Home Groups

Dear Fellow-Disciple:

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

The Holy Spirit is leading the body of Christ into home groups. In home groups, hands-on ministry takes place. Many members of the body of Christ are bleeding emotionally. It is impossible for them to receive personal ministry from the pulpit.

They may receive the word of God from the pulpit, and maybe even physical healing, but it is impossible to receive personal, head-to-head ministry from the pulpit. That comes only through individual or small group ministry.

A minor problem is that some pastors feel threatened by home groups within their congregation. It is impossible for them to visit each group; therefore, they have no control over the groups. This makes them uneasy. Perhaps this feeling stems from insecurity. It certainly doesn't reflect trust in the Holy Spirit. But this is only a minor problem.

The major obstacle confronting the Holy Spirit is that few people consider themselves qualified to lead a home group. They overlook Bible verses, such as the one quoted above. They buy the lie that they need theological training before stepping into a position of leadership. That is simply untrue. Those with theological training have to lay that training aside if they intend to allow the Holy Spirit to direct their group.

Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus." (Acts 4:13)

Here we see the only requirement necessary to be a home group leader. He has to have been with Jesus. To be with Jesus means we sat at His feet and received His ministry. We felt His love, regardless of our unattractive characteristics and our many failures. Because we received His love, we can transmit it to others. In the process, we experience humility.

As Isaiah and Daniel discovered, it is impossible to be in the presence of the Lord without being humbled. When we humble ourselves to God, He is free to raise us up. We can now be trusted with His riches, whatever form they take. We assume the position of steward, representing the Owner. As home group leaders, we must remember that His most precious riches are His people.

The key to leadership in a home group lies in our willingness to give, not in our attempt to receive. We are to serve, not control. Jesus is our pattern. He laid His life down daily. In His ultimate act of service, He put Himself last to all mankind. That is when God exalted Him.

What, precisely, is a home group? A home group is a group of people who relate to each other unconditionally. They release their lives to the kingship of Jesus Christ. They commit to support each other without reservation. By their behavior, they attract the world to want what they have. Each person is a leader, and each leader leads by example. Their outreach is a by-product of their relationship.

It doesn't take much theological training to accomplish the above. Effective home groups boil down to five essential elements:

1. A home group ministers to the needs of the people in the group, whether regulars or visitors.

2. A home group impacts positively on its immediate neighbor- hood.

3. A home group has an effective outreach to the unsaved, stimulated by the love shown by the members of the group for each other.

4. A home group is centered in prayer. Every decision, every action is first submitted to God for His approval.

5. A home group is committed to the Lordship of Jesus.

The commitment of every home group participant, especially the leader, should be to touch God. God's touch on our lives extends beyond our lives on earth. His touch is from eternity; therefore, it has eternal consequences. When Daniel prayed, things were accomplished in the spirit world. A Christ-centered home group can expect the same kind of response.

From man's perspective, God does great and mighty things through him. But those things are nothing from the eternal perspective. The degree of God's work through man depends upon man's willingness to be God's vessel. A group leader is nothing more than God's vessel.

When Jacob wrestled with God, he named the place Peniel, for he said, "I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved." (Genesis 32:24-30) As a result of that humbling touch from God, Jacob was renamed Israel. From that moment, he became a different man. God hasn't changed. He is still willing to allow us to touch Him. Every time we do, we become a different person.

If God calls us to start a home group, we must start it and trust Him to lead it. Remember, faithfulness is expressed in obedience. We should disregard our inabilities and weaknesses.

God doesn't move on our abilities, He moves on our obedience. Christ gave us a commission: Go and disciple all nations. There is no better way to disciple than by example, and there is no better way to disciple by example, than in a home group.

Jesus is King!

P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?

Question for today: Am I willing to be part of a home group?