The Small Group Host Location is More Important than you Think

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.

  • david fairchild

    July 22, 2009, 11:19 am

    Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • Kevin Ring

    July 22, 2009, 11:24 am

    Excellent insight. It makes me think of Matthew 22:8-10 (Parable of the Wedding Banquet) where the king sends the servants out into the streets to invite anyone they could find to come. The model here is equal parts hospitality (welcoming in) and missional (going out), and where we are will significantly impact our ability to do both.

    Thanks Drew!

  • Matt Harrell

    July 22, 2009, 12:36 pm

    This is great to keep in mind as our church undergoes a fresh approach to small groups. It’s interesting to think about whether small groups should be structured by the church in such a way that this sort of thing can be realized or just left open to each small group. The latter is what’s been happening at my church and there are a number of challenges are popping up after being in place like this for years.

  • Greg christman

    July 22, 2009, 2:59 pm

    Hi Drew, thanks for posting– the last two have been really rich… This is Greg from LA- I focused my thesis on your MC’s and I have to say that what you write/preach here, is happening in the MC’s that I looked at. My thesis is going to the second reader this week, I’ll keep you updated when I get a final copy of it… I believe the issue of content/the text, relationships, and service, whether it be a particular mission or the practice of forgiveness, makes for a strong-3-legged stool for your community to stand on… of course this is on the trinity himself…