We had another great Home Group Leaders meeting on Nov. 2, 2013. I’m amazed at the momentum that is building by the leaders God has raised up and who continue faithful in God’s field at Grace. I think leaders are seeing the synergy of God’s movement through the home group ministry. We briefly looked at 2 Cor. 4:5-6,
5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 4:5-6 NKJ)
We are not here to make an issue of ourselves, because it is about Jesus Christ, not us. That’s why intentional discipleship is what home groups are all about. Leaders have the privilege of looking into the hearts of people and seeing what they need to help them grow to become leaders of groups themselves. God “commands” light to shine out of darkness. We are darkness, because we are crucified with Christ and it is no longer us who live, but Christ lives in us, so He is the light who shines out of the darkness! That is so others can receive the light of Jesus and grow in the knowledge of the glory of God and see the face of Jesus.
Here is the recap of the meeting.
We reviewed the discussion points of the previous meeting:
- Our group is low in numbers, what do we do?
- We have challenged our group to no negativity.
- We seem to have women who talk more than men.
- We are about discipleship, not only Bible study.
We briefly discussed these and then moved into several questions and comments made.
How to encourage men to talk more freely.
There was a good discussion about how to encourage men. After discussing several reasons why men are more reluctant to respond than women, several suggestions were made including, 1) specifically ask a man what his thoughts were (although be sure you have the freedom to ask him a question, because some are not ready to converse right away and may feel like he is put on the spot), 2) get with men on a personal level outside of the group to encourage them, and 3) ask men just before the group to give a response to a specific question. One group said they were experiencing men being dominant, which we cheered.
Consider also: 1) Encourage the whole group that they need to write answers to the questions ahead of time. The purpose of the group discussion is to use it wisely and the best way to prepare is to answer the questions in personal time prior to the group meeting. 2) Talk to talkative women outside of the group to let others speak. It was also mentioned, 3) The leader can respond, “Are there any other thoughts besides those who have already spoken?”
On and off ramps.
There are different perspectives on whether a home group should continue 52 weeks a year or if there should be specific on and off ramps, in which there are start and stop times throughout the year. For example start in Sept and stop the first part of December, then start up again in January and go through May or have an additional off and on ramp around Spring break.
People can exit easily. The blessing of those who visit the group or visit for a short time is that better relationships have formed and more people know each other at church. The challenge is that people may not learn commitment if they just come and go. We will begin considering a special table for home groups in December.
There was a good discussion for inviting people to home group. The bottom line was we can’t love on people too much. Whether you call or talk to people personally, the point is we as leaders have been put into ministry to draw God’s people to join us for real ministry of discipleship.
There is a growing sense of urgency for men’s ministry. Many of the men in the home group leadership are getting involved and you can too. There are many single guys and guys with wives who are not interested, who need fellowship. They need to be invited to be a part of the home groups. Maybe have a Duck Dynasty breakfast.
Roles for home groups.
We discussed roles for home groups:
- Hosting – food
- Co-leader – facilitator – planning – communication – establishing goals
Let me encourage you to make sure your home group has each of these roles covered. I’m working on doing a better job of follow-up, because that can help keep the back door closed. We can discuss this more next time.
Encouragement for the future.
First, be steady. There will be weeks when the numbers are up and weeks when the numbers will be down. Be steady, just like parents must be steady in raising their children, whether the children are obedient or not. Secondly, be intentional. A key to home groups is intentionality. As leaders, we need to look at where people are going to be two years from now and be part of the process that God is using to help them grow to that point, so that the participants are hardly aware of our intentionality. It will come because of relationships and building on the foundation of God’s Word. Thirdly, be purposeful. What are we trying to produce? If we are only studying God’s Word and growing in relationship, that is GREAT! However, our purpose is really to intentionally disciple and multiply. If we focus on those two, we will have to do the Bible study and build relationships in order to disciple and multiply. So be purposeful in all that you do. As we approach our second quarterly training meeting on November 23, be ready to work through weeks 4-6 of the Real Life Training Manual. Keep pressing forward (Phil. 3:13)!