If you came to this page hoping for a step by step guide to starting a home group, I’m sorry to say that this article will disappoint. It is no step by step guide. But, and this is important, that’s only because starting a home group is really rather simple. What follows below are the essential ingredients – what you need to think about as you set up a home group.
Before you get too far into planning out your home group, it’s important to clarify why you are starting a home group. Unless you know precisely why your group exists, it will be hard to think about who to invite along and what content a session should contain.
For example, if your group exists to create a discipleship space for 20-30s, it’s important to make this explicit from the earliest stage of planning so that you invite that age group and plan relevant content. Equally, if the chief aim of your group is to journey deep into relationship with one another, then the content of the evenings needs to reflect this.
Start with why.
Where is really important and is tied up with who and when. The location needs to be big enough for your group and in a convenient location. It also needs to be a comfortable space for everyone who comes, a space where each member is free from distraction so that they can fully engage with God and one another.
It can be helpful to delegate hosting of the group to someone who is not leading the group. In practice this means that the home group leaders can give more attention to the content of a session and to the needs of home group members while someone else takes care of tidying a space, making tea and coffee and the like.
You need to think about who you are going to invite along. This might follow on from the reason your group exists but it might not. If it doesn’t, it might be helpful to consider who would most benefit from being part of a home group, who lives nearby, who is in a similar life or faith stage, or who is on the fringes of church life and could be welcomed further in by taking part.
Also tied up in where and who is when. It’s probably easiest to set a regular time before inviting people. Busy schedules mean that trying to find a convenient time for an already arranged group of people will be very difficult. If your church has regular events already in the calendar, consider setting your meeting at a different time.
Different times of day and regularities work better for different demographics. A late morning meeting works well for a group of retirees. Evenings work best for those in work, although it will be difficult for those with children to attend in the evenings. Similarly, while meeting weekly is the norm, doing so might be too much for busy professionals preferring to meet every other week.
This is where the group really starts to take shape. What are you going to fill your meetings with? There are many options, not limited to prayer, worship, reading and studying the bible, exploring topics around life and faith, eating together, catching up or doing fun activities together. There are almost limitless options for what to do together. But, when starting out, it’s important to keep it simple: Think again about why you are meeting and choose just 2 or 3 things to do to fulfil this purpose.
This final consideration can feel like the most important, but it’s easy to change along the way so don’t spend too long thinking about it before getting going. It’s best to make a start and learn what works best for your group as you go. Have your ear to the ground, wondering what content would help your group connect with God and with one another.
And that’s it. There is, of course, much more that could be said! Do have a look around this site to find more advice. But, when starting out it is crucial to keep it simple and just make a start. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you learn what works and what doesn’t. More importantly, you’ll be amazed at all that God wants to do.