God’s Word tells us that we are all hard-wired for community. Yes, there are differences between us. But at a foundational level, we all desire and need community, where we can share our lives with one another. Being in community is not only a desire, it is also a need. It is impossible to live out God’s purpose for our lives without the help of others. Living for the glory of God by being gospel-centered and gospel-spreading demands a team effort. This is why our Home Group ministry is such a key part of our church ministry strategy.
While community does happen during our Sunday worship gatherings, it is also expressed during the week in a smaller group setting, what we call Home Groups. These are groups typically made up of 7-15 adults. Most Home Groups gather weekly to discuss the sermon what was preached from the pulpit, to pray and to share in life’s highs and lows.
Again, there is no denying that there are differences between us. Home Groups at Indian Trail Church seek to honor these differences. Although verbal participation in the group discussion, prayer and sharing times is encouraged, participation is voluntary. This means that if at first you are uncomfortable verbally participating in gatherings, or if you’re just more of the quiet and reflective type all the time, you can participate at the level you feel comfortable. Our hope is that over time each member of a Home Group finds participating in the group more and more natural, both giving and receiving through the temperament and personality God gave them.
Common Home Group Questions and Answers
Can we bring our children?
Although having a childcare strategy is not required of any Home Group, we do encourage groups to have one. This strategy can range from having the kids play nearby in another location in the home to having paid babysitters. Most infants stay with the adults during the gathering. Our Home Group directory indicates what Home groups have a childcare strategy. What that specific strategy is can be found out by contacting each Home Group leader.
How often does a Home Group gather?
There is not a set pattern here. Most groups gather on a weekly basis. Some groups meet for three weeks and then take a week off. Some groups meet every other week.
When do groups gather?
Although Home Groups gather throughout the week at different times and days, most groups gather for about an hour and a half on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, sometime between 6:00 to 8:00pm.
What is the typical number of people in a Home Group?
The typical group is made up of 9 -17 adults. Our desire is that as Home Groups mature, people in the group will feel the call to become group leaders themselves, so that when the group reaches 17 or more, a plan for birthing a new group can be considered.
Do people have to be in groups near where they live?
No, but it is recommended. Being in a Home Group with others who live nearby gives you more opportunities to see each other outside of the regular group gatherings. Home Groups that are made up of people that live nearby each other can benefit from spontaneity and frequency of connection around everyday life, but it is not a requirement.
What does the typical gathering look like?
Although no one Home Group gathering will look the same, the typical Home Group gathering has a time for informal conversations, group discussion, prayer, and sharing. Some HG gatherings also share in a meal together.
What do Home Groups study and discuss?
Because our sermons are expositional in nature, our typical Home Group discussion are sermon-based. Groups do have the freedom to study other biblical topics or books of the bible that are not based on the sermon preached from our pulpit.
What is the makeup of the typical Home Group?
Although groups are not obligated to shape their groups around diversity, diversity is encouraged – old with young, married with single, etc.
Do I have to participate in the discussion or pray out loud?
Although the desire is that everyone would feel encouraged to be regular participants, the only requirement to join a Home Group is simple social etiquette. Everyone should feel free to do no more than observe and listen; participation in group prayer, discussion, sharing, and other activities is completely voluntary.
Is there freedom to try out different groups?
Yes. Not every group will fit every person, so trying out more than one group is embraced and welcomed. Although long term involvement is encouraged, changing groups is not frowned upon. We do believe there are good reasons God will move people from one group to another. Group members are encouraged to talk this over with the leader without fear of being wrongly judged.
Are Home Group based on ages and stages?
Although our main approach to forming Home Groups is around all ages and stages of life (married, empty-nesters, singles, older, younger), there is also openness to forming affinity groups when needed. However, we do believe that diversity within a Home Group is one of the better formulas toward pursuing the three loves.
Is there a financial commitment of any kind?
No. The only exceptions to this are when groups have paid childcare or the group chooses to study some topic that requires purchasing certain resources like a book or curriculum.
Do groups gather all year long?
Groups are encouraged to meet all year long, but are free to take breaks when appropriate and necessary. Each group is free to decide how often they meet and when they take breaks, understanding that biblical community is not a seasonal activity, but a lifestyle.
What if I can't make all the gatherings?
Although there is a value in attending as many Home Group gatherings as possible, our goal is not about committing to a time and place, but belonging to a people and purpose. And although attending a Home Group gathering helps create this belonging, it is possible to belong to a Home Group without attending the Home Group gathering consistently.