The Why And What Of Homegroups At SBCC

Erin PattersonCommunity News

If you’ve been around here much, you will have heard homegroups mentioned quite a bit. As a church family, we are deeply invested in small group discipleship. Our mission at SBCC is to be a community of believers looking upward to God, growing inward in Christ, and moving outward by the Spirit for the glory of God. There are many ways we try to live this out as a church family; one big one is our commitment to homegroups, which help us live out this mission in very practical, regular and intentional ways. Homegroups meet weekly in groups of approximately 6-18 people to:

  • Read and study Scripture;
  • Pray and worship together;
  • Build friendships;
  • Care for one another; and
  • Encourage one another toward spiritual maturity and joy in Christ.

We believe that church, according to the Bible, is more than a collection of programs, more than a building where people go to “be fed” or to be the passive recipients of religious goods and services. We ourselves are the church! We have the great privilege and responsibility to live out the teachings of Jesus within community; we learn and grow in our faith as we build relationships and share life and ministry together.

What’s The Time Commitment?

Homegroups run from September to May, meeting weekly in around 70 locations from Carpinteria to Goleta. Most groups are an hour and a half to two hours long and meet on weeknights.

Although August and January mark the beginning of each homegroup session, you can join a group with space at any time.

What Can I Expect?

A typical group will include some social/hangout time, reading and study of the Bible, and prayer. Many groups regularly share dessert or a simple meal together. The Bible study is tied to the sermon series, using weekly study guides written by our pastoral staff. Group members spend some time preparing by reading the passage and working through the discussion questions before coming to homegroup. Most groups have four leaders.

Do Homegroups Ever Study Books Other Than The Bible?

In a word, no. We all study the same passages of Scripture from week to week in our homegroups, and this is a unifying factor in our church family that has been precious over the years. Bible literacy is continually declining in our times, and we feel it’s more important than ever to continue to learn what the Bible says and to let it shape us. And although we do read the Bible alone, we also need the insights of others—what I don’t understand, another may be able to shed light on it!

Can I Switch Groups?

Yes! Although many groups have members that stay together long term, there are many good reasons to mix it up. The best time to join a new group is at the beginning of either the fall or spring sessions.

Are There Child-Friendly Groups?

Yes, we have several groups that hire babysitters to care for all the group’s kids together. There are also groups that follow a rotating schedule, i.e. something like this: week 1 men only, week 2 women only, week 3 all adults, week 4 whole families.

Are There Age-Specific Groups?

Most of our groups are intergenerational on purpose, because we have come to treasure the relationships that we build with people we may not have encountered otherwise! However, sometimes we are in a season in which we really need the company of peers, and we do have some groups made up of people in a similar stage of life.

I Don’t Know Much About The Christian Faith Or The Bible. Will I Feel Out Of Place In A Homegroup?

We hope not! We are all very different, with different strengths to offer, and we hope you’ll feel warmly welcomed as we are all considering together how to take the next step toward Jesus in our lives.

This fall, we will also have a special series of homegroups called Launch Groups, geared toward those who would like to explore more about the basics of the Christian faith. Although you are more than welcome to jump into a regular group, if you are new to it all or returning to the faith, this may be a great place to get started.

How Do I Sign Up?

Homegroup sign-ups begin August 20th, and groups start the week of September 11th. You can access the sign-up form online at our website (dev.sbcommunity.org/homegroups). The information on the form helps me match you with a group that fits your schedule and is close to your part of town.

Any questions? Please get in touch! My email is *protected email*.