If you’ve been to Extreme Life once or twice, you would have heard the public encouragement to find and join a home group. More than just being a part of one, we would strongly recommend and encourage you to build your life into one.
Because we see them as a critical part of the life of our church. It is about more than just leadership structure (Exodus 18, Acts), it is about LIFE! A home group is a place where you can actually get to really know those around you. A Sunday meeting is not the forum for deep relationship building. By it’s nature (a public gathering for presentation) a Sunday meeting is a place of equipping, challenging, encouragement, worship and a whole lot of other things. But it’s strength is not in its relational nature. We come in and stand for worship, sit in rows for the preaching and then mingle over coffee (or your chosen variety of hot beverage) before heading back to the safety of our own private fortresses. But there is no real opportunity to let others into our world. A home group breaks down many of those barriers. We come together in the comfort of a lounge room and relate to one another. We engage one another and provide a forum for “iron to sharpen iron“. There is the sharing of food, worship, communion, prayer, ministry, opportunity, but most of all it all takes place in a totally relational environment. We are used to building relationships in homes, we all do it all our lives. We are comfortable to sit in a lounge room with a cup in hand sharing our lives with one another. That is what a home group is all about.
It is in the home groups and through the home groups that our relational bond to a wider body of people is built.
At times I have had people explaining that when they were in need, nobody in our church offered any assistance and therefore we are not a very caring group of people. Hearing things like this always leaves me devastated that we as a church have failed to care for our own body…but my first question is always “which home group are you in?“. Most often the answer is something like “Oh I don’t have the time for that, I’m too busy…I don’t see a need for a home group” or some other variation of “I don’t go to one”. My second question would then be “Well who did you let you know about your time of need?“. Usually the embarrassed answer involves an accusation that as a pastor I should just know such things. Unfortunately, my heavenly hotline doesn’t always give me all the details of your personal life. Sometimes you have to give the details to some one. That’s where home groups are absolutely critical. The home group is a place where you gather each week with a smaller group (smaller than the whole church, but not necessarily a small group) of people and actually get to know them and relate with them. In this relational forum is the opportunity to share our lives together. To share the great things about life and God and all of that, but also to pour out our struggles, weaknesses and needs to some friends who can then see to loving on us and caring for us. When you are in hospital, it is your home group that should be visiting and seeing to meals and house cleaning when you get home. Do they need to pick you up and take you home? When you lose your job, it is your home group that will help you through such a time. Bringing you groceries when you’re in need and making sure you have petrol in your car or offering assistance with a new resume or whatever other practical help they can offer. We don’t have to go through these things alone! But we do need some one to know about our situations and circumstances.
The home group does not stop at the practicals either. It is this group of close friends that can stand with you spiritually through anything you may face in life. So is the group all about my needs? No! When you’re not in need, you can sow your life positively into some one else’s who may be needier than you. You can be the one dropping off the groceries, typing up the resumes, filling up a petrol tank, doing a hospital run or whatever else may happen to be needed by another. 1 Peter 2:9 talks about us being a royal priesthood...and these are our acts of priestly service. This is the body caring for itself. I find it a little difficult at times when those who are “too busy to go to a home group” or “don’t see the need of a home group” complain that Extreme Life is not a caring church. Extreme Life is such a caring church, that we have home groups to ensure that every person in them is loved and cared for and assisted through every circumstance life may throw at them. This is why, we do encourage you to find a suitable home group and then richly invest your life into it. I long for the day when 100% of Extreme Life are actively sowing their lives into a home group and therefore into Extreme Life. A place of care and being cared for…in homes…every week.
Our current home group leaders are:
- Cameron & Lisa Arms
- Steve & Rachel Agnew
- Steve & Liz Griffin
- Andrew & Debbie McKenzie
- Melissa Passlow
- Richard & Kerry Snook
- Greg & Diane Phillips (Portland)
I highly recommend that you make contact with one or more of them and search out the details of their group and go and have a look. Find a group that works for you and then let them know that you are committing to them and then look for opportunities to be a blessing to those around you. You never know…next time you need someone to be a blessing to you, you might just reap where you’ve sown!