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  Real FamilyLife  
September/October 2000

You Can Be a HomeBuilders Leader!

If you’re looking for an opportunity to help other families, the HomeBuilders Couples Series is for you.

by Drew and Kit Coons

Can an average lay couple be used by God to have a significant impact with families? Yes!

Without any special training, we began a small-group study in 1989 using the HomeBuilders Couples Series. God transformed marriages before our eyes, and many people came to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. And though we had a good, stable marriage, we were thrilled to see God take it to an even higher level.

During the next 10 years we trained hundreds of couples how to lead HomeBuilders groups. We saw that, though God calls all of us who are His disciples to make a real difference in others' lives, many laymen are held back by a lack of vision and a failure to develop ministry skills.

HomeBuilders groups give you the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of today's families. And you don’t need a seminary degree to lead one. Special training is not necessary. What is required is a basic willingness to allow God to work in and through your life as you reach out to others. This involves at least four factors:

1. A desire to love and encourage people. Perhaps no skill is more important in leading a volunteer ministry than the ability to encourage others. And all of us need encouragement. The Bible has many exhortations to encourage one another. Jesus’ ministry and Paul’s are full of encouraging words. We suggest you start by practicing on your mate.

Some people who join a group are difficult to love and encourage. God’s Word is clear that we are to love them regardless of their response. Since we know loving them is God’s will, we can ask God by faith to give us His love for that person. 1 John 5:14-15 guarantees that He will give us that love in answer to our prayer.

Remember that God’s love is much more than feelings. It may take awhile for your feelings to change. To accelerate the process, do something nice for that difficult person, secretly if possible. Find something positive about him or her and concentrate on it. You’ll find that God has kept His promise as your feelings start to change.

2. A willingness to practice hospitality. There’s something special about inviting guests into your home even for a few hours. You don’t need a fancy house (or even a neat house) or expensive food to serve. What you do need is to honor and value your guests.

Every guest is special. You can show it in many ways, like taking an interest in guests, meaningful communication, food preparation, or even small gifts. Godly hospitality can extend well beyond our homes. It can be any act of thoughtfulness that demonstrates how much we value the person. Remembering birthdays, a willingness to help out, and encouraging notes are all types of hospitality. If Jesus cared enough to die for sinners, we should be able to go out of our way to serve those around us and demonstrate His love.

3. A desire to invest in your own marriage. Everyone who has led a Bible study knows that the teacher always learns the most. Leading a HomeBuilders group means that you will spend time every week as a couple talking about how the Scriptures apply to your lives. Nothing will help you grow more.

We also encourage couples to use their groups to establish accountability to stay committed to their mates. Kit and I made a special commitment several years ago. We had seen one too many Christians fail morally. I (Drew) went to the men I worked with and asked, “If you see me flirting with a woman, or having any involvement that could even lead to trouble, I want you to tell Kit.” Now there’s a big incentive!”

4. A desire to minister as a couple. “My wife always supported my ministry,” a godly pastor said. “She played the piano and attended all the classes I taught. But when we started team-teaching this Bible study [HomeBuilders] together, it was different.” He went on to describe how much fun it was and how well the couples in the study were responding. Clearly he had discovered a wonderful resource in his own wife.

Unfortunately, the concept of working together isn’t very popular in our “Be your own person” culture. Individualism is revered over partnership. But in marriage God wants us to need one another, to trust one another, and to work together for common goals. We believe one great unrealized opportunity in many churches is for husbands and wives ministering together as a couple. In HomeBuilders you have that opportunity.

One thing we’ve learned is how to use our differences to make our partnership stronger. The Bible says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But, woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11).

All of us have major differences. God knows that when He puts us together. In fact, the more different we are the stronger we can be as a team. It’s like the legs on your chair. If we were to squeeze those legs next to each other, how stable would the chair be? But when the legs are spread out like normal, the chair is stable and useful. God can use our differences if we learn to work together as a team.

When we lead a HomeBuilders group, one way we work as a team by dividing the preparation and cleanup duties. Kit prepares a dessert to enjoy after the discussion, while Drew helps straighten the house and sets up chairs for the meeting. We try to have everything finished so we will both be free to spend time with the couples when they arrive. Afterwards we clean up together.

During the study, we often take turns leading the different sections. While one is leading, the other can be extra sensitive to what God may be doing in the hearts of the people in the group and direct the discussion to those needs when the roles switch again. Co-leading like this also demonstrates a husband and wife working together. Many couples respond very well to the demonstration.

We would like you to think of the HomeBuilders Couples Series as your ministry—not his or hers, but belonging to both of you. Together you can have a unique influence in the lives of other couples. At the same time you’ll be strengthening your own relationship as husband and wife through the biblical applications in the studies and by trusting God together to serve others.

This article is excerpted by permission from the HomeBuilders Leader’s Guide, by Drew and Kit Coons with David Boehi, © 2000, Group Publishing. This new resource provides encouraging words and helpful tips for anyone who desires to start a HomeBuilders group. You can order this resource by calling          1-800-FL-TODAY.


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