At Grassroots, we believe that faith has its best chance to grow strong and consistent when immersed in small webs of faith community, in connection with God’s creation, in rhythms of prayer and contemplation, and in consistent reading of the scriptures and the great Christian spiritual masters.
Our home groups are designed to bring people of all walks of life together into ongoing spiritual conversations with other people of faith, centred on reading scripture and the spiritual masters. These groups work best when they surround lonely and abandoned people with authentic—albeit sometimes messy—faith community. We also include our teens and young ones as much as possible in these groups.
Generally, groups meet every two weeks, share meals, read together, pray together, and care for one another where possible. Everyone is invited and encouraged to take part in these groups.
The best way to sign up for Home Groups is to come to a Discover Home Groups Dessert Night:
You can also email Pastor Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are ready to sign up for Home Group today:
2017 Dessert Nights (7pm at Grassroots Church)
- Sept. 21
- Nov. 2
- Dec. 7
Read some FAQ’s below about our transition from tribes (our previous model of groups gathered under deacons) into home groups.
Why do we do Home Groups?
Doing life together in small groups has always been the hallmark of the Church. If you read the first four chapters of the book of Acts, God intended his followers to be in small, transformative community, in which people get to know one another well, support one another, and inspire one another with their unique perspectives. When you engage in spiritual conversation, care for one another, and break bread together, you will grow spiritually, especially in your faith.
But these small transformative groupings were never meant to be an end unto themselves. Small groups, while deeply transformative, are simultaneously–and this is the great genius–the way in which God awakens others to His good news. People will know that God is real by the love shared between believers. The Church exists, ultimately, not to create intimacy. Intimacy is a positive by-product. The Church exists to serve the Kingdom and call those who don’t know God, into open relationship with their Creator. Home groups will offer a transformative community for current Grassrooters, new Grassrooters, AND sometimes for people who will not, or cannot, darken the door of a Sunday morning worship service.
Is it really helpful to stick groups of strangers together in structured way?
This is a great question. GK Chesterton once said that community is defined as the place where the person you least want to live with always lives. Society at large knows about cliques and clubs, but few know about community. Christianity has always been about formerly hostile peoples coming to an unusual understanding of one another. Mature Christians learn to see the hidden nobility in every person they meet rather than ultimately the differences that separate humans in the wider world. Structure for these groups fosters transformation, stretching, love, and true intimacy. Social clubs simply reinforce your own ways of thinking, among people you are already comfortable around; it reaffirms your assumptions about the world and about the people you don’t think you like. Community, and communities where you are known deeply, can become the real version of “organic” that Jesus had in mind when he drew together fishermen, tax collectors, zealots, the boisterous, the quiet, and the conflicted in heart.
Can we still hang out with other Grassrooters who are not in our home groups?
This may seem at first like a silly question, but it is a good one. And the serious answer is: Yes! We can and should keep putting stuff up on the Grassroots Community Network, such as service opportunities, ad hock parties, and other types of gatherings. Just make sure you are investing in your home group at least and are doing something in your life outside of church. If there’s room for more church stuff here and there, then do it: hang out, camp, hike, take walks, babysit, whatever. Also, you may find yourself, from time to time, serving the larger body of Christ at Grassroots, and serving beyond Grassroots, with your home group. The point is this: you will see other people (other than the people in your home group) at church; you just won’t be expected to know everybody that comes to Grassroots.
What if I don’t like small groups, being people’s solid rock on which they lean, or opening myself up to people I don’t know or don’t have chemistry with?
The short answer is this: God is calling you to be both brave and vulnerable. This is the way to true maturity and a fullness of life. The long answer is something more like this: give it a try. Let others be brave first. You don’t have to share your deep, dark stuff, though you may end up doing so in the appropriate timing and setting. Leaders will be trained in group facilitation where you are simply sharing what kind of things God may be saying to you and sharing stories about what he has done in your life in the past. Groups will naturally, over time, learn to care for one another. But you don’t have to be a solid rock on which everybody else stands. Let the pastoral care team at church take the needs that are difficult to care for; and let the sharing from others spark your own. Nobody who is pouring their heart out likes a person who is always giving advice and never vulnerable themselves. Honesty sparks honesty.
What if I am too busy for a home group?
I hear you. It’s a busy life. So much to choose from. And let’s be clear, if you are doing church all the time, there’s a problem. You should be asking yourself consistently, how can I be healing and sharing the good news of the gospel with my neighbours, fellow sports parents, clubs, and social gatherings outside of the church. You may, at the right time, even invite some of these people into your home group. But home groups, in Christ, is where your stability as a person of faith will come from. If you are too busy for a home group, you risk drifting away from God’s people and God’s own plan for your spiritual growth. But it’s every two weeks. And if you miss sometimes, it’s okay. Your groups will be forgiving. However, the more you invest, the more you will get out of these groups. Home Groups work.
What if my group starts getting weird or if I start having relational problems with people that I am supposed to feel safe and secure around?
Well, this is a real problem. And one that you should expect. Community, even though chosen by God to change the world, can get messy and turn in on itself. Sometimes you will need to listen to somebody who doesn’t listen back. You may need to forgive when the offender is clueless. You may need to confront somebody or hold an intervention. You may need to stick with somebody who is themselves stuck in a rut, struggling with the same thing over and over. This is why there is an option to get into another group after a two-month test period, if the situation is dire. And this is also why there is a further 16-month covenant. Because inside this covenant of messy spiritual friendship is where God will shape you and strengthen you within the messiness, under the pressure. Sometimes your selfless love will be what saves somebody else. And there is an end to it in sight. After 16 months, you can get into another group, with other people who will sometimes annoy you, and other times save you. Community.
What if I have a problem I can’t get over with another person in a home group? Or what if I disagree with something my leader is saying or doing?
There will be a designated support person for home groups who will deal with any issues that you may have during the time you devote to your home group. We plan on resourcing the group, offering four support sessions per year for leaders and electronic resources offered each month about doing home groups well. Each person partaking in homes groups may talk to the designated support person whenever needed, for whatever reason.
What if I still have concerns after all of these thoughts?
You may. And that is okay. Please bring them up with Pastor Keith; he will be happy to address your concerns. Keith hopes that home groups will thicken the culture of care and mentoring at church while providing a place for more people to experience real Christian community. There are a few things to remember as we move forward:
- Abraham and the early disciples were all, in their own way, called to leave their families and fellow believers in order to bring God’s message to the world at large. Even if you haven’t been called to leave Thunder Bay, God continually calls you to move outside your comfort zones to get to know new people and take some risks in stretching yourself for Him.
- Being structured vs. organic in ministry is kind of a false-dichotomy. The community needs to be organic like a plant. It will grow wherever it pleases. And yet vines need a trellis to flourish, and they need to be pruned. Organic movements need structure to flourish, and they need tending. This takes some planning.
- Any flourishing ecosystem needs diversity. We can’t hope to flourish if people don’t cross-pollinate their spiritual ideas and dwell with people who are different from them.
- Grassroots doesn’t want to fall into the trappings of a mega-church or stretch to be too flashy. We want to be a safe church for people disaffected by church. But we also want to grow and see new people come to know God. Jesus talks about this in terms of a seed falling to the ground and dying. While it may not always be clear what may need to die so that we may live, if new people are going to find their spiritual community here, we know that some things (ministries or ways of ministering) may have to die to come back up with the same DNA but with new life.
- Let’s talk this who transition through. Let’s take this gently. And let’s see if we can’t be church in a way where we can say confidently that we are nailing church: breaking bread in one another’s homes, gathering for study and prayer, and continuing meeting each other’s needs in an inspirational way.