What Are Home Communities?
1. Home Community are about (surprise!) Community.
Knowing that Sunday gatherings are not always the best place for deeper conversation and building relationships, we look to Home Communities to be a primary avenue for this in those who choose them. Our desire is that these groups will allow for building close personal relationships and encouraging growth and spiritual formation in community.
That being said, while intimate belonging is essential to the way we are designed as people, home communities are intended to foster personal belonging. We dream that everyone will have a handful of relationships that are truly intimate, including some where our deepest struggles can be shared and accountability sought, but Home Communities are not the best avenue for this. Home Communities should be times of good, deep (not the deepest), meaningful conversation. That way, new people can feel comfortable joining – not feeling like they have missed the train for connection, and not feeling like they need to share more than they feel comfortable.
Just like any good thing, community takes work; and it’s a progression. When we lean in to the people around us, choosing to show up with regularity, relationships happen naturally, whether at a local coffee shop or on one another’s couch. Home communities provide a place to “jumpstart” what we hope will be some meaningful friendships.
2. Home communities don’t have to last a lifetime.
Our lives, and by extension our community, is never stagnant. The rhythms and practices that were so meaningful to us in previous seasons often grow stale and need to be changed/switched up. Otherwise, before too long we find ourselves in spiritual ruts.
It is healthy to allow things to flourish in season and to feel free to take a break when needed. With home communities, this gives us the opportunity to move with the seasons of life and community, always listening and watching for how God has been, is, and will be at work among us.
As a home community, take some time to talk up front about your purpose. Give yourself a timeline (three months perhaps, or six! Or start in September and end in May) to start over, fresh, similar, or exactly the same! While there is no “right” way to do a home group, a willingness to listen and change is a good attitude to foster.
3. Facilitators point the way forward.
Many of us have experienced leadership that hurt us or didn’t feel quite right. Some of us have been hurt by the “agendas” a leader can bring to a group, leaving us hesitant (or outright distrustful!) of “authority”. As a result, many of us are hesitant to step up and try to lead ourselves. It is natural (and often healthy!) to shy away from the “alpha dog” mentality.
But a level of healthy leadership is helpful. Home communities are facilitator driven with the intention of avoiding potentially harmful social dynamics. The role of a facilitator is not “teacher,” “decision maker,” “boss,” or “rule maker,” rather “encourager” and “guide” for the purposes that the home community has decided upon. The home community you choose to participate in belongs to you as much as the current facilitator! So, participate, be safely led, and be heard when the group sets aside time to look forward. Your participation in a healthier leadership is what makes the way forward safe and valuable!
How to find a home community at Evergreen:
- If you are new (or newer) to Evergreen you may want to consider going to a “New People’s Group” which happen three or four times a year with a commitment of about 3 weeks. This is a way to meet other people just getting connected at Evergreen, learn some more about the community, and get plugged into a home community once this one is over.
- To find a home community, click here for a current list of all of those currently meeting.
- Listen up on Sunday as new home communities get going or old ones start up again. Those will be on your announcement sheet.
Or maybe you want to start one. Email Dustin Bagby (firstname.lastname@example.org) for tips on starting a home community.