One of the ways that I have been able to practice hospitality over the years has been through hosting a small group in our home. Even though domestic things don’t always come naturally to me, and we haven’t always lived in houses set up for entertaining, God has always done great things.
Gathering with others in people’s homes has dramatically impacted my faith. It has also helped my overall well-being as a person. In His article, 5 Reasons a Small group is Essential for Your Health, Jonathan Hayashi shares that a strong community is a powerful tool God uses to transform believers. One thing you can do to promote this type of community is to host a small group in your home.
Meeting together in homes has been a long-standing tradition that Christians have been participating in since the beginning of the Church. It is one of the earliest forms of practicing community that we see in the book of Acts. Before they had church buildings to meet in, they met in homes.
Small groups, life groups, community groups, or whatever you call them are typically set up to create authentic relationships where people can grow in intimacy with God and others. To have the kind of connection that comes from meeting together weekly and sharing our lives with others is hard to explain until you have experienced it. Your small group can become like family.
Yet, I sometimes feel uneasy about hosting a small group.
As a pastor’s wife, I have hosted many small groups. And, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a bit domestically challenged. As a result, there have been seasons when I felt inadequate to invite people into my home.
So many of my friends have beautiful houses, are better cooks, or are all-around superior housekeepers. Blessings always come when I can get past these thoughts and open my home.
Related post: I Don’t Invite People Over
It doesn’t matter how big or beautiful your house is!
I’m here to tell you that you can be a blessing to others no matter the size of your house. The first small group I was a part of was held in a graduate school apartment. These are not typically known for being luxurious. Yet, I felt accepted and cared for in this tiny apartment, giving me a safe place to explore my faith.
The host couple cooked for us and treated us like family. They had a baby; the rest of us were newly married, engaged, or single. Being just a step ahead of us, we looked up to them and their wisdom about this next stage of life. They also laughed when my husband coughed right after he took a sip of their delicious hazelnut coffee and spewed it all over our friends and their apartment. (You can always count on us to do things like this). They still invited us back.
Five reasons why you should host a small group in your home
At my church, we often have more people that want to join a small group than we have available homes for them to meet in. You don’t need to have a degree in Theology to facilitate a group in your home; you just need to be willing.
Now let’s get down to the top five reasons you should host a small group in your home!
1. It forces you to clean your house
Being forced to clean the house may seem silly, but it has been incredibly beneficial for me. Hosting a small group in my home keeps me up on my housework and helps me get my kids involved. It’s easy for me to become a total slacker when not hosting people in my house.
If the thought of getting your house ready for a small group feels overwhelming, you may want to try my 10-minute cleanup. It works great.
Also… throwing all the junk from the living room into a laundry basket and shoving it into the laundry room (or somewhere else out of the way), and closing the door has saved the day for those times that my husband tells me at the last minute, “Oh, by the way, John and his family are coming over for dinner in 15 minutes.” (Yes… this has happened to me)
2. You will have better attendance when you host a small group
It’s true, you will have better attendance if you host a small group… and by attendance, I mean your own. There is no better way to get you to show up to the small group than to have your small group literally come to you. On those days that you just aren’t feeling it… people will show up at your door. It’s great for accountability.
Sometimes motivation is my biggest struggle. I often get tired and don’t prioritize the right things. I never regret being in community with other believers, even if it is hard to get myself there.
3. You will meet new people when you host a small group
One of the unexpected blessings of being a pastor’s wife is that I am forced to get to know people I may not have in other circumstances. My husband and I spend time with many people I would not have thought had anything in common. The blessings come as I get to know them and find that not only do we have things in common, but I adore these new people and learn from them. This same thing can happen in the small group setting.
4. You will be challenged to grow in your faith
There is nothing like being in a group with people asking hard questions. These can be questions about God to which you don’t know the answers or complex questions about yourself. Challenging yourself to find the answer or think of things in a new way is one of the best ways to learn. It is beautiful to be around people who may see things differently from you.
On a different note, the challenge of welcoming people into your home even when you don’t feel like it will also help you grow. I have days where I REALLY want to go home, crawl into bed, and watch Gilmore Girls. Instead, I suck it up and welcome our small group into our home. Inevitably, those are the times that God has work to do in me, and I am grateful that I showed up… because I had to.
Hosting your small group takes away your “out.”
5. You will be a blessing to others if you host a small group
There are a lot of “one anothers” in the Bible. Love one another. Bear one another’s burdens. Forgive one another. Stir one another on toward love and good works. Pray for one another. Confess your sins to one another. The list goes on.
Being part of a community of Christians is sometimes challenging and frustrating because we are still sinful humans and are each in a different place in our spiritual journey. Relationships can be messy and require work, but we are not meant to live this life alone. Working through things with others refines us as we live out all the “one anothers” together.
This is difficult to do in the context of only Sunday mornings at church. To experience these things, you must be in each other’s lives. How do you bear someone’s burden or pray for one another if you don’t know what they need?
In conclusion, By hosting a small group, you will have a cleaner house once a week (we’re not asking for perfection here!), have excellent attendance, get to know new people, be challenged to grow in your faith, and be a blessing to others. All these things come by simply offering a safe place for believers to be themselves and struggle through the Christian life with others. This is where refining can take place. What a blessing to be a part of that.
I have been a part of many small groups. Some groups served a meal (which I highly recommend), some brought their dinner with them and ate together, and some just served snacks and coffee. It’s okay to start small.