There is an intangible, yet powerful atmosphere at home group meetings. Some meetings are electric with excitement, while others are heavy and even boring. What is the main reason factor that accounts for this difference? While many suppose it is the teacher, the real answer is how many people came as workers, filled with the Spirit and ready to edify others. This is an important ministry role that every home group member can and should play. Below are some ideas on how toplay this important role effectively.
Before: Be Ready
- During the day, cultivate an attitude of readiness and alertness. Anticipate satanic attack, and fight back against his accusations, oppression, distractions, etc. Pray for the meeting, the teacher, other workers, and new people who may be coming.
- Prayerfully set specific ministry goals. Heb. 10:24 urges us to “consider how we may stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” Are there newer people you should get to know? Are there friends who need encouragement? Are there important things to announce to the group? When you come with edification goals, you will make a greater impact on others and you will enjoy the evening more!
- Prayerfully consider something to share during the meeting. Meditate on the passage to be taught—God may give you an insight that would be helpful for others. Maybe he wants you to share something from your own walk with him. You may decide during the meeting that it is not necessary or appropriate to share this, or you may decide to share something else—but you should be ready to share.
- If you are bringing a new person, consider asking other friends to pray for the person and talk with him/her. Would it be helpful for the teacher to know of the new person's background or situation?
- If possible, go to home church with others: roommates, family members, friends, new people, etc. When appropriate, pray together for the night. In this way, we help each other to be spiritually ready to serve.
- If possible, come a little early. This is a great time to warmly greet and catch up with other friends, engage new people, help set up the room, pray with the teacher, etc. When several of us do this, it helps create a warm atmosphere for the meeting.
During: Be Edifying (1 Cor. 14:26)
- Be ready to pray at the beginning of the meeting. When a few of us thank God for being together, express anticipation that God will speak to us, etc., this sets the proper tone for the meeting.
- Listen to the teaching carefully and responsively. Interact verbally when appropriate. Pray for the teacher while he/she teaches. If something strikes you that may be good to say after the teaching, make a note of it.
- Does someone seem confused, upset, etc.? Maybe you should talk with him/her afterwards. Perhaps God will put someone on your heart during the meeting. If so, follow this leading!
- Prayer at the end of the meeting should be the high point of the meeting, not a formalistic afterthought. Verbally affirm other edifying prayers. Express your own gratitude to God, or pray for needs that concern the whole group. Avoid long prayers—many shorter prayers are better than a few long-winded prayers.
After: Be Effective
- New people take first priority! Christian hospitality means that no new people should be left unattended. Engage them in friendly conversation, expressing genuine interest in their lives. Discussing spiritual issues is usually appropriate, since they have chosen to come to a Bible study. What spiritual issues are usually appropriate to discuss?
- Try to serve newer or needy home church members. Did God put someone on your heart earlier in the week? Did he draw your attention to someone during the meeting? Try encourage, comfort, advise, exhort, answer questions, etc. as best you can.
- Avoid hanging out only with your closest home group friends. This is an excellent time to get to know and/or catch up with other home church members whom you don’t know so well. Engaging others in the home church in this way helps build the loving unity we prize.
- If time allows, it is enjoyable to end the evening with fellow-workers, discussing what happened that night, rejoicing in what God is doing, considering how to meet needs that arose, praying together, etc.