Home Bible Study Groups

Fairhavens Community Church


Home Bible Study Groups  



Purpose


Home Bible Study Groups sponsored and conducted under the auspices of Fairhavens Community Church shall provide an intimate home atmosphere in which all five eternal purposes for which the believer is called can be exercised; i.e.


for Worship,

for Fellowship,

for Discipleship,

for Ministry and

for Mission.


It may well be that at any time, any individual Group may emphasize one or more particular purposes, but it is intended that all of them shall in some way be expressed.


Holistic small groups are disciple-making communities which endeavour to reach the unchurched, meet individual needs, develop each person according to their God-given gifts, and raise leaders to sustain the growth of the church. Like body cells, holistic small groups are designed to grow and multiply in one way or another, all within the framework of Fairhavens Community Church.


Home Bible Study Groups are for the growth and edification of each believer and for the advancement of the whole body of believers at Fairhavens. As such these core values include activities that promote healthy small group ministry include;


prayer, community,

relational, people based,

innovation, creativity,

evangelism, discipleship,

growth orientation, decentralization of ministry,

empowering laity and leadership,   mobilizing and equipping laity,

multiplication of groups and leaders, and leadership development.


The raising up of church leaders is a key element of Home Bible Study Groups. Group leaders should have a sensitivity to this aspect of the ministry, and be keenly watching for someone to succeed him (or her), and preferably identifying those who will be potential leaders for additional groups or a group which may spring out of the growth of the group he or she is leading.


Definition


A Home Bible Study Group is likely to be a group of believers and or seekers, ranging in number between seven and twenty, who meet regularly together in a home where a host or hostess makes the home available for the gathering, and where under the leadership of a member of Fairhavens Community Church facilitates the group in one or more phases of purpose as defined above. This facilitator member shall be responsible to the Board of Elders, and in particular to one elder who has been designated by the elders to that responsibility.


It is the declared preference of the Board of Elders that the facilitator be a member of Fairhavens Community Church, but where the particular facilitator is not a member of the church, the group may be approved by the Board of Elders in the hope that in time the facilitator will become a member of the Church.


In view of the Ministry, Mission and Discipleship objectives for the group, any person with a genuine interest in pursuing the things of God may attend a Home Bible Study Group.


If and when a group grows to more than 20 participants, it is recommended that some participants of the group either establish a new group, or be assigned to another smaller group to enhance the degree of intimacy, fellowship and individual participation.


Authority


Any host, hostess or group leader, who wishes to commence a Home Bible Study Group, shall in the first instance request permission from the designated elder to do so, by the use of an approved form of application. The location, facilitator, core participants and study material must be identified and submitted to the designated elder, who will in turn review the request with the entire Board of Elders of Fairhavens Community Church. The decision of the Board of Elders will determine the authority to proceed with the establishment of the Home Bible Study Group.   


When a leader and host receives permission to proceed with the designated Home Bible Study Group, they may set up their own schedule time and location of meetings, and expect that the Church will announce and promote the gathering in its regular means of communications.


As an ongoing function from year to year, the facilitator of the Home Bible Study Group shall use the approved form of application to obtain permission to continue the group meeting. This form shall be submitted to the Board of Elders during July or August so that the Board of Elders may review the ongoing intention of the group before the group continues meeting in September of the church calendar.       


No group of members of Fairhavens Community Church shall regularly meet together for Bible Study or fellowship without acquiring such permission and authority.

Structure of Meetings


The normal pattern of Home Bible Study Group meetings would be to have a time of prayer fellowship, singing and music if desired, study of a Biblical topic or material, and social interchange with refreshments. Not all of these elements need to be prevalent in all sessions, but some or all of them may be interspersed into the schedule of meetings. Where discipleship is the main focus of the group, and teaching or video presentations are the medium of study, other activities may be dispensed with.


Timing and Scheduling of Meetings


Home Bible Study Groups will generally be held in the evenings so as to provide a time convenient to most attendees. Where non-employed persons wish to meet during the day or on Saturdays by consensus of the group, such scheduling is most appropriate.


Home Bible Study Groups should be normally scheduled so as to not conflict with other public meetings which are in progress at the church. Generally, Monday or Tuesday evenings are most appropriate so as to not conflict with other church activities.


When special meetings such as Missions Conference, Community Outreach meetings or special preaching or church business meetings are scheduled, these meetings shall have preference over any conflicting Home Bible Study Groups. HBSG meetings shall be cancelled where such conflicts occur.


Conduct of Meetings


The facilitator shall be the responsible person for the conduct of the meetings. The facilitator shall be responsible to see that meetings are conducted in a way that is healthy to church body discipline and doctrine, and the responsibility of any dissenters or inappropriate conduct of any participant shall be dealt with by the facilitator. If such cannot be resolved, the facilitator shall enlist the cooperation of the designated elder who is responsible for Home Bible Study Groups.


Size of Groups


Generally, a Home Bible Study Group should be comprised of at least seven persons. It is hoped and anticipated that the group will grow, but when it reaches more than twenty, there should be an attempt to start another group in order to keep the quality of interchange and fellowship at a level which invites individual participation and communication.


When a group reaches more than twenty, the facilitator should confer with the designated elder for further direction and decision.



Supervision and Authority


Since the Home Bible Study Groups are under the authority of the Church, and to provide a sense of oversight or supervision to the Groups, the designated elder from the Board of Elders shall have the privilege of attending from time to time any Home Bible Study Group that is in session.


He should be welcomed as a visitor, and his attendance at any such meeting should be regarded as an expression of genuine interest in assuring that all is going well, and as an opportunity to provide his input for suggestions to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of the groups as a whole.


Termination of a Group


While it is the desire of the church to have as many Home Bible Study Groups as possible, it is well understood that a particular group may have served its purpose over time.  There may come a time when there is a geographic overlap of groups, a lack of interest or decline in attendance, or for some reason the facilitator may see a need for change or termination of his group.


In such cases the facilitator should confer with the designated elder to discuss the continuation or cessation of the group. The Board of Elders will then make the decision to continue, change the venue, or discontinue the group in question.


If for any reason the facilitator ceases to be able to continue with the group leadership, the facilitator must refer the matter to the designated elder before appointing any other person to facilitate the group.















Fairhavens Community Church


Submission for Approval of Home Bible Study Group


Name of facilitator____________________________________Member  Y N


Name of Host or Hostess______________________________ Member  Y N


Location of Proposed Meeting Place


  Name______________________________


  Address_______________________________Tel. No._________________


Name of Subject Material to be studied:_______________________________


Give a brief description of the material content:








Proposed Timing of Group Meeting:   Mon. Tues. Wed. Thur. Fri. Sat.  (circle one)


         Frequency of meetings:  Bi-Weekly, Monthly, Other_________________(circle one)


Starting date of first meeting______________________


How many do you expect to attend at the first meeting__________________


I, (we) have read the church’s policy on Home Bible Study Groups, and agree to proceed

with this proposed group meeting in complete accordance with the guidelines laid down

therein.  Further we agree that the meetings will be fully supportive of the ministry

programs of the Fairhavens Community Church and will be conducted in full cooperation

and full harmony with the objectives of the church.






_____________________________________    _________________________________

                             Facilitator                                 Host or Hostess