Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home” Acts 2v46
Home Groups are an increasingly vital part of a vibrant and dynamic church community. Whilst gathering the whole church together on a Sunday continues to be essential (although currently, this gathering is more virtual than physical for many countries), more and more we are seeing the importance of small groups.
These groups had traditionally been of varying size, with members meeting on a regular basis in someone’s home, often over a meal, to study God’s Word and think about how to apply it in day-to-day life. However, with the recent pandemic, lockdowns have made these meetings something we look forward to resuming, in the meantime churches around the world have embraced virtual groups, creating community online.
The results of a 2018 ComRes survey revealed that local churches are more likely to grow, engage with the local community and broaden the perspectives of their members when they have active home groups.
67% of people surveyed said that their faith is strengthen by being part of the Home Group.
During this research, we heard from Juliet, who has recently married and is living in London. She said that:
“my home group inspires me to pray more, to be more bold in my faith and to open up to others about the joys and struggles of life. It also helps me think through faith questions and aspects of culture, as it feels like a safe space to think out loud”
And Juliet is certainly not alone here. Younger Christians are most likely to be part of a small group, and benefit from the sense of family that these create. Home Groups are an important way of nurturing friendships within a church, and according to authors of Home Groups: The Authentic Guide, “the more friendships people have within a church, the less likely they are to leave.”
Home Groups are a key part of encouraging young people to stay within the church and they help the whole church to grow in their faith.
Home Groups have a huge amount of unrealised potential. We spoke to Michael, from Sussex, who said:
“I’ve been in a home group for thirty years, but I wish I could leave – the studies picked for us by our church are uninspiring when they should be the reverse!”
Some Home Groups are fantastic and provide a wonderful opportunity to connect with other Christians on a more personal level. But, this is not the case across the board for a number of reasons:
Homegroups.org.uk is the first centralised online hub for homegroups materials. We are aiming to make 2000 Home Group sessions available completely free!
And there will be something for everyone. SPCK is the oldest Anglican mission in the UK, but we aim to provide resources for Christians across all denominations. We will work with other organisations and all denominations to ensure that there are resources for every home group. Equally, we will provide the material in a range of formats, including multimedia.
Our aim is to ensure the resources on this website are complete, easy-to-follow, reliable and work straight off the page. This is to address the challenge of lack of time that Home Group leaders often struggle with.
Our Bible studies and reflections will be written by theological experts, of which SPCK has quite a few amongst our authors! High-quality material will empower non-experts to lead Home Groups with the confidence that their teaching is Biblical.
Finally, this website provides detailed information on how to start and run a successful Home Group.
Overall, Homegroups.org.uk will make it easier to run a Home Group, allowing groups to welcome new members and support the growth and mission of the church.