A way to deeper fellowship–SASHET

Last Friday, everyone (no one was left out) in the church that meets in our home shared what is going on in their lives–not a casual, all is well with a bright and false smile, but an in-depth genuine sharing from the heart. To accomplish this, we used a tool that we’ve employed a number of times before that we were taught by John White from Lk10.com. It’s a brilliant tool to aid sharing in deep fellowship.

SASHET is an acronym for Sad, Angry, Scared, Happy, Excited and Tender. Many people have difficulty expressing how they are feeling, and this simple acronym facilitates identifying and expressing emotion. Each person chooses one or more of the words that most closely expresses how they are feeling and explains the reasons why. It’s a checking in process. So a person might say, “I’m checking in as scared and excited because…” Often we’ll stop and pray if someone shares a deep need, or we might break off to praise for something someone is happy or excited about. At the end, they’ll say, “And I’m in…” meaning they are fully present in whatever is going on. Everyone takes part because you go around the room.

We’ve had some of our deepest fellowship times using SASHET. Some groups use it every week. Our group doesn’t have any difficulty sharing and so we don’t personally do that.

Has anyone else used SASHET? What was  your experience?

 

Photo Credit: Life Mental Health via Compfight cc

 

Multiplication tools; KISS

Simple things multiply; complex things are much harder to reproduce.

Eggs
Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks (Creative Commons)

One of my favorite quotes from a Filipino church planter is this: Never do anything in church that a one week old Christian would be unable to duplicate.

Only model what you want to see reproduced and what will lead to multiplication. How is this worked out?

Teaching: an interactive Bible study using simple questions or symbols is more effective and reproducible than a sermon. Since many people’s greatest fear is that of public speaking, if you model a sermon, people will think they have to do this in order to start another church.

Worship: if you have music of a professional standard, people will think they have to have a musician in order to start a church. Better to sing a capella or accompanied by a CD.

Prayer: if you model 5 minute prayer sermons you will inhibit new believers from praying. Better to teach single sentence prayers and for people to pray multiple times.

Food: if you produce a gourmet meal, people will assume they have to produce a similar meal if they have church in their home. Better to have a simple, potluck meal where everyone contributes.

Fellowship: happens naturally over food.

In the church that meets in our home, we tend to use a simple pattern that anyone can reproduce. It’s not the same every time, but most of these elements are usually present. It’s based on Acts 2:42. We share a meal together. Over dessert, we talk about how things have gone during our week together–joys and challenges. Was there an accoutability challenge from the previous week? We share how that went too. We share around the Word. We pray for one another. In all of this we expect the Holy Spirit to lead our time together and we give him freedom to break in.

It’s simple enough that a new believer can copy it.

Simple is not the same as simplistic. We’ve had very profound times together. But it is duplicatable.

So Keep It Simple and Straightforward!

This helps to prevent religious rituals in a simple/organic church

The third of the four things that the early disciples devoted themselves to was "breaking bread."  The second half of 1 Corinthians 11, which discusses the problems caused when some people ate all the food without waiting for others to arrive or even got drunk (!), makes it plain that this was in the context of a full meal (verse 21).  It isn't referring to a fragment of cracker or bread and a thimbleful of wine or grape juice taken solemnly and silently together!  We know too from Acts 2:46 that the new believers shared their meals together.

Food preparation

Most simple/organic churches meet in the context of a meal.  There is something about eating together that enables fellowship, and it's harder to be "religious" where food is involved.  Eating together usually involves laughter and sharing, good-natured banter and deep heart-to-heart discussions.  As one of our friends likes to say, "How do you spell fellowship?  It's four letters:    

F-O-O-D!

Most groups that we know share a potluck meal–it is reproducible and doesn't leave too much work with the host family.  A lot of fellowship goes on too over the preparation of food and the clean-up later.  Some groups may even have their whole time together around the dining table.

What about communion.  We often add taking the bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus' death on the cross into the context of the meal.  Maybe we break into smaller groups to share together, or have each person share with someone they would like to pray for.  The Lord is very creative and again, and if we avoid repetitious practices, it doesn't  become a religious ritual.

What we have that the world longs for

In the last post we looked at the first of the four things mentioned in Acts 2:42, namely the apostles' doctrine.

Fellowship The second of these is fellowship.  The Greek word koinonia has connotations of intimacy, of community, of communication.  What does it look like in the context of simple church?  It means a willingness for transparency and vulnerability; it means knowing each other well enough that you can tell if there's a problem in someone's life without their needing to say a word; it means letting down the masks; it means laughing with those who laugh and weeping with those who weep. Its a group of people who know each others' weaknesses and love one another anyway!

The world is longing for this.  Most people, especially after they have entered the workforce, go to work in the morning, come home and watch television in the evenings. On the weekends, they struggle to catch up with all that needs doing.   Their lives are consumed with work and their kids' activities.  They are often lonely, and feel stressed because they have no one with whom to share the things going on in their lives.  (Statistics show that sharing life with a friend is often as effective as seeing a counselor.)

Fellowship isn't limited to meetings.  It's a community lifestyle

Do we have real fellowship when we come together?