Growing church from home

03 MAR 2021

A £10,000 grant from Allchurches Trust has supported the launch of a new, online resource to help small groups thrive outside of church.

With help from Allchurches Trust, SPCK (the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge) has launched its Home Groups website, giving everyone access to the largest source of free, high quality, curated small group material on the internet. There are currently over 300 home group sessions on the site and over 60 home group series, including:
 
Exploring Prayer with Archbishop Justine Welby 
Hope from Bible Society
We Need to Talk About Race with Ben Lindsay
Living His Story with Hannah Steele, based on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book for 2021
Faith for All the Family by Becky May
Saying Yes To Life with Ruth Valerio
Over 20 series of Bible studies from the team at St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford
 
Home Groups have become an increasingly vital part of a vibrant and dynamic church community. Whilst gathering the whole church together continues to be essential, more and more churches are seeing the importance of small groups for developing friendships within a church and encouraging members to grow in faith. 
 
The series will be added to regularly, including through partnerships with organisations such as Inter-Varsity Press, Bible Society, Faith in Later Life, Third Space Ministries and USPG. The site also provides material on how to set up a new home group and how to lead a home group in the digital world.
 
New research from SPCK suggests that 36% of church goers attend a small group, and churches with small groups are more likely to be growing and engaging with the local community. 
 
It is hoped that the Home Groups website will help to transform the spiritual guidance and personal support that home groups can provide. This is of particular importance in light of the current pandemic, with many people feeling lonely, isolated and in need of additional support.
 
Paul Playford, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust, said: “We’re delighted that our funding has been able to support the launch of the Home Groups website, so that church groups can access high quality resources to use for prayer, Bible study, and positive discussion. The new hub will offer invaluable resources and support both during these challenging times and in the future.”
 
Julie Wilson, Editor of Home Groups, said: “Having overseen, organised and led small groups for a large, multicultural church, I know first-hand the benefits and impact of having a thriving small group network and the sense of community this brings. The knock-on effect is retention and growth within the church as we become better equipped to do this journey of life together. I am thrilled about the launch of this much needed website, www.homegroups.org.uk, which no doubt will become an essential tool and go-to resource for small group leaders to better equip and empower the local church and I cannot wait to see the impact.”

Dave Male, Director of Evangelism and Discipleship at the Church of England, said: “Small groups are essential to a healthy Jesus shaped church community who can make a real difference in every area of our world today. Often we know this is true but we are not sure how to find the best resources to do this. These really important resources for churches and small group leaders will help churches to achieve this. The great news is the site is easily accessible, it’s very practical and free!”
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