“The single most important thing that makes house church meetings reproducible”
Felicity has written a very helpful blog on the subject of simple patterns for house church. There are many benefits to this kind of simplicity. One of the benefits is that it makes it easy for house churches to reproduce.
The question then becomes how can house churches be simple? How can they become “simple churches”? What are those simple patterns?
Some years ago, the Lord linked for me this idea of simplicity with Mt. 18:20. “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” The Lord seemed to say, “What would you do if I physically showed up at your house church meeting?” My response was, “Well, I would immediately turn the meeting over to you!” And, He said, “Exactly.”
Our dialogue continued. “But, Lord, you don’t show up physically.” He said, “That’s true but your statement also shows that you don’t yet fully understand the role of the Holy Spirit. My Father has given you another Coach (paraklete) who will guide you just like I did when I was physically present with My disciples. It’s exactly the same. (Jn. 14:15-17 and Jn. 16:12-15). I want you to let Him lead just as you would if I were physically present with your church.”
What I realized from this conversation was that this was the simplest pattern of all. When we meet, Jesus is truly present through the Holy Spirit. It’s His church (not mine) and He brings the agenda. He can be trusted to see that everything that needs to get done will get done – Bible study, prayer, fellowship, mission, etc. He is way better at leading church than we are. So, we only have one thing do so – listen to Him and do what He says. It doesn’t get any simpler than that!
How do we practically work this out? We simply teach our house churches when they meet to take 20-30 minutes to ask the Lord this question, “What do You want to say to Your church today?” Everyone has paper and pencil and writes what they hear. Then, we come together and share what we heard and do that. Our saying is that “church emerges out of listening.”
Of course, there is more to be said about this process. How do you learn to hear God’s voice? How do you weigh/discern what people hear? Etc. But, the central practice is the essence of simplicity. Listen to Jesus and do what He says. Which, by the way, is how Jesus Himself lived. “I do nothing on my own initiative. I only do/say what I see the Father doing or saying.” Jn. 5:19.