Having breaks in the home group schedule are important. Those are called “on” and “off ramps.” People like a little change at times and want to study something else. There is usually one person, who would like to study prophecy, or the Gospels, or the blood sacrifices. We Christians tend to accommodate even when it is only one person, even though the 99 others would rather continue with the plan. Consider these thoughts.
Some always want a change of study
There are some who always want a change of study. If you are on the same subject for more than four weeks, they are looking for something else. It’s the same reason television changes scenes every eight seconds – they do that to keep the interest level. That attitude only feeds the flesh to want more change. Most people need to learn consistency and patience. The leader must know the plan and why he is facilitating the discussion. When home groups follow the Message Based Discussion Questions, the subjects are going to change every time there is a new pulpit message.
Some just want change
Just as above, some just want change and any kind of change. These are the “ADHD” Christians who have not learned self-control and persistence. They may not know WHAT they want, besides change itself. Do not accommodate people who are just asking for change. Love them and cast a vision for what home group is about and then let them choose to follow. God may use that person to suggest something that could be helpful to the group.
Some don’t know what they need
The reality is there are some who do not know what they need. Love them patiently and continue with your plan. The purpose behind home groups is set, the pattern works and time is necessary to help people humble themselves in submission to the vision. Parents listen to children ask for things they do not need. Parents listen to children grumble about things they need to learn not to grumble about. Parents patiently tolerate childishness as children grow up. The same is often true in the spiritual life. Be patient. Be strong. Press on to the upward call of Jesus.
Some are going to focus on what tickles their ears
As mentioned in the introduction, there are some who are fascinated by a particular subject or some hobby horse that they always want to ride. That’s okay; it really is okay. Give them something to read on the subject, unless that is where you think the group ought to go. Some people like opera and some like rock. It makes their ears feel good. But the leader has to know where he is going and continue with that direction, unless he senses the Lords leading in that direction. Check with your coaching staff if you have any questions.
Plan what follows: follow the plan
In all things, plan what you want to happen, what follows, and then follow your plan. You’ve heard the corollary expression, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The emphasis for home group leaders is “follow the plan.” The plan is already laid out. The Message Based Discussion Questions (MBDQ) are provided, the time is set and the group gathers. Remember that the purpose for the MBDQ is so 80% can see that they too could lead the group and one day learn how they could co-lead a home group. Anything more specific becomes more difficult to reproduce into other leaders.
The reason Vince Lombardi was so successful as a football coach was because he had a simple plan and he followed the plan. He didn’t change it every time something went wrong or one of his players had a different idea. There will be people who want a change and may even leave if a change is not made. It is probably better to freely let them go and let them know the door is open if they would like to return. God’s will, done God’s way, never lacks God’s blessing. Be faithful to your plan.