There are different philosophies regarding home groups. A few people would like to keep trudging through the battles of life and never take a week off. Most people see the importance of taking a break by developing “on” and “off ramps.” The “on ramp” is when a home group period begins and the “off ramp” ends a segment and there is a short break. Consider these four reasons to provide for breaks.
Breaks give people a change of routine
While routine is good, breaks give people a change of routine, so monotony does not kick in. The spiritual life was never meant to become a ritual, which had no reality. A real relationship with Jesus is the desire and unending routine can cause group members to enter a rut. Physical training experts say that it is important to change work out routines to best develop muscle growth. The same could be said for spiritual routines. Change the routine every three months or so and people will have a chance to reflect and press ahead spiritually (Phil. 3:9-13)
Breaks are for family time
Some schedules get very busy and families can lose connections. A short break in the winter and summer and possibly the spring allows families to get an extra evening to re-connect and maintain solid relationships.
Breaks encourage the hearts of group members to want to meet again
I have often heard that during breaks, individuals long for the group to meet again. The old expression, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” has real truth as we can also understand what Paul wrote, “And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” (1 Cor. 12:21 NKJ) The time during the break might be a time to do a fun activity together as a group.
Breaks allow people to join another group
Sometimes people would like to check out another group, but they have a difficult time making that transition. Breaks allow an easy “out” for people to join another home group that may be closer, or consist of believers that may be more helpful to their situation. Home groups should be very open handed and allow members to move to another group.
Breaks give the leadership time to reflect
If people are transitioning away from a home group, then it may be a time for reflecting on how well the group is responding to leadership. It is not a time to become too introspective, but accountability with the coaching staff and home group leadership team may be what is needed to revitalize the group for the next “on ramp.”
There are a few “Marine” Christians who might want to keep plodding 52 weeks a year, but most people need a break. Be open about using “on” and “off ramps” and you’ll see continued growth in your home group.