You did it. You took the step to connect with a Home Group here at The Village Church. As you begin your adventure, consider a few suggestions on how to settle into group life.
Stick With It
Prior to ever attending a group meeting, purpose in your heart to do something counter-cultural. Commit to walk with this group in this season—period. As far as it depends upon you, you’re here for at least three months.
As you enter the living room on that first night, remind yourself that God placed you here. Being in this room with these people, perhaps a room full of complete strangers, is appointed by God for your good and the good of those you are getting to know. Lean in and invest in the work of getting to know these individuals.
Walk in With an Open Hand
Part of your role in this group is to be a minister of reconciliation; that role will require you to have an open hand when it comes to your preferences. Leave behind your checklist of deal-breakers and walk in with nothing more than the sole truth that this is where God has you, for now. This may require you to crucify some fleshly desires.
Are you disappointed because they don’t have snacks? Offer to bring some. Maybe go a step further and ask the group what they’d like to munch on next week.
Do they not all share your passion for social justice? Listen to their stories and passions. Think outside yourself. Work to put aside your own agenda in order to learn more about the individuals you are now doing life with.
Does the conversation seem shallow? Rather than complain on the drive home, be a leader and share with the group an area of sin in your life. For members to recognize Home Group as a safe place to confess and repent, it often takes only one group member to admit their wrestle with sin.
Keep an open hand and be receptive to how God might use you in the lives of your fellow group members.
Learn and Exercise Your Gifts
A great way to learn about and exercise our spiritual gifts is among an intimate group of believers. God has given each of us a unique personality, as well as unique spiritual gifts to use for His glory. It is encouraged that you grow in your gifts surrounded by community. Allow your Home Group to see you for who you are, as you learn to see and love each of them. Encourage one another and build each other up.
Once you have spent several months together, explore these questions together:
“What gifts do we see in one another?”
“How are we being faithful with what God has given us?”
“How is our group life-giving to one another, our church and our community?”
Look for ways to encourage your group members. The more specific you are with an encouragement or example of faithfulness, the better. Encouragement is like spring rain in the garden of community.
Be a Reminder
As your first day with your Home Group becomes a distant memory, you may grow forgetful of why you joined in the first place. Resolve to be a reminder to your group that you are all here for the same reason: a common bond in Jesus Christ. Your shared story of the gospel is the unifying factor of your group, and it is worth repeating.
It’s why we’re together in community in the first place—to remind one another that whether we feel like we’re running full steam ahead or we’re lagging behind, we are to hold fast to Christ. He cleanses our heart, heals our wounds and carries us no matter the season. As believers, we are to spur one another to good works or correct each other as we begin to veer off course. Be reminded and be a reminder of the gospel in your group.
As you link up with group life here at The Village, may the Lord bless you and keep you, making His face shine upon these initial days that you spend with your Home Group. May it be the first of many seasons of growth together in Christ.