SGL: How to Encourage Hosting
Home groups (or small groups) are one of the best means of discipleship. They gather a dozen people, or so, to connect, equip and multiply for the sake of the kingdom. They help people risk venturing out of their comfort zone to answer questions, to lead discussion and eventually to prepare to lead their own group. Leading their own group is the goal for 80% of the people.
One of the steps in the goal of leading a home group is learning how to host. Everyone, including leaders should take their turn at hosting. Hosting is a necessary part of leadership and becoming other-centered.
There are several principles that every leader should remember in preparing host couples. First, ask someone else to bring a treat to home group. This is a first step to hosting a group. They are not preparing their home; they are preparing a treat and bringing it to home group for people to enjoy together. The treat should be simple, rather than elaborate. If it is elaborate, then this aspect of hosting can become a competition issue. Food is about bringing people together, so that they can talk, rather than be wowed by the treat. Home group is about relationships, not food, yet food is an important ingredient to connecting people together.
Secondly, visit with someone and help them see they could host a group. Your direct interest in the couple with the purpose to cast vision for them will lead them to understand what is involved in hosting. When you take the time to meet with someone, you are showing your trust in their potential leadership.
Thirdly, explain to them what is involved in hosting a home group. Hosting a home group merely involves providing an environment where the group becomes the focus rather than the setting. It’s best to have as few distractions as possible in the home so as to not detract from the discussion. For example, the house should be de-cluttered and clean. It should have sufficient chairs or seating for the group. It should be maintained at a temperature that is conducive to discussion rather than a distraction of being too warm or cool. And because people have food and pet allergies, the host couple will need to be sensitive and avoid certain foods, like peanut products, and to at least inform visitors of home pets. At a minimum, water should be provided. The home group can be anyone’s home, small or big, because it is not about the home, but about the people who are gathering.
Fourthly, ask that couple to host the home group in their home rather than the leader’s. This preparation gives them more responsibility toward the goal of leading their own home group. Remember the purpose is not to be wowed by the setting. It’s all about connecting people together, so they can be equipped to learn how to multiply.
Fifthly, affirm the couple in their hosting. Give the host couple feedback on their hosting. If corrections need to be made, talk with the host couple when others are gone. Affirm their willingness to host and the things they did well. Ask them questions to understand how they established the environment. Seek resolutions that are both possible for the host couple and helpful for those who attend. And then evaluate in the coming weeks.
Hosting can be fun for people and is a step in the process of becoming a leader of a home group. Affirm your host couple in what they are doing well and seek others to be hosts to the group as well. Remember, your ultimate goal is multiplication so that 80 percent of the people become leaders or spiritual parents and leading in their own home group.