I realize that I have never blogged about my church. I've had this post rolling around in my head for more than a year and even had a simple outline written out. I'm finally getting around to completing my thoughts and sharing them with you, since I sense that it is now the right time to share this.
I have a confession to make.
I don't go to church.
Now. Before you run away screaming or write me off because I'm a heathen, hear me out.
I don't go to church.
I do however, meet together with other believers every Sunday and sometimes other days, too.
I am the church.
Three and a half years ago, our church, which was following a similar path of the traditional contemporary church made a change.
Well. Actually God made the change.
He literally took the building we were currently meeting in away from us and then did not make any other facility available to us.
Since we knew a move was coming, the leadership had made plans months earlier and meeting together in homes was considered as a temporary option, just in case no other meeting place was found. It was in fact, referred to as Plan C.
Instead, our Plan C became God's Plan A. And this one was long term, not temporary.
One Sunday we packed up all of our church possessions and the next Sunday we were meeting together in homes around the county. All we had was God, each other and a desire to follow Him in this new venture.
We had no idea where He was taking us.
Acts 2 : 42-47 became the blueprint for the paradigm we were moving in:
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
The first thing we had to grab a hold of was the concept that Christians individually and collectively are the church.
I've broken it down into two simple truths.
Simple Truth #1: We are the church. It's not the building we worship in.
Simple Truth #2: If I am the church, then true worship can take place wherever I am.
No longer are we bound to a building, a specific structure or special programs and gimmicks to draw people in on Sundays.
Now, instead of funding a building, our tithes and offerings are directed towards helping people in need.
It is so freeing!
We now meet in Home Fellowships. We currently have three fellowships meeting on Sunday mornings across the county. The size of each fellowship ranges from about 10-20 people. We come together to share what God has done in our lives that week, to discuss what He's shown us in our weekly Bible reading, to minister to one another and to share a meal together. The children, youth and adults are all together in one living room. Sometimes we have music and sometimes we don't.
Each group has a facilitator (not usually a pastor) who oversees the fellowship to be sure it is functioning properly and is responsible for keeping the discussion going. We all read Scripture through the week from the same Bible reading schedule and come prepared to share our insights from the key chapter. Instead of hearing one sermon, we get to hear lots of mini-sermons from each person who shares, which is really awesome! We often have special ministry times during our fellowships to minister to someone's specific needs and special prayer times. It's so powerful to see even small children going to lay hands on and pray for someone.
After the fellowship time, we continue to build relationships through sharing a meal together. Each Sunday we all bring food and share a meal potluck-style. We fondly refer to our lunch as "Holy Spirit Potluck", since we are encouraged to ask the Holy Spirit to show us what we are to contribute to the meal.
Through all this, we have learned as a church body to really rely upon the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. Individuals are growing in their personal relationships with Jesus and are learning to truly live a life of faith, hope and love.
1. Growing my faith in Christ.
2. Passing the hope of Christ on to others.
3. Building a love relationship with the Lord and people.
I know that I have personally grown so much spiritually since moving into the Home Fellowship structure. In the old structure, we were so busy doing music and children's ministry that we didn't have time to build relationships with other people in the church. We were so busy focusing on our roles or our chosen areas of ministry that we didn't get to focus on the people we were supposed to minister to.
Instead of concerning ourselves with the nitty-gritty details of kid's crafts, sound board personnel and enough ushers for the offering, it is so refreshing to just be in God's presence and simply experience being the church.
Simple church definitely works for us!
**This post is part of Works For Me Wednesday.
**Please feel free to ask any questions you may have concerning the Home Fellowships. I will try to answer to the best of my knowledge. I only ask that we keep the discussion respectful to one another. Thanks!