In the August Community News we looked at the purpose of homegroups. They are designed to build community and to develop disciples—discipleship in community. All group members are involved in both of these intertwined aspects of their homegroup. How is each and every person (not just the leaders) involved in making a homegroup thrive? How does someone function well as a homegroup member?
First, and foremost, you must join a homegroup. Second, and really more important, you must show up to the homegroup meetings. If you do those two things, you are well on your way to becoming a good homegroup member!
The role of a homegroup leader is to facilitate the group through the stated goals, which include studying the Bible, worship, prayer and building community. Leaders also coordinate various forms of service. All homegroups are assigned on a rotating basis to serve with the Children’s Ministry during Sunday worship services. In addition, most homegroups participate in providing Thanksgiving Meal Bags each November, twenty-four groups provide either lunch or dinner to Transition House residents each calendar year, and various other service projects take place. Leaders also coordinate homegroup meals and, of course, weekly dessert.
Although leaders play an important role in a homegroup, without member participation the group will fall flat. Leaders provide a structure and members fill it in. Each week, homegroups study a specific Bible passage assisted by a study guide. Leaders come prepared to lead a discussion, but that is only fruitful if the members have prepared to participate. Similarly, leaders may come prepared to lead a time of prayer, but if no one participates it is simply an awkward several minutes. Homegroup prayer time is a wonderful place to learn to pray aloud with a small group of people. God is glorified as we lift our voices in concurrence to him. Likewise, the Bible discussion is a safe place to study God’s word and ask questions about its meaning and application to your life.
Homegroup membership is most meaningful for a person, as well as the rest of the group, if there is personal investment in the group process. Engaging in the community aspect of homegroup is important. As you build relationships and connect with others in the group, all of the elements of a homegroup become more meaningful and you are further formed as a disciple. This is why weekly attendance is essential, and participating in the social aspect of homegroup is important. Many groups spend the first portion of their meeting enjoying dessert and talking. This is not an optional part to skip or a time cushion to be tardy! Hanging out and enjoying one another’s company—getting to know each other—is all part of building community, which is a key part of homegroup. Remember, the purpose of a homegroup is discipleship in community.
A rich homegroup experience is the responsibility of each person in the group, not just the leaders. Our gracious and merciful God has created us all as unique and valuable individuals. On account of diverse life experiences we will each contribute to our group in a way that no one else can. Leaders facilitate the core elements of a homegroup. Yet it is only when homegroup members invest themselves that they will experience deeper fellowship, enjoy homegroup more, and grow closer to God. It is our hope at SBCC that group members embrace homegroup in a way that produces commitment and enthusiasm to make the homegroup experience excellent for all involved.