House church

Could this really be church?

For some time, Tony and I were involved in a church plant in the low-income housing projects in our city.  Each time we got together, we started with a meal; at times, it resembled a stampede to the table. On one particular occasion, we had barely finished the meal when a fight broke out between two of the kids. James, the son of Rosa, our person of peace, took the troublemaker upstairs; he wanted the instigator to know how that kind of behavior in the projects around the wrong person could possibly get him shot. Then Rosa got involved, telling James that he was handling the situation all wrong. (This is supposed to be church!)

When things had settled down and the kids were outside playing again, James posed a question to the rest of us. “How do you handle it when you hate someone?” Was this the Holy Spirit leading us to discuss this question?  We thought so.  For forty minutes, we discussed how a Christian should handle hatred, how to discipline kids, and what to do when Christians disagree. Everyone read Bible passages and shared personal experiences.  Then someone else suggested that we pray about the situation.  Again, this seemed to be the leading of the Lord, and so we prayed for each other.  There were tears and laughter.   Then the kids joined us for a time of praise. At one point I looked up, and two kids about nine and eleven years old were singing their hearts out with their faces raised, eyes closed. It may not have been the most in-tune worship, and it was certainly loud. But I thought to myself, Jesus, You’re here, and You love this!

Black girl praying

5 replies on “Could this really be church?”

I totally agree with your words and sharing what church can look like – being real in life’s real moments and working together out of God’s Word. I’m curious why you chose this meditation picture for this post though.

When we read about the early Church in Acts, I don’t see how the “modern legacy model” resembles our roots. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 14:26 26 “What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” I could stop here and write for days, however this current blog post describes teaching that was need based (and likely Spirit led). The Word of God was read, prayer resulted from personal desire and not false obligation. Praise too resulted organically, and life was shared (fellowship). This was reported to have happened on the same occasion. It is quite easy to show up to a categorically divided 90minute Legacy Church service and not experience any of what the Apostle Paul advised should be our standards and expectations for when believers gather. Now I understand that some churches may have Holy Spirit focused meetings, where time is set aside to include other aspects of what Paul advised should happen often. Such could include Apostolic teaching (with actual displays), but I believe Paul was trying to provide the future Church with examples of what should be standard expectations for when Christians gather. Sounds like the Dales experienced a wonderful slice of Christian life that was shared by all who attended. Amen indeed!

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