One of the benefits of off-campus Small Groups is the opportunity to meet in others homes in a casual, open-ended atmosphere.  One of the struggles of off-campus Small Groups are having people open their home to the Small Group on a regular basis.

After several years of working in SG life, we have seen several reasons for people not opening up their home.  Most of these reasons can be categorized in one of the follow issues: size, design, value, transparency or decor.

Comments you may hear:  “My house is just not big enough” or “Our house is not child-proof.” Others say “My house is not as fancy/expensive as most people in our SG.”

The benefit of sharing the load of Small Group by rotating locations of the meetings is to get to know others in your group at a deeper level as you see how they live what they like.  However, for some this level of transparency cannot be expressed because the trust level, the friend level and/or relationships being strong enough yet.

Another benefit of rotating locations is to take the work load off of the same family week-after-week.  My kids don’t like to vacuum, but when we host Small Group in our home, the vacuum and clean.  I love hosting SG at our house, but for my family, sharing the load by hosting once in a while helps every family.

Here are a few pointers that may help in rotating locations:

1. Are we scheduling too late in the week?  If your group does not communicate well or often via text or email, you need to plan ahead even further.  Life happens and schedules are made well in advance, but SG seems to do like Sunday Dinner:  we know 52 weeks in advance Sunday is coming and we will want lunch.  But most of us stand around after worship in the hallways discussing where to go for lunch.  Or we may not go to church, but get up and start discussing it.  Plan ahead.  First discuss individually with some potential families that may host, then open up discussion in a meeting.

2. The size of the group may be hindering hosting.  When a group gets too large (varies by group and perception) people are fearful of opening their home.  A group of 6 or 8 couples with kids seems to need a large space when you consider hosting.  It does not really require that large of space because everyone does not have to have that comfy seat.  We are family.  It is a like Thanksgiving at Mamaw’s house.  Get your food when you can.  Take a seat where you can.  But most of all enjoy the family!

3. When trying to enlist others to host the Small Group be careful to ask in private in advance. Look them in the eye and listen for concerns.  People do not like to say ‘no’ to their friends, but deep concerns will allow them to.  Be compassionate and empathic as you encourage them and do not push this issue.

Hope these help.