Some of you have taken the Restarting, Forming and Belonging classes in part, or all of them under the name of Thriving: Recover Your Life. Generally the feedback is that it was a wonderful experience for you and most do not want the classes to end. So, when we talk about CONNEXUS, ears perk up and you hope this is a continuation of the “good stuff”! Because of some confusion as to what CONNEXUS is, we thought it best to spell it all out!
A Bit of History — For those who have taken some or all of the classes, you were part of the development of the CONNEXUS curriculum. CONNEXUS is the name we are using to package these three courses.
The Lord gave the idea, Dr. Wilder and team created Restarting. The material was tweaked and edited but another module was needed. We all need to belong, so they developed Belonging. But another piece was needed for Belonging to work as it should.
The premise of Belonging is that transformation happens when the weak and strong are together and there are tender responses to weakness. The problem is that the weak are drawn to what they see in the strong—they “want” it. The need/desire is intense and in their intensity they come close—close to the point of unknowingly invading the comfort zone of the strong.
The strong back away; the weak pursue, and you have the scenario of one backing up and the other coming forward, chasing each other around the room. The alternative scenario is two separate camps, neither one really trusting the other.
Simply putting the strong and the weak in a room together does not work. The strong feel their personal space invaded and the weak feel let down, as if a promise was unfulfilled. The Forming class was the answer.
In the Restarting class the weak learn to quiet their intensity (one of the 19 skills) and in the Forming class the strong become sensitive to the Lord’s compassion for weakness (heart-sight, another skill). By having the two classes run concurrently at the end of the classes both groups are more tolerant of each other and able to be together in ways that are transforming.
The Joy Starts Here book with the exercises helps people understand their personal joy levels. (And the exercises are more important than reading the text. If you don’t have time for both; if you must choose one or the other, go with the exercises!) During the study, people with low joy (fewer of the brain skills) can see that they would benefit most from the learning and training in Restarting.
The strong, those with more or most of the brain skills, can see that they would benefit most from the Forming class. During the course of the Joy Starts Here studies students begin to sort themselves out. No one needs to be directive dividing people up with “you go here and you go there.” They self-identify using the joyQ we’ve developed online. (joyq.joystartshere.com)
Now that we have all the pieces needed for transformation we packaged it together as one curriculum—one transformative set of materials and called it CONNEXUS…because joy connects us. Up until now you were helping give feedback to the developers so they could make the material the best it could be. For that we are grateful.
The good news is that the modules work. Lives are transformed. The bad news is the modules work…so well that you want more, you want to continue building joy. CONNEXUS is not additional new material. We know that often people travel to another city or church to take the classes and then when they conclude, there is no one to continue to practice joy with. : (
Continuing the Joy — The genius of CONNEXUS is that you can run these classes in your local church and/or home group. When classes are done you will have someone locally to practice with.
Another way to keep growing joy is to invite a friend to the classes and volunteer to go through with them. You support your friend and benefit from another round of joy! You can even incorporate some of the exercises into your small groups as one of the things you do each week and continue building joy indefinitely.
CONNEXUS is not just for recovery classes; it is for all of us who “miss the mark”.
Bringing CONNEXUS to the local church makes it more affordable than attending THRIVE. You don’t have to take off work for a week, have motel expenses plus tuition. Having it locally makes it available to more people.
You do not need expensive and extensive training to lead a group. Training for facilitators is available online, and since our license allows you to charge participants, your group can essentially pay for your training! You receive training for a chapter and then you lead it.
To begin, you simply need a copy of Joy Starts Here, three or more people and you are good to go. If need be, go through the book a couple times to build up a larger number of people for a base group…we recommend somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-30 to begin the CONNEXUS material.
The long range goal is to have CONNEXUS become a church sponsored opportunity such as part of a “new members class” or as an ongoing small group which would feed trained people into other small groups to spread joy throughout the whole body.
If you are interested in forming a Joy Starts Here group with the goal of becoming a licensed trainer, you will find information you need here.
Hopefully this has clarified the confusion around CONNEXUS. However, if you still have questions, click here for a FAQ PDF. If you still have questions, be sure to ask them in the comments or register to join us on the Round Table Talks.
Blessings, Chris & Carol
Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Director at Life Model Works www.lifemodelworks.org
Twitter – @coursey_chris
P.S. The last Thrive Training for 2014 is fast approaching. If you have not signed up and want to, you will need to do so very soon!
P.S.S.- If you were a previous license holder of Restarting, Forming or Belonging, you can get 50% off our new online training purchased in 2014! Contact Deni to receive your coupon code! firstname.lastname@example.org