Church planting House church Kingdom skills Organic church Simple Church

Facilitating a Spirit-led gathering: Idea #4

First Corinthians 2:16 says this: 

 For,    “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts?

      Who knows enough to teach him?”

   But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

The body of Christ often has the mind of Christ.  It is not something that is experienced so much individually as corporately.  Together, we have the mind of Christ.

Therefore, if we are facilitating a gathering there are some key questions that we can ask.  For example, someone may mention a need.  The person helping to facilitate may say, "Does anyone have any sense as to what the Lord wants us to do next?"  Someone suggests, "Maybe we should pray about it."  "Do others sense the same thing?"  Usually there is agreement, and so you go ahead and pray.  But maybe someone will suggest that you do something practical.  Does this have agreement from those there too?

Here are some other situations when a question may help to bring out what the Lord wants from the body.

Someone reads a verse of Scripture:  "Does anyone have a sense of what Jesus is trying to say to us through this passage?"

A time of prolonged silence (sometimes the silence itself is from the Lord):  "Is the Lord saying anything to anyone as we listen to him here?"

A picture or prophecy: "Let's weigh this and see what the Lord is saying to us through it."  Or, "Does this picture speak to anyone here about a situation in their life?"

Questions to the body will often lead to following the Holy Spirit.



11 replies on “Facilitating a Spirit-led gathering: Idea #4”

Our house church meetings seem to have a better flow when we just pray and ask the Lord to guide the time together and no one is appointed as facilitator. We just come together and share as the Lord leads and he puts it all together. I have found that designating a facilitator tends to cause people to look to the facilitator for answers more than the Lord. We do have peole who know how to facilitate in a way that draws people out with questions and are good at it, but in my opinion, it seems more life giving without a designated facilitator. If something is said that is off track, some of the more seasoned believers will step in and help bring order as the Lord leads.

Jim, I agree with you totally. Perhaps it depends on the maturity of those there, and using questions like these help develop that ability. It certainly doesn’t need to be the same person who always asks the questions. What you describe is more of what we are ultimately aiming at.

I would add that being prepared to give will produce a lot more fruit than simply showing up and seeing what happens. The Holy Spirit does just fine in speaking to individuals during the week as well as He does spontaneously. I don’t understand why we think God cannot move in a meeting that we have prepared a bit before hand. Sure, lets be flexible, but being Spirit-led doesn’t mean being without preparation or plan. Amen?

Rusty, I agree with you, and I would expect people’s contributions to include things the Lord has been saying to them during the week. I guess what I struggle with is meetings which are led exclusively from the front, preplanned in that there is no room for spontaneity or the participation of the body. I’ve seen house churches where the chairs were all arranged in straight rows. We were even once offered a plan for a collapsible pulpit! God is more creative than that!

When we first started meeting, I encouraged people to be seeking the Lord and come with something to share and did facilitate to some degree, with the idea of coming to a place where we all know we are coming to give as well as recieve and to be sensitive to the leading of the spirit with Jesus actually being head of the church and not the facilitator having to push his pre planned agenda. However , we also want to be open to the Lord wanting us do do a more structured study of a certain book and looking at it in an interactive question and answer way where everyone is involved. We talked a lot about some practical stuff in James last meeting, and someone suggested it might be good to go through the book together, looking for how to apply it in our everyday lives, so I will suggest it to the whole group to see it we feel this is God’s leading , and if so, we will probably take a few weeks looking at it in depth. So we will be prepared to go through a book, but if the Holy Spirit shows us he wants us to minister to a hurting brother or sister instead, we will follow his lead. The main thing we want to do is hear what Jesus is saying to us individually that can strengthen the body, hear what he is saying to us corporately, then find out what he wants us to do about what we are hearing, to be doers of the word and not just hearers only, decieving ourselves.

Jim, agreed. We frequently go through a book together. In fact I would say that’s our general pattern, especially working with new believers. We’re currently going through the book of Ruth, and someone from a Hindu background has just given her life to the Lord through it! The OT isn’t usually where we start when we have unbelievers, so maybe that’s a good example of following the Holy Spirit too.

When you go through a book together, how do you keep it from becoming a meeting where everyone is looking to one person for the answers or for direction? I think teaching gifts are great, but sometimes people go overboard with their teaching and not enough people share what they sense God is showing them and there could have been more understanding and revelation given if the one person didn’t dominate so much.

Jim, Sorry to be so long getting back with you. I’m in the UK where my mom has had a rather eventful recovery from major cardiac surgery.
I agree with you that it is essential that nobody, especially anyone acting as facilitator/teacher, dominate the discussion. If someone with more knowledge always gives the answers, people automatically look to that person. He/she therefore needs to learn the skill of drawing others out. So someone asks a question, the response to that should be, “What does anyone think?” If the person with more knowledge refuses to demonstrate that knowledge but draws the right answers out from others from within the Word, two things will happen. Firstly, people will quickly learn to respond and a truly participatory learning session will emerge, and second, and more importantly, the Bible will be seen as the authority rather than a leader or teacher. If small groups are going to multiply, this is vital, because we cannot multiply trained leaders quickly enough.
Hope this helps

Leave a Reply