My family has relocated several times over the past fifteen years. While numerous tasks accompany this experience, one of the most important is finding a new home. Factors such as location, cost, proximity to school, work, and church, neighborhood, must all be considered. Deciding on the best home is the result of careful evaluation, establishing priorities, and wise management of resources.
What about finding a home for your small group family? For many churches, accelerated growth and limited space may require new groups to meet away from the church building. When churches seek to find off-campus locations for groups, many factors must also be considered.
The Purpose of the Group
For this post, assume the home group is an extension of the Sunday School and is designed to function as an open group. Assist the group members in identifying their target people group whether it is families in the neighborhood or already identified acquaintances from the social circles of group members. Some groups may not choose to meet in a home at all but rather a more neutral location such as a coffee shop in order to engage those who are completely unreached. Home groups should be able to clearly identify their people group.
The host home should be warm and welcoming. While every host wants to be ready for guests, the message should be that real people still live in the house. No one wants to have a small group meeting in a museum. Furnishings, décor, and overall atmosphere should invite group participants to feel at home and in the company of others to whom they can relate. Space should be sufficient for a seating arrangement that allows group members to view each other’s faces. Other considerations such as ease of locating, access, and parking should also be kept in mind.
Participants in the Group
Who will attend the group meeting? Ten single people will arrive in a different number of vehicles than five married couples. If children will be present at the meeting, teenagers will require different space than preschoolers. If the group has children of all ages, the variety of space needs increases again. Access for disabled group members may also need to be considered.
Proximity to the Church
In some cases, groups may meet in a home while their children participate in a program at church. This solution may work, but travel time between the host home and church must be factored into the overall time allotted. Also, consider the strategy you will use to eventually connect small group members to worship and service in and through your church.
Elements of the Meeting
If a meal is a part of the meeting, preparation and serving space should be considered. If the Bible study content is video driven, quality picture and sound is a must. Should the group desire to break off into smaller groups for prayer/accountability, this also may need to be thought through.
Be thorough when selecting a home for your small group family.