In Alcoholics Anonymous, The 12 Steps are read out loud at every meeting.
For those of us who are still in detox from programmatic Christianity, there is value in repeating what we have said before: the simple church revolution (reformation?) is not about doing conventional church in a home. It’s not “Honey, I shrunk the church!” It’s not 20 minutes of singing, 30 minutes of Bible study, 10 minutes of prayer and then refreshments. (Or, any other prepackaged way of meeting.)
“OK. If it’s not about that, what is it about?"
In a word, it’s about listening. Listening to the Holy Spirit (and each other).
The Holy Spirit’s part: “He will make everything plain to you…He will remind you of all the things I (Jesus) have told you…He will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is…He will take from Me and deliver it to you.” (Jn 14:26; 16:13-14 in The Message)
Our part: Listen to the Spirit and do what He says. (Jn. 14:15)
Out of our listening comes direction for our own personal lives…how to walk with God, how to love our families and friends, how to be salt and light in the world. Intimacy gives birth to fruitfulness in every area.
And, out of our listening comes direction for how to be/do church. (One more thing that bears repeating – when we say “church”, we don’t mean just a weekly meeting. Rather, it's a group of people we carry in our hearts. In other words – family.) Out of listening comes that which we contribute to the family – a word of instruction, a song, a prophetic word, a need to be shared, a non believer to be prayed for, etc. As well as a note to be written, a phone call to make, a person to invite to dinner, money to be shared, etc.
My friend, Kent Smith, has given us three “centering questions” that will help our house churches live this out. Continually asking (and answering) these questions will allow the life and direction of God to flow in and through any house church. (In our house church, we begin our meeting by answering question #1. in groups of 2 or 3.)
1. What have you heard from the Holy Spirit this week that will help or strengthen the rest of us?
2. As we are listening to each other, what is the Lord saying to us as a family?
3. What will we do about this—and how will we help each other?
’s first question makes the assumption that each person in the church is spending regular time listening to the Lord on their own. Here's a great story that my friend, Kenny Moore, sent to me about how one lady does this. See the short article at this link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6153012
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2 replies on “Dear Church,”
The ideal is to have a fluid organic holy spirit lead gathering, yet we must remember that people are habit driven.
The reality is most people don’t have the habits neccesary to jump into that type of enviorment. If we can create tools to help people to a feel comfortable in a home church enviornment, thats a start. When we create enviorments that have some similarities to their normal church habits, in time they will naturally begin to create new habits to replace old ones. This can only work in a team enviornment vs a leader, student enviorment. Technology can help us do this. We need a long term view if we want to succeed in the house church movement long term.
I am a student of Kent Smith and have been living into this lifestyle for a year and a half now. We have been absolutely blown away at what the Lord has shown us, but it has been difficult to hear what he has said. When we ask these three questions to each other in our faith family, we found that many people ARE NOT spending even a small amount of time with the Lord throughout the week, and thus have little or nothing to share when we come together.
But we continued to cast the vision, and slowly and surely people are beginning to get the picture. When a community of people expects to be asked that question, it leads them to discover throughout the week what God might actually be saying to them. Over the course of about 6 months, we are making a transition that is quite painful, but ultimately necessary; and it is amazing what we have heard.