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”  Jesus promised that there would be times of persecution before he returned.  So it is possible that the original recipients of this letter were experiencing persecution at that time.  Think of two different occasions in your life when you were experiencing hard times, one when you had support and one where you did not.  How were they different?

Read 1 Corinthians 14:26

  • What strengthens you in everyday life?
  • What must you have in order to feel strengthened, encouraged, or uplifted?   Do you need other people to experience those things.
  • This passage lists several things.  What is the purpose of these things?  How do you see this purpose unfolding in your own life?
  • Do you experience the most growth when you are being encouraged, or do you feel more growth in yourself when you are helping others.

If there’s anything that’s true with this passage, it is the fact that growth cannot happen by yourself.  Everything listed in this passage must be done in the context of the group, and for the sole purpose of strengthening the group.


  1. First, decide on someone to open and close the prayer time.  The opener can start by giving praise to God for    everything he provides for us.  The closer can ensure that everything is covered
  2. Take some time to take prayer requests from the group.
  3. Make sure to pray for everyone who is participating in CONNECT. Also, pray for…

– An encouraging spirit to enter the lives of the church.

– A conviction for the need of each other to grow.

– Genuine feelings of connection and support.