How are your expectations of church or home group set? How is it decided what time things will start or finish? How is a welcoming feeling created?
We had home group last night and as we were doing so I was drifting off slightly (never good when you are leading) just wondering about the equivalent in Jesus day. Interestingly I think most of our small groups are informally formal - you arrive roughly on time, spend 5-10 mins having a drink, biscuit and chatting, then its either prayer or the bible study, before you close with prayer, followed sometimes (depending on how late you finish) with a drink and possibly a last piece of cake or biscuit. When you analyse it like that it is very structured and not really the way we do family. It lacks some of the messiness that is the very essence of family, and which I think was probably a feature of the early church.
But what would a messier more family based group look like? Would it mean meeting for a meal first and then at 5.30pm or 6pm the kids playing in one room while the adults studied, or the children being in on the study, or one person each week doing the same study for the children. Could you do the bible study over a meal with the children there? How would that change what you studied? What would be the benefits or drawbacks? What would they be for the adults? What about for the children? What about for the community they met in?