Sunday, December 21, 2014

Homebuilders: Robbie & Rachel England

Resource Review by:  Robbie & Rachel England

What is Home Builders?  What are some of the topic studies they include?
HomeBuilders is simply a small group consisting of married couples who want to strengthen and encourage each other in the adventure of marriage.  The name originated from FamilyLife's Ministry and they have many studies from Communication to Parenting and many more.  We have kept the name, but have found that FL's curricula tends to be a good starter, but perhaps not as challenging for groups that have been together for a long period of time.  Other studies we have done in our HomeBuilders group are:
  1. Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerichs (our favorite)
  2. Family First Aid, by James MacDonald (DVD series)
  3. 10 Choices that Will Change Your life Forever, by James MacDonald (DVD series)
  4. Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, by Bill and Pam Farrel
  5. Have a New Kid by Friday, by Kevin Leman
  6. Say Goodbye to Bad Attitudes, Complaining and Whining in You and Your Children, by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller
How do the meetings work?
We have done it different ways - we have met twice a month for 3-4 months and taken the rest of the year off; we have met in the winter, spring, and fall and taken summers off; we met once a month for several years; and now we meet once a month from January to June, have a weekend retreat together in September, and a Christmas party together in December.   
We begin around 6:30 and have the first half-hour be a social time.  We get started with the study around 7:00 and finish around 8:30.  Then we have refreshments made by the host family until around 9:00.  We meet at a different house each month.

Who is qualified to lead a HomeBuilders group?
Any couple who loves God and is interested in making their marriage - and others around them - grow stronger.

How should I go about starting a HomeBuilders group?
We started ours by inviting 20 couples from church and work.  Only 10 came, but it was a great start - and we had to split the group after a year!  Ideally the group should be no more than 6 couples.  We have had the same four couples for the last 7-8 years.  We have had two different kinds of HomeBuilders groups - this one that has stayed together for a long time (and we are in similar places of life - same age children, and all strong in our marriages) which has been the kind of group that has been "iron sharpens iron."  We have also (in the off-months when not doing this group) done more of a mentoring HomeBuilders with couples of different ages and some with significant marital issues.  These groups were a little more intense and took more energy on our part.

What if no one will talk?  Will I be embarrassed?
We set it up so that each person gets to ask a question.  They don't have to answer it, but for that moment they are the facilitator.  We also teach couples to look around the room when answering, not just at the leaders.  Also, we have learned to WAIT.  Give people a chance to answer - and sometimes say - "Now we are going around the room... Everyone share one thing they remember about dating..." etc.  This breaks the ice and gives people a chance to talk without having to struggle to answer something.

Why is HomeBuilders so wonderful?
It's a persistent reminder of the most important human relationship we have.  It also provides accountability, camaraderie and support for the challenges and blessings of married life.

What are some of your Home Builders stories?
We have many - most of them are stories that stay in that room.  We walk away from our evening refreshed, motivated, and encouraged.  It isn't fireworks - it is candles.  We feel the steady burn of consistency through these other couples.  We hope to grow old with them and share all the stages of life with them!

What else would you like to add?
We love HomeBuilders so much - it is something that our children have grown up thinking is "normal" for married couples.  Our prayer is that when our children get married that they will all have the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful HomeBuilders group like ours!   

The Homebuilders Small Groups Series

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