These are just some reasons why I think its best to have CD groups in homes as opposed to a church building. Some large bible study groups, lectures, seminars, training times might best occur in the church building. But I think the home is the best (I don’t say only) place, in general, for a small group to thrive and eventually multiply.
Several people have asked me, “Since we have a new building, will we move our CD groups into it?” My answer is an unequivocal “no.” Let me explain. First of all, there is no command in scripture on where to have a CD/community/fellowship group or bible study. So they could gather in the new church building, and there may be some which eventually take place in the church. But here’s why I think its best to have CD groups in homes.
1.) Homey. There is a much more, well, “homey” feel to a home. That’s obviously impossible to argue. People tend to feel more comfortable in homes. You can get to know someone at church for a bit, but there is a difference when you get to know someone in a home. It just goes deeper. To me its the difference between knowing someone at work and doing something with that co-worker outside of work. It’s just a different environment and that makes for a more personal relationship. I was also asked once,”We’ll keep the groups in the homes when we get the building, right?” Those who meet in homes usually don’t want to stop. Even one youth was sad to hear that we wouldn’t keep having youth group in homes. I assured her that we would have youth group in the youth house. I guess that sufficed….But it just showed me that even some youth like that “homey” feel.
2.) Where do pastors want folks to live out their faith? We want people to live out their faith where they work, play, live. Everyone’s home should be a place of discipleship. Parents are the primary instructors of their children. Parents read their bibles in their homes. Most of life happens outside the church building, and that is good. So this is but another opportunity to apply the gospel IN a place where life happens. What better way to expound and apply the gospel truth than by literally bringing fellowship, prayer, study of God’s Word INTO the home?
3.) Mature disciple. The mature disciple is not someone who spends 7 nights a week at the church building. That is not maturity-that is a flight from loving your family, neighbors, non-believers. The benefit of not having a church building is that people can’t be “at church” 24/7. As a result, it is sometimes necessary to make sure folks aren’t at the church building 24/7. A mature disciple cares for his/her family, cares for his/her neighbors, shows mercy, reaches out to lost, and makes other disciples, etc…These things just simply can’t be done if one is at the church building all the time (though I’m incredibly thankful for those who’ve spent almost whole days here getting the building ready for worship!). Having CD groups in church building doesn’t mean this will happen, but simply can open the door for that mentality.
4.) Invitation A home makes it easier to invite people, particularly those who may be hesitant to come to your church.
5.) Limitation. Having a group study in your home limits the size. CD groups really operate best when they have 8-14 people. When they get too big, it’s best to multiply them. A large building offers the opportunity for a large crowd. But again, having 25 in a bible study is not the same as a well functioning small group that can seriously share prayer requests, give ALL people a chance to answer and participate in discussion. Many folks clam up when the number gets too big.