Written by Pete Lowman
You can download the PDF of this resource here.
The homegroup leader plays a vital role in God’s work. She or he seeks to make sure that homegroup happens, and that it encourages all its members and helps them grow towards God and in his will.
BUT: This DOESN’T mean the homegroup leader themselves looks after the group in all the following areas! In many cases below they may simply identify and encourage someone else who can look after a specific area, and help them find the resources and support they need.
So in that sense a good homegroup leader is someone learning to facilitate:
- Helping group members catch and renew the vision for what they’re doing together (and know exactly when and where it’s taking place)
- Helping the group grow towards God as they feed on the Bible in well-led discussions together
- Helping the group grow towards God as they pray together
- Helping the group grow towards God in worshipping together in a way that suits the group’s character
- Encouraging an atmosphere of trust and friendship, where group members can share burdens and experience true caring, support and encouragement
- Praying for the group’s members, and seeing that someone stays aware of each person linked with it and tries to see that they are cared for and feel included and loved. Also, calling on the church leadership and others with special experience if situations arise beyond the group’s ability to handle. (The homegroup is the place above all where fringe members and newcomers get looked after; so if care doesn't happen through the homegroup there's really no other `safety net`, and people can get forgotten and lost.)
- Helping the group to encourage each other in the gifts each of us has, and to find ways of using them
- Helping the group to encourage each other in growth in witness. (Note: This might mean taking an active role together in something like Alpha. But it’s primarily about our group life encouraging and supporting each other in witnessing where we are; eg, in praying consistently for small, specific steps forward in the relationships we each have with not-yet-Christians; and arranging bridge-building events as appropriate that can deepen our links with each other's not-yet-Christian friends and neighbours.)
- Encouraging the sense of being an enthusiastic, contributing part of a larger church family that is going somewhere together. (This might mean doing something together to help welcome people into the church, eg Sunday morning coffee or cooking, but also simply helping the group stay envisioned and prayerful for where the church is going.) (Note: Homegroup leaders are normally expected to be church members and to commit themselves to its statement of faith annually.)
- Encouraging active expression in our group of God’s heart for the whole world; particularly in practical support for the group’s link missionary, and other mission involvements group members may have
- Attending homegroup leaders’ events as far as possible (and working prayerfully through the notes when it isn’t!); and in general being responsible for the group to the church eldership
- Encouraging the growth of assistant leaders who share the leader’s ministries and in time will take on leadership responsibilities themselves according to their developing gifts.
(NB: the best person to look after many of the above aspects in practice may very well not be the actual homegroup leader)