Having been part of, or leading Home Groups for much of my Christian life, I know first-hand the value of being part of the community of church. I know that the discipline of individual bible study on a regular basis is vital to my spiritual growth, but something wonderful happens when we can meet with each other to discuss God’s word and will for our lives.
The bible is clear that we should journey with companions and not independently. See Proverbs 27:17. We journey as a community so that our faith walk is not an echo chamber but rather an openminded forum where we can be shaped and transformed by the renewing of our minds. See Romans 12:2. However, lockdown certainly put an end to being able to do this in person! What a shock to the system to only see our loved ones and friends as digital versions of themselves. But now we have been given the gift of being able to meet once again – hurrah! This is a part of the roadmap we can get on board with! We are now able to meet, 6 people indoors and 30 people outdoors. This breathes new life into Home Groups.
Here at Home Groups, we are not afraid to include topics of the day that go beyond our theology, culture, and comfort zone. It is good to talk and it’s even better to talk face to face rather than on ANOTHER online meeting. It is so much easier to have an in-depth discussion in person.
Did you know that face to face contact is like a vaccine? Psychologist Susan Pinker says,
“Face-to-face contact releases a whole cascade of neurotransmitters, and, like a vaccine, they protect you now, in the present, and well into the future, so simply […] shaking hands, giving somebody a high-five is enough to release which increases your level of trust, and it lowers your cortisol levels, so it lowers your stress.”
NB: I am not in any way suggesting you start high fiving just yet but you get the point that being together is good…
Also, research has shown that interacting with each other can train our brain. It helps us to protect against memory loss as we recall information together.
There is a breadth of resource available at your fingertips on the homegroups website – so why not explore this newfound freedom and join a local homegroup. If you do not have one at your church, why don’t you be brave and start a whole new roadmap of discovery by starting one? Check out this article to read all the advice on starting and leading a group.
I guess it can come with some trepidation though – even positive change can lead to anxiety. My top tip would be to go at your own pace, baby steps are fine. My mum used to say little and often was the best way with social interaction and I think that is a great approach to the ‘new normal.’
Another tip would be to get into a routine of meeting people again, a mid-week home group would be an ideal place to start a healthy routine of meeting people consistently.
Article written by Julie Wilson – Editor of homegroups.org.uk since March 2021.