There is no one size fits all model for a home group. In fact, it would be completely fair to say that no two home groups are the same. But, within this world of endless variation, it is probably worth outlining a few different models of home group. This list is by no mean exhaustive but it does help to outline some of the ways a group can be run. Below each model I’ve outlined some of the strengths of each. I’ve not listed any weaknesses because they will become apparent when comparing the strengths of the different models.
In the current climate of lockdown the traditional idea of a home group has been turned around. We can now use the virtual world and hold our discussion groups online. There are great apps (both free and paid for) and software that allow you to meet in groups online.
Maybe these home groups aren’t traditional, but they are what I grew up with! These groups meet regularly – normally weekly or biweekly – and have no set end point. They can meet for years, creating a real depth of community. Leadership in these groups is often shared with different people taking charge for different seasons.
There is no reason why a group must meet perpetually. Many churches opt for a termly model, in which congregants are able to sign up for a group for a term at a time. This allows for leadership to be effectively spread about. It can also be easier for newcomers to find a place as they don’t need to try and fit into a long established group. Further, what this model may lack in relational depth, it makes up for in breadth. This model allows church members to meet lots of different people.
This is a twist on the traditional home group. This group will commit to meet for the long term but are tied by commitment to a shared mission. This mission might be to place, people group or for a particular cause. In the week to week this group will look similar to the traditional home group, but it will also engage intentionally in mission together.
So, there you have it: three models of home group. Remember that there is no rule book. If you have other ideas, give them a go! If you want to blend two – or even three – of these models, give it a go! What’s important here is to grasp the potential of home groups to contribute to the mission of the church.