We do what I call natural church, there are other names people have for it but I like this one. Here is some of what happened so far today. We meet at about 11:am usually at a house but sometimes a park or wherever people want. I say about 11: cause time is not an issue. You can come earlier or later. Whatever works. When people first start coming we generally sit around and sip an iced coffee or whatever and talk. People just keep coming in and joining in as we go. After a while when we think all are there that are coming we will sometimes go into prayer or into some bible that someone wants to share or maybe an experience they had this week. I say sometimes cause I have seen many things happen. Could turn into nothing but prayer cause someone has a need or issue. Or who knows what else. Today I got us into the bible by bringing up something I wanted to talk about in Acts 2. Mainly the end of the chapter about how the people were cut to the heart by what Peter said. And how he told them to save themselves from this corrupt generation. It's just so awesome how thousands of people were cut to the heart so much that they asked "what must we do?"! I have had the opportunity many times to speak to large groups of people, one time about 6,000. There were results but never did they cry out "what must we do?"! This heartfelt reaction is what we need. That brokeness. And then the statement to be saved from this corrupt generation. Wow! Look to life in the Garden of Eden before sin. Then look now. These complications of life, the busyness, the money, the status, the favortism, careers, standards of living, and so much more are a result of sin! Why should we embrace the curse? We have to live in the world and work and so on. But Jesus came to save us from this corrupt generation, to free us from these entanglements! Sign me up! I aint embracing any of that junk cause it's a bunch of chains!! Why in the world, pun intended, would we latch on to things that bind us?? This led a young woman to read in Romans about being transformed by the renewing of our minds. See talked about it and we all talked about all of it. Then a woman told us how Jesus has been her best friend for 52 years and what that means to her. So awesome! We discussed things relating to that. Which lead to us wondering where this one teen boy was who is from a bad family and trying to follow Jesus. Right then my phone buzzed in my pocket, it was him!!! Crazy night of family fighting at his house and he woke up late. Wanted to know if it was too late. I told him of course not, come on over. We continued and he joined in a few minutes. Eventually we went to prayer. Then we moved on to lunch. Those who have time stay and eat. Which is everyone most of the time. We kinda take turns or share in making meals every week. We ate and talked etc. Then a group of the women and one guy went to the store to get some stuff to make for dinner tonight. Many people stay all day into the night. A group of teens is out on a walk. There is talk of those who want to going on a bike ride later. Those who dont will hang and talk or who knows what. Then dinner and lots of sharing life and Jesus together.
Oh, and I just wrote this while some are gone and others are playing bumper pool in the house. I'm waiting on another friend to come back from vacation and pick up his dog that we kept for him. Otherwise I wouldn't have the chance to write this today
I obviously am condensing all of that for you, and cant remember some. But I also remember a 19 year old telling us about the corruption going on at his house at that same time that we are here now at this house. It was a great living example of escaping the corrupt generation. Meant a lot to me and I'm sure to others as well.
Thanks for sharing your experience in your church life !
No doubt that people need to gather around and glorify God in prayer or conversation always .
Be blessed forever
Interesting blog - so the whole time nothing is structured, am I correct in thinking that? How many people would turn up at one time or is there movement of people coming and going the whole time?
No structure so to speak. As you see in NT church. If I have a teaching, I bring it. Then everyone can weigh it as the Word says. But others can bring a teaching or scripture as well, share an experience etc. An exanple of etc. would be: at a group we were blessed to help start where we used to live, my mom brought her flannel graph board and stories from being a Sunday School teacher years ago. Those times kids and adults all watched and listened as she told the stories. Then everyone talked about it. Another time some kids brought a bible craft for everyone to do. And everyone did crafts with the kids that week. Sometimes the kids may be bored but those of us who have been around will notice and direct something toward them or find out what they believe us adults are saying. The structure happens natually and there is actually more accountability than when I was a pastor and would bring sermons without people questioning or sharing their knowledge as well.
If you want to sing a song we will sing it. If you wanna pray, pray.
When groups get about too big for a house we tend to start another group. And people are free to come and go if they need to. Generally people stay the whole day if they can.
I take it there is some sort of leadership whether formal or informal though because people such as elders, deacons, bishops and pastors are mentioned. In 1 Timothy 3 we find qualifications for bishops and deacons formally listed and they needed to prove themselves before being placed in a position of authority.
I am not saying that church must be a prayer, three songs, a message by a pastor and going home by any means and we have small groups within our church that do what you describe. At the same time, if there is no leadership whatsoever, what happens when/if you have false teachers show up?
Leadership is. It happens naturally. If you notice in the like 1Timothy it is actually a list describing an elder or deacon. We are the ones who made made it into an official thing. Elders and deacons arise natually within a group. And these verses show you how to spot them from the people who say and want to be one even though they arent. Modern church makes it a position when it is not. Same with pastors. We made it into a official position but there is no such thing NT or early church history. The only time the word we translate into pastors is used is in Ephesians 4:11 and it is used in a discriptive form and in plural. It is not a title and is not a singular person who speaks every week.
Read the letters to the churches by Paul or others, do they ever address a "Pastor"? No the letters address the whole group and sometimes mention the elders or deacons. Even when Paul is calling for diciplianary action from a church like Corith he does not call on the elders to handle it. He calls on everyone. We are the ones who have created these positions and their "job desciptions".
You see we naturally read into the scripture what our tradition is.
As I mentioned there is actually more accountability and governing against false teachings in this setting.
Paul often spent very little time with a new church group then left them on their own. We don't seem to notice that. The Holy Spirit is quite capable without our denominational and institutional structure it is actually a hinderance.
If you came into a group like this with a false teaching it's no problem at all. Some may nicely point out that what you said does't line up with scripture. Or the Spirit may lead some or someone to talk to you personally about it later instead.
And if any of us feel there is a newbie or a kid that may have gotten a bad message from it we will talk to them about it as well, either in person or in the
group. These wrong teachings actually become a great building block. Everything gets addressed and truth discovered. It makes the people armed and dangerous with the Word! Haha
Good morning Michael, I have made it a point throughout my life to visit, regardless of doctrine all houses of prayer displaying the cross and praising the Lord. I have visited houses of prayer in Europe, Africa, America, Central and South America and the British Virgin Islands. In all cases, weather it was the Mormon Tabernacle or a gathering in an Amish barn. It was never the message, it always was the spirit which uplifted my soul. As did your description of your Sunday meeting. God bless you all.
Peace. The Regifter