6 TIPS for JOYFULLY Hosting a Small Group

We’ve opened our homes to small groups for over ten years:

  • We’ve hosted short-term groups (i.e., a single-book study that only met for that one topic, and then disbanded)
  • For four years, when we lived in Istanbul, we were the primary host home for a house church that met, week in, week out with a meal, sermon, prayer time, plus occasional communion & baptisms– with anything from 10 to 40 people in attendance in a given week. (Avg: 15-20)
  • For the last two years, we’ve hosted a small group in our home, ranging from 3-8 families each meeting time.

Host Small Group ChurchI’d like to speak to the WOMAN– the wife in the host home– is that you? :)

Let me encourage you with these SIX  things that can help you GO the distance as a small group host home:

  1. DO NOT RELY ON THIS ALONE AS YOUR SPIRITUAL “FOOD.” — you will often be running around, serving others, watching kids, wiping up muddy footprints, etc. Utilize online sermons, and personal Bible reading to self-feed so that you are not dependent on this time (and thus, do not grow bitter when you are unable to participate). Yes, you may (and likely will) be able to squeeze in some GREAT time with other believers during these times, but don’t let this be your sole place of encouragement.
  2. FIGURE OUT, AND DO, WHAT YOU CAN JOYFULLY COMMIT TO. — Are you an appetizers gal? Then don’t get hoodwinked into doing meals; keep it simple. Can you joyfully host once a month, but it gives you an eyelid twitch to host anymore than that? Figure out what you can joyfully commit to, and then do that.
  3. WELCOME THE PEOPLE THAT SHOW UP, AND DON’T PINE AFTER (OR FEEL BAD ABOUT) THOSE WHO DON’T. — Sometimes you plan for a certain group of people, and it turns out totally different. Rest in God’s beautiful sovereignty and don’t stress over who is/isn’t coming. Welcome and enjoy the people who come.
  4. BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR NEEDS IN EACH SEASON. — Some seasons of life are more freed-up than others. It is OK to host for a time, and then take a break. It is OK to trade off with someone else. It is OK to do things one way for a while, and then change it to a more workable situation when your season of life necessitates changes. It really is OK. Live in grace, and don’t feel guilty for being a human person, with needs.
  5. BE MORE LAID-BACK ABOUT HOUSE CLEANING. — I’m serious. Make things tidy, but do not let this be an idol in your heart. It will ultimately embitter you. It will make children– image bearers of God Himself– into your adversaries. It will make you want to cancel group 45 minutes before everyone is scheduled to arrive because things aren’t the way you want them to be. Give yourself grace. Let everyone else receive grace, too, by seeing a realistic home. It’s OK. Everyone else lives in their houses too. Don’t be a slave to perfection.
  6. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE STUFF; IT’S ABOUT GOD & HIS PEOPLE. — Keep welcoming people. Hospitable means open to people. It means you open your heart and home, and you keep the focus on the people. Any one of us can do this… because it is a choice about where your focus is. Hospitality is not only for a select few “Martha Stewart” types– that’s entertaining, and that’s something entirely different. Keep GOD and HIS PEOPLE as the BIG thing in your view.


What has helped you go the distance in how you serve, love, and encourage others in your local church Body?

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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7 Responses

  1. I completely did not get this for *years.* Finally getting to the point where I can open my home and engage in that level of fellowship and intimacy has been one of the most productive faith-growing steps I have taken.

    • Jess Connell says:

      So true, Heather. It makes such a difference in the depth of relational connectedness when we welcome people into the place where we let our hair down & really let them see us as we are. Sometimes they even drop their guard and really let us see them as they are as well!

  2. Catie says:

    Ack! I keep forgetting to add your new blog to Feedly! I’ve missed a lot! :) Looking forward to reading your e-book.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Jess, Thank you for this post. I needed to see it. I have been hosting a monthly Bible study fellowship in my home for neighborhood ladies for four years. I am now praying as to whether it is time to do something else, or keep at it with a different format. Some of the ladies are there every month and others come and go. I am just not sure that I am up for another year of hosting and leading. ???? :)

    • Jess Connell says:

      Good to hear from you, Cynthia. It’s good to reevaluate from time to time. There are times when we persevere through low numbers or inconsistency, and there are times when that may be a sign that the season has come to a close. Either way, your Shepherd will lead you.

  4. MadR says:

    First time committee member with kids means its easier to host at my house but also requires letting go while being prepared,. Focus on the people God is bringing to my home for His purpose. Thanks!!

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