Often it may be tempting to pick where you will host a small group primarily on issues such as convenient location, size of house or willingness of the host to open their home. Avoid these temptations. If you agree with the necessity of mission for small groups the host is one of the most important elements to being missional. In our missional communities we call each group to three ‘missions’:
1. The neighbors where the group meets.
2. The people in the life of the community (eg. co-workers, activities). Inviting the community into these groups or inviting these people into the community.
3. Third places like a cafe, pub or restaurant.
The Crowded House has found that location #1 is the singular most powerful element in creating these gospel-missional communities. For example, when a group replicates proximity trumps other factors. Location is the most effective and persistent to invite the community into. The host is critical because they must be the bridge by which the entire community connects to the neighborhood. If the host is not missional and in relationship with those they live by, it will be difficult to build the necessary relationships in spite of a non-missional host. It’s like the Law of the Lid (which says an organization can only grow up to the level of it’s leadership). In this case, the community will most likely only be as missional as the host’s relations with their neighbors.