Building Community in Home Group
Written by Pete Lowman
You can download the PDF of this resource here.
How can we foster warmer fellowship and deeper community in our homegroup?
We can reflect on this in our own group, starting with two questions:
- What characterises our time with people we like?, and
- What has characterised groups we've enjoyed being part of?
1. What characterises our time with people we like?
Answers from one gathering of homegroup leaders included…
- activities where we can talk together
- shared interests (grandchildren… hobbies… shared history and memories… shared passion for God's kingdom)
gym, fishing, boating, playing badminton, listening to music, TV, making people smile, bowling, walking , social evenings, jazz café , watching videos, going to the pub together, quizzes, games…
How many of these could be adapted to help in building relationships with each other in our homegroup? (and, with people God is beginning to draw into his family?)
2. Then: what has characterised groups we've enjoyed being part of?
Answers from the same group included…
- going through experiences or even suffering together
- having the same challenges and concerns
- lots of time together
- planning together
- laughing together
- mutual commitment (trust that everybody is wanted)
- feeling a significant sense of being needed by each other
3. What activities could we do together to build our sense of homegroup community?
- An evening when we're just meeting to eat a take away meal and chat
- cook together
- walk or barge trip
- games evening
- night out together
- bring & share night where everyone brings a favourite record or poem
- cooking or washing up for Alpha
- joint project, working together, doing something for others (eg gardening makeover, DIY, wallpapering)
- watching a film together (whether `big-content', for discussion, or brainless, for amusement)
- picnic, barbecue, hiring a patisserie
- birthday parties
- going dancing together
- game with questions: eg What is your earliest memory? What are you proud of from your schooldays?
Which of these would our group like to do in the next four months?
4. What other ideas can build fellowship in our homegroup?
- Address/phone/e mail lists (NB be sensitive to the `digital divide'; not everyone loves the computer!); texting each other; lists of birthdays; map of where people live...
- Breaking up a large meeting into smaller subgroups can help everybody belong (but you don't want to have two subgroups in the same room - you need one or at least three)...
- Are there diverse personalities in your group? The prize is bigger in terms of what you can learn from each other, but the journey's harder...
- We need God's guidance to find our way consciously through the tension of intimacy (deepening relationships) over against openness to newcomers; and, meeting mainly in the same house gives continuity, but moving round enables more spouses to come…
- Like in a party, getting to know each other can work better if sometimes we’re all standing up and more likely to mill around...
- A good group embodies the sense that anyone can be used by God to bless others. It’s a vital ability in the leader to underline this, to spot people’s strengths and help them grow with what they’ve got....
The very existence of a homegroup is a witness in a culture hungry for true community!
Collated by Pete Lowman, with thanks especially to Simon Hodgson.