What about children (and child care)?
First, we want you to know that children are welcome. They are an important part of our faith family, and we want them to be at Home Groups. Secondly, there is flexibility in how groups address child care. The age of the children will dictate how much they participate in the flow of the weekly meeting. It is important that children live in community with their parents. We want the other Home Groups members to know each other's children.
We also want our children to be on mission with their families. This is an important part of our discipleship and spiritual growth.
What can you communicate to children before you bring them?
Children are a huge part of Home Groups. We love for them to participate. We have found that if children know what to expect, they are more apt to participate and behave well. So it is good to communicate to your children what will happen during your Home Group meeting such as...
- Eating a meal/snack together
- Sharing praises, struggles, and prayer request
- Talking about God, the Bible and all that God is doing in our lives
Each group varies on how they handle the children, with the ages of children being a big determinant.
Do I need to be a member to attend a group?
No. We welcome and encourage our guests to check out a Home Group. It would be a great way to get to know the Stonegate family.
If I am a member, do I have to attend a Home Group?
All members sign a membership covenant agreeing to be in a Home Group. We certainly understand that you cannot make every meeting; however, we want all of our members to fight for consistency in your Home Group. We believe it will be one of the greatest blessings for your family.
Is a Home Group a Bible study?
Not primarily. It is primarily a community formed by the Gospel and sent out on mission. One aspect of our Home Groups is a time of studying God's word and/or talking about what God is doing in your personal time in God's word.
Where do Home Groups meet?
Home Groups meet in homes.
When do Home Groups meet?
Each Home Group will decide when to meet during the week. The church does not mandate any specific time for a group to meet. It is up to your Home Group to determine a night and time that works well for those involved.
Do I have a role if I am attending a group?
Yes! There are many things to be done for a Home Group to function well. Home Groups will need to delegate a variety of jobs such as food and drinks, hosting the Home Group, child care if necessary, worship, administrative work, etc. If you do not have a specific job, you are still encouraged to read and pray through the specific text so that you can participate in the discussion. If you want a role in your group, contact your leaders and discuss it with them.
Why Home Groups rather than a traditional Sunday School model?
This is just a brief answer as to why we do Home Groups. We think Home Groups are the most strategic and effective way to build the Kingdom through making disciples. That does not mean it is the only way, we just think it is the most effective.
Discipleship or making disciples is what we are going after. We think that discipleship has three components. Picture a three-legged stool. On one leg the word Gospel is written. On another the word Community, and on the last, Mission. If one of those legs is missing the stool falls over. The stool is not a stool if you can't sit on it. Discipleship is the same. If Gospel, Community or Mission is missing, discipleship is incomplete. We think Home Groups is the best way to make disciples.
We want the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be talked about and applied to our lives by our community (or family), and shared with a lost and needy world on mission.