Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
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POWER OF THE PERSONAL INVITE
Did you ever get invited to someone’s house through a mutual friend and feel awkward going because you didn’t know if the host wanted you there? Or maybe you heard of an open party at someone’s house but didn’t go because you were unsure if you were welcomed. Let’s face it, no one wants to go to a house they weren’t invited to.
We’ve all experienced being invited by someone and feeling special or wanted. Most likely, if you were invited by the host, you would show up! That’s why we want to take initiative and invite people to our Home Groups. We want people to feel welcomed and wanted long before they arrive at our homes so that God can begin to do a work in and through their lives as they grow during this season.
The Bible speaks a lot about the power of personal invites. Peter was invited by Andrew to meet Jesus, and later became one of the 12 apostles and Phillip invited Nathanael to come and see who Jesus was. Jesus and the disciples walked the Earth inviting everyone to know God! Maybe that's how you got to church and met Jesus! God gave us an example of what it looks like to seek after the lost and build community! We have a great opportunity during the Home Group season to invite people to our homes who have never been to church AND to invite people that are already part of our church!
We have more opportunities than we may think, for example, at your children’s sports games, the grocery store, the waiter or waitress you've been requesting at your favorite restaurant, or maybe the person you sat next to on Sunday- the opportunities are everywhere! Let’s take initiative, invite people and watch as God allows us to be a part of seeing them grow!
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Stay on Topic
It doesn't matter if you have a small or large group, whenever people are put in a room together, you never know where the conversation will end up! This is where the leader comes in. Maybe you are thinking, “why does it matter if we stay on topic?” or “let’s just see where the Spirit leads.” The Bible says a lot about the importance of seeking wisdom and coming together to talk about Him and praise Him. If we go off topic it distracts from all that God wants us to learn from the lesson.
It says in Proverbs 2:2-5:
Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. It comes with focus and intentionality. So how can you lead your group to stay on topic?
Here’s three things you can do when someone goes off topic:
If that person keeps leading the conversation in the wrong direction, you can have a personal conversation with them, explaining the importance of staying on topic. Let’s remember, it is that teaching that brought everyone together which means there’s something really powerful in discussing it as a group!
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Lead By Example
“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example”- John Wooden
Every Christian is a leader whether we feel like one or not. God calls us to lead people to Jesus, so they can experience His life changing Presence! He expects us to lead our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and now our Home Groups.
For us to be effective leaders, we will have to lead by example. People won’t believe what you say unless you do what you say. It says in James 2:18 ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. If we truly believe something, it reflects in our behavior. For example, if you talk about how great Duck Donuts is all the time, you tell people they have to go, and you reviewed them on their site, but you’ve never been there, it’s going to be hard to get someone to try it out. We have the greatest responsibility as Christians to reflect Jesus because if we are all talk and there isn’t a change in our behavior and lifestyle, then people are going to think we are a joke.
We can either lead people closer to Jesus or further away, depending on how we are living our life. Take a second to think about the things you do, and ask yourself, will this encourage people to grow in their relationship with Jesus?
Here are some practical examples of what we can look for in our own life. Maybe we tell people that God provides for us, but we don’t show that we trust Him with our finances by tithing. Maybe we invite people to church all the time, but we don’t even come every Sunday. Or we talk about how important it is to be grateful and thankful, but we complain about our job, car, and kids. If we want to see God use us to impact people in our lives, then the same things we talk about or ask Him for, we need to ask God to help us to do in us.
Your group members are already looking to you for direction and wisdom, so let’s make sure we are leading them in a way that’s going to challenge them to grow closer to God!
HOME GROUP LEADER'S VIDEO
Do you have people in your home group that have shared personal struggles with their marriage, relationships, or feelings of being single? Who we marry will have a lasting impact on our lives and will ultimately affect if we live out the call and purpose God has for our lives. In order for us to have healthy relationships, we need to know what God says about them and allow that to become our filter. Check out this Bible Plan or share it with a group member that would benefit from it!
Q: HOW DO I KEEP UP WITH MY GROUP MEMBERS?
A: Planning Center has created a service called “Groups” that makes managing & contacting members of your group easy! Check out the video below to learn how to use the Groups App! If it is easier for your group members you can also use Facebook, or start a group text chat!
Q: HOW IMPORTANT IS THE ATMOSPHERE OF MY HOME?
A: People have a ‘good’ experience before they have a ‘God’ experience. From the moment they arrive, guests should feel welcome and ‘at home.’ You might get to host someone who hasn’t been to church yet, so by extension, this is their first experience with Journey. Scented oils/candles, a clean house & good food are some easy ways to make people feel welcome!
Q: WHAT DO I DO FOR FOOD AT MY GROUP?
A: Each week, coordinate as a group how you will divide the responsibility of next week’s meal. This may be a potluck dinner, dessert, or just snacks - you decide! We do not want you to bear the burden of cost and preparation every week.
Q: HOW DO I GROW MY GROUPS?
A: With the weeks leading up to the start of Home Groups, we are going to have stations set up on Sunday at each Campus so that you can talk to guests and teammates about joining your group. The amount of people in your group will depend on the amount of time and effort you put in to inviting people personally to your group. This will help alleviate the amount of people that sign-up but don't show up due to fears such as going to an uncomfortable, new environment. Use every situation to invite people to your group! Who are the people you see on Sunday? What about neighbors, family members, or co-workers? Have you invited them to your group? Look at every interaction as an opportunity!
Q: SHOULD I HAVE CHILDCARE?
A: If you have kids, we highly encourage you to get childcare for your group because it will broaden the amount of people who are able to attend. We want to do our best to make sure we have ample room across all our groups for families with kids, and it makes it easy to host childcare at your home for all families involved.
Q: HOW DO I GET CHILDCARE?
A: If you have a regular babysitter that you use often, you are welcome to enlist their help for childcare services. If you are in need of a childcare provider, you can use Care.com to help you find a babysitter in your area. It's the same organization the church works closely with & uses for events that we hold (Black & White Leadership Nights, etc.).
Q: HOW DO I PAY FOR CHILDCARE?
A: If your group has children, discuss how much the babysitter is paid and split the cost amongst parents (regardless of how many kids they have - give the family with 5 kids a break for once!). We recommend having parents in your home group pay for the babysitter one week ahead of time. They can pay with cash or through the Zelle or Venmo app. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions!
If your group has 7 children in it, and 2 of them are your own, three of them are from one family, and two of them are from another, here would be the breakdown:
You would hire one babysitter at $15/hr for about 2 hours, so that would cost the group $30. Divide the total cost of childcare ($30) by 3 families, and each of you would be responsible for $10 each night of home groups.