T H E S I S # 85
A house church should manage itself by consensus.
There is nothing wrong with starting over. Starting over could be the beginning of better things. If a HC is not satisfied with its results, major adjustments may be required.
On the other hand, if it’s working don’t fix it.
A small group (that is, a Bible-believing group) starting out (or one starting over) has decisions to make, and these decisions should only be made with the Holy Spirit. It’s easier to get it right from the start than make adjustments later. Highest priority should be twofold: to focus on the person of Jesus Christ in the gatherings, and, secondly, to invite the Holy Spirit to officiate. These two priorities will assure a good outcome.
And there are several less significant, yet important, decisions to be made, like: when to gather? how often? where? pulpit or no pulpit? a meal or no meal? communion service? if so, how often?
And…. what time limit, if any, for individuals speaking? how to do praise ministry? when to collect the tithes and offerings? (Joke.)
Wisdom might suggest a full saturday or sunday be set aside for the purpose of coming to a quality, prayerful agreement how the HC assemblage should be conducted, a full day to discern what the Spirit of the Lord is saying. You don’t want to be guided by reason and logic only, or even primarily. You want the mind of the Lord, for it is Him alone you do serve.
It seems that few HCs meet at the most logical time – sunday mornings. This has to be more than coincidental. Consider: Morning is the most refreshing time of the day (the evening the least), and sundays are when most are able to attend. Sundays are often family times, and gathering as a family with other families is good. So why don’t more HCs meet sunday mornings?
Could it be the HC doesn’t want to compete with the IC? It should be just the opposite – the HC wants to compete. A HC should be a replacement to the IC, not an add-on. It’s a mistake to cater to those not fully decided to abandon the evangelical system.
It seems quite possible the Lord Jesus would have His own gather at the prime time of day and the prime day of the week. Meeting on sundays is not being religious, but not meeting on sundays could be. Really, the only consideration is: What is the most Holy Spirit saying?
Only the Holy Spirit has the answer. Only He knows the thousands of details in the lives of all concerned. A second meeting during the week doesn’t imply everyone has to attend.
Same house or a rotation? As the group grows, should you split or rent a small building? Assume nothing, but rather seek the Lord’s will. You will have to remind each other often: The HC is not the lord of the HC.
Pulpit or no pulpit?
Are the purposes of the Lord Jesus better served by utilizing a pulpit? Or not? Together discern what “the Spirit of the Lord” is saying.
Many HCs share a meal, same as did the twelve with Lord Jesus hundreds of times, a great way to bond. On the other hand, you may conclude a meal is an unwarranted encumbrance.
A communion service?
1 Corinthians 11: 24-26: And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
“Do this in remembrance of Me.” Lord Jesus is who it’s all about – your HC, your entire christianity. This could be coordinated with the meal (if there is a meal). What a great way to be collectively focused on Lord Jesus. And if communion, how often? Weekly? Monthly?
If so, how many minutes should one be given to speak? Seven minutes? Ten minutes? This would be impossible to monitor if the gathering was merely a back-and-forth conversation.
One possibility is to listen to the 24/7 live streaming praise and worship at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. (See note.) Another is guitars (or whatever). Another is a soft instrumental CD. Or a combination. Everyone is free to sing a solo or lead in song, as the Spirit of the Lord so inspires.
Everyone should be on guard against the tendency to build and to do and to accomplish. Give serious consideration to this promise of the Lord Jesus….
John 15:5: “He who abides in Me, and I in Him, bears much fruit.”
That’s much fruit as in much fruit. The serious abider doesn’t bear little fruit, nor some fruit. But much fruit. And consider….
John 15:8: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.”
That’s much fruit as in much fruit. Seems like the Father isn’t glorified by little fruit or some fruit. But much fruit. Jesus bore much fruit. Quality of relationship can be gauged by quantity of fruit.
The agenda of your HC should be to continually enrich relationship, and not attempt to produce fruit. Do not make the same error as many (most?) ICs.
Every HC will have its distinct flavor, just as one christian ‘tastes’ different than the next. Perhaps, just perhaps, your HC gathering will look something like this….
Although the gathering starts at ten in the morning, there are already a few early arrivals who have come early to pray for the gathering unto Christ. Greeting arrivals at the door is somewhat hushed, everyone maintaining a reverence unto Him. At ten a.m. soft instrumental music begins, and a few line up at the pulpit to invite the Holy Spirit to officiate the meeting, and to empower all to stay focused on Lord Jesus. When someone speaks, the music is turned down, and when nobody is at the pulpit the music is turned up. Preference is always given to the speaker. As the meeting progresses one (or more) has a testimony, one (or more) has a teaching, one reads from the gospels, one a psalm, another from a book that magnifies the Lord Jesus, another reads her poem, another invites the Lord Jesus to manifest His presence, a sister prophesies, a brother leads in song, etcetera. Between speakers there is reverent silence. This is all followed by a happy meal, concluded by the breaking of bread and drinking “the fruit of the vine”. And this is followed by prayer ministry.
Yes, your gathering might look like that, and it might not. The HC truly led by the Holy Spirit could be in for surprises, could be like no other HC. Who knows what adventures the Holy Spirit has for those who look to Him for guidance?
Note: Google IHOP-KC.