The Sunday morning gathering is our weekly worship of God as a gathered church when we proclaim the gospel through biblical exposition, singing, giving, and prayer. This is an essential, non-negotiable part of what we do as a biblically obedient church. At the same time, we desire a deeper obedience to the what the Scriptures teach about Christian discipleship than what might ordinarily be done during the single weekly gathering on Sunday.
Why do we have home groups?
God is triune in his nature and he perfectly enjoys relationship within the persons of the Godhead. People are made in God’s image and are therefore designed by God to enjoy relationship. People are made to relate to God and others. We believe Home Groups are one way to help promote healthy relationships between Christians in the local church. Our busy American lives so easily push out meaningful Christian relationship. Home Groups are a deliberate interruption to our busy lives so that we put into our schedule a necessary component for what we believe is essential for Christian health – biblically centered, Christian fellowship.
Jesus said, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35). Certainly love for other believers is expressed between Christians when they gather on Sunday. However, it seems obvious that Christians cannot isolate the command to love one another to a two hour block of time on a Sunday morning. We believe small group time nurtures and provides additional occasions where Christians can live out love for one another.
When do Christians put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience toward one another (Colossians 3:12–13)? When are Christians able to bear with one another? Obedience to these commands can be accomplished in some measure when the church is gathered on Sunday morning. However, we believe these kinds of Christian virtues aren’t primarily expressed in a crowd. We believe Home Groups offer a setting where Christian relationships can grow to a depth where these biblical “one-another” commands become a part of our rhythm of life together. Typically people are not meaningfully discipled in a large group. You can teach and give instruction to a large group, but the individuals in the crowd must live in obedience to that teaching in a more personal setting. We believe Home Groups offer a wonderful place for one-on-one discipling relationships to be discovered, formed, and nurtured.
Jesus gave his church a great commission (Matthew 28:19-20). How does the church live out faith-filled obedience to the great commission? That happens in part as the church supports and promotes the weekly proclamation of the gospel through faithful biblical exposition of the Scriptures. Yet the great commission requires courageous obedience from individual Christians in their specific walks of life. We believe Home Group is one way for Christians to encourage each other to be faithful about God’s mission work in the world. A small group is able to pray about the great-commission opportunities in one another’s lives. As an extension of the individual Christian’s responsibility to participate in fulfilling the Great Commission, a Home Group can encourage and creatively work together to do great commission work in their shared neighborhoods and communities.
We do not believe the Scriptures require every church to do Home Groups or that a church must do them like we do. Rural or small town settings might not need the same kind of focused help as us city-dwellers. Home groups are not intended to be an event but to nurture and foster a lifestyle of discipleship. God has high and good expectations for his children to live out their new identity as a spiritual family. As we obey, God receives fame and glory, and the worship of King Jesus increases. Home Group is one way we aim to obey our King.