Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)
TITLE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
By Donna Carrico
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We had no idea how to start a group, but we knew it was God's plan. We did not have anyone to help us, and we were not going to proselyte from any other group or church.
We did what every person needs to do if they think God is calling them to start a home group. Pray, and pray some more! God was faithful to answer those prayers. He led us to the right streets and doors to knock on. This was a miracle as we were two year "newbies" in the third largest city in our state.
The first door was timidly answered by Alan. My husband began to explain how God had instructed him to knock on his door. Then he invited them to our home Bible study and fellowship. Alan and his wife told us how they had just moved to town, and had not found a church that would accept them. Alan was mentally challenged and stuttered. His wife was bipolar, but they both had a heart for the Lord. We had to provide transportation for them and others, but our group began to grow.
I will never forget the day we were in fervent prayer. Alan said, "I'm sittin' on God's lap, and He says he loves me." What a wonderful experience! However, even more than the initial experience was the fact Alan never stuttered when he told of his divine encounter.
Our group grew to about twenty five adults and the same number of children, including two of our own. The first lesson we learned was there must be a plan for the children in a home group. The children had managed to put a hole in my hair dryer hood, tear the handles off my kitchen cabinets, and various other mischievous antics. This was very troubling as we were renting this home. We thought the parents would be more responsible, but they had their own ideas. Some thought it was not fair to make the children sit still. Others were willing to take turns, or hire someone to watch the children. We prayed and found the Biblical guides of, "Children obey your parents" and "Suffer the little children to come unto me." We shared this wisdom with the group, but alas, it was too late as the parents argued, and thus our group dissolved. Alan and his wife moved out of town.
The worst things we have witnessed have been minimal. A few came with their own agendas. One blatantly refused to believe what the Bible said, and declared he was wasting his time. Another personally slandered one of the other members of the group publicly during a meeting. We had to ask him to leave our home after all Godly wisdom was offered and rejected.
For over twenty six years we have lived in our own mobile home, and have had groups of as few as two, and as many as thirty. It seems God has chosen the home group path for us, along with a short wave radio program, and our web site. We continue to minister wherever the Lord opens the door. There are some people that would never step into the door of a church, but they will come to our home.
Other things we consider are the neighbors, personal injury and property liability. We also pray about our ability to commit to opening our home consistently on a specific time each week. Obviously, there is a slight increase in the cost of our utilities, and bathroom paper products.
We continue to enjoy the freedom to spend several hours in Bible study with everyone participating with questions, opinions, and answers. There are no limits to prayer, worship, or fellowship time. We even have agape love feasts frequently.
If God is calling you to host a home group, pray for Him to equip you to do everything decently and in order. The blessings greatly outweigh the problems.
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