HOW TO: Start a home group in a post-Christian culture

We did it! After almost two years of learning and volunteering, we have finally set out to start our own home group. In our own home. With our own friends, some of whom are Christians, and some are not.

The work is LONG from over, but we feel like this group has gotten off to a good start, and we want to share what we are doing with you, as a resource and an encouragement.

What it looks like

One of my good friends likes the saying, “Meeting without eating is cheating!” Every Wednesday night we meet at 5:30, which is early enough for most people to get home from work and head on over. We provide dinner for the evening so that no one has to worry about cooking or feeding their kids. This is a great way to start each meeting, as it just loosens everyone up and gets people talking about our weeks in an informal setting.

Speaking of kids . . .

We have recruited a member of our church (we are the second home group that makes up the church) to help with children’s programming. What does that look like in this setting? A (VERY) brief lesson related to our lesson for the night, and the kids all playing in our kids’ room while the parents chat. It is great for allowing the adults to have some sustained discussion.

What we study

We decided, based on our context here, that we really want to spend this year talking about who Jesus is. What is at the core of his ministry? What did he set out to do? And, most importantly, if this Jesus character was real and was who he said he was, what does that mean for me in my life?

Keep in mind: Discipleship begins LONG before conversion, and it is good to teach people to follow the teachings of Jesus before expecting them to give their lives to him.

To accomplish this, we are covering stories from the Gospels that touch at this theme. Here is a brief list of the passages we have used (or will use soon), as well as the key point that we’ve distilled out and would like to communicate to people.

  • Zaccheaus (Lk 19) – God is not looking for the big crowds, but wants to dine with the one.
  • The Bread of Life (Jn 6) – Jesus describes who he is with the ultimate metaphor for fullness and satisfaction.
  • Jesus heals a man born blind (Jn 9) – We are given our circumstances to bring God glory.
  • Jesus washes his disciples’ feet (Jn 13) – The servant is not greater than the master. Jesus’ call is for us to serve others selflessly.
  • Laborers in the Vineyard (Mt 20) – God gives generously to all who come to him, regardless of the circumstances surrounding that decision.
  • Jesus’ Mother and Brothers (Mk 3) – Those who “belong” to Jesus are those who follow his commands.
  • The Light in You (Lk 11) – The things we focus our lives around affect our hearts. If we want to be lights to the world we need to focus our hearts on the One who is the True Light of the world.
  • The woman at the well (Jn 4) – We are sometimes not honest with ourselves about the state our lives are in. But Jesus knows us. And he offers us a relationship despite our shortcomings.
  • A Sinful Woman Forgiven (Lk 7) – Jesus wants our love and devotion, not in a desperate attempt to be liked, but in an honest response to who he has proven himself to be.

How to do a Bible Study without being a Bible Scholar

You don’t need to be an expert in ancient languages to have a Bible Study in your home. We are using a study outline known as “Discovery Bible Studies,” which aim to offer meaningful discussion based on a given passage and that alone. Discovery Bible Studies ask questions such as:

  • What stands out to you about this passage?
  • Based on what this passage says, what can we learn about God and his character?
  • Based on what this passage says, what can we learn about mankind?
  • Based on what this says, what is something I could do differently in my life this week?
  • Who do I know that should hear this message this week?

Each week we offer a chance to share experiences from the last week (living out our challenges), and a prayer for the week to come.

You can do this!

We are not doing anything special with these “Hauskreis” (home group) meetings. It’s not anything (frankly) that we even came up with ourselves. Nonetheless, once a week, we are leading friends into discussions about Jesus and hopefully challenging them to change their lives based on the truth Jesus offers.

You can do this. With your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, and your relatives. You don’t need someone’s approval. Go do it. And start making disciples of all the nations, starting where you are.

When you get down to it, that’s the name of the game.

Tschüss!

Nick

 

3 thoughts on “HOW TO: Start a home group in a post-Christian culture

  1. Great words! Thanks for the encouragement. Who knows what God will do with this information!?! 🙂 Praying for you all right now. Sherree

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  2. I just found your blog and love it! Especially what you said about discipleship beginning long before conversion. That is earthshaking! It is the way Jesus did discipleship. He didn’t ask them to confess him as Messiah before he began discipling; rather He reversed the usual process our churchs use today. By the way, I call those people who haven’t fallen in love with Jesus yet, but we’re discipling, prebelievers, in recognition of their growing relationship with Christ. I pray God will continue to bless you and your ministry.

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    • Thanks Stephen! We are really blessed to be here, and have learned a lot from being in a culture that isn’t so “church-attendance-first” oriented. That’s not to say there aren’t benefits to the way we were raised in the states. But this has been a good reminder of the principle you mentioned. Be blessed!

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