Church home groups connect the unconnected. Home groups, cell groups, connect groups, small groups, care groups – whatever you call them – are vital to the health of the church. Learn how these church home groups work and how home groups benefit the church and individual members.
Church Home Groups – Shepherd Under Shepherd
In large churches, it’s doubtful a senior pastor knows every person attending service. It’s also doubtful the senior pastor serves alone. He or she usually has a staff of other ministers who share pastoral responsibilities. But even those pastoral members might not know every person attending service or every need represented in the church. This is where home groups help. Leaders of home groups know their group members, and leaders minister as a shepherd under a shepherd.
Church Home Groups – Connected and Accountable
Church home groups meet for the purpose of getting connected and staying accountable. It’s tough for church members to change churches or drop out of church when there is a network that keeps them tied to the church. Church home groups notice when members are not present. Church home groups notice when mixture moves into a member’s life. And church home groups notice when a member is wounded, isolated from the group, or even ready to take on more leadership.
Church Home Groups – Benefits
Church home groups offer a protected setting for members to use gifts and talents and to share more intimate situations in life–since the groups are small in size. Furthermore, church home groups allow for personal prayer and testimony. Church home groups allow the groups to focus on particular ministry to its members, to the church, or ministries outside the church. Church home groups provide members with opportunity to assimilate pastoral messages and share in Bible study. Church home groups create fellowship times of food and fun. And finally, church home groups connect members from similar life situations, or they simply connect members–so no one stands alone.
Church Home Groups – Ministry
Church home group members comfort one another when loved ones pass away. They supply meals when life is disrupted. They help with food preparation and serving at funerals or weddings. They help when a member moves or when a senior member needs a house painted. Church home groups also open their arms wide to visitors, to new members who need to find connection. And these small group settings are known to take in the church-shy individual–one who may not step foot inside a church building. But the person would check out a home meeting.
Church Home Groups – Hospitality
One important fact about church home groups is that hospitality is required. Some member has opened his or her home for the meeting and used his or her kitchen to provide refreshments or a meal for group participants. He or she has made sure to communicate meeting times and places to those in the group. Some church home groups rotate from home to home, while others remain in the same home. Some church home groups meet weekly, while others meet once or twice per month. And the person who provides the home may or may not be the one who leads the group. In any case, hospitality is a big part of how small groups operate and thrive.
Church Home Groups – Division
At some point in time, a healthy church home group grows to a point where intimacy is less likely to happen. It may grow so large that member’s homes are not large enough to accommodate the entire group. When this happens, a new leader emerges and the group becomes two. This is church growth in action.
Church Home Groups – Information Flow
One final benefit of church home groups is that home group leaders flow information back to the pastor. This way, the pastor learns about the spiritual growth of members, of needs or hurts, of home group concerns, and of gift ministries represented in the home group. This also allows the pastor to have his or her hand on the pulse of the church and to know when problems arise or when pastoral intervention is needed. Church home groups do more than allow information to flow down from the pastor. They also allow information to flow up to the pastor.
Church Home Groups – Church Growth
Care groups, home groups, cell groups or small church groups grow churches. Just look at Dr. Yonggi Cho’s church in Seoul, with several hundred thousand in attendance. His church is built on the cell group or home group principle. Church growth studies show the minimum for church growth is seven smaller groups per hundred people in attendance at Sunday worship. This means a church of 200 members should be operating at least 14 home groups for optimum growth and ministry.
Church home groups are important to the life and functioning of the local church. Church home groups are important to the care and ministry of group members. Finally, church home groups provide an important means of spreading the gospel message. Why not consider implementing home groups in your church?
Dick Tripp, “The Importance of Small Groups”, Exploring Christianity – The Church