On Friday evening, when the church that meets in our home met together, it was quieter than usual. We were a smaller group (the weather was terrible) but, as usual, the Holy Spirit showed up. Much of our time was spent around the Word, and what we learned together was truly relevant to the things going on in people’s lives. I was blessed as God spoke to me about reclaiming a habit I’d lost over the years–that of meditating on his Word as I fall asleep.
If we do in our homes what we’ve traditionally done in the four walls of our church buildings, (what our friend John White calls, “Honey, I shrunk the church,”) we miss out on one of the greatest blessings of simple/organic church–the Holy Spirit being in control. He’s like the conductor of an orchestra, and as each one of us plays our individual melody at his prompting, a symphony emerges.
I first learned this back in the early days of the British House Church Movement.
I remember those times very well. The power and presence of the Lord was almost tangible. I remember running to get to the meeting because I couldn’t wait to get into the Lord’s presence with the rest of the body of Christ. No one dared go in with unconfessed sin because the Holy Spirit was likely to address it publicly. I remember times when everyone was on their faces on the floor, lost in God’s presence.
It was in that kind of context that we learned to follow the Holy Spirit in a gathering. Week after week we would watch the Holy Spirit lead and guide in his own unmistakable fashion, drawing out whatever theme he had for us. Sometimes we would be mostly in worship, other times in prayer. I can still remember some of the lessons we learned in times around the Word. It was always fresh, never dull.
But it was a learning experience. As we tried to follow the Lord, sometimes our times were so bad, we would all decide to just go home. But as we learned to press in, over the months, it came to the place where nearly every week the presence of Jesus was there.
Things may not be as dramatic in this current move of what God is doing (the house church movement in the UK was very tied in to the charismatic movement). But the Holy Spirit still leads clearly, and I’m spoiled for anything else!