Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Building God's Church

Recently there was a thread of discussion on the Home Church Discussion List about people remaining silent in house church meetings. A house church is different in many ways from a traditional church, and one of those ways is in how the meeting occurs. Everyone is free and welcome to equally share from their hearts or their God-given gifts as the Spirit leads. The meeting is not dependent or focused on only one individual’s contribution. It is about the body of Christ coming together equally and expressing Christ together.

In the discussion that took place on the list some asked if people should be forced or “helped” into being more vocal. I highly disagree that course should be taken. The meeting should not be about what we want; it should be about how the Spirit leads as we focus on God and Christ. There were a couple of responses that were shared that I thought had valuable insights; not just about the meetings but also about relationships and loving like Jesus. I share them here:

To: hcdl@yahoogroups.com
From: mufasa1615

I think a lot of us who have grown up in a traditional church carry some of that baggage with us when we go into a house church type setting. The format may be the same but often we still have a lot of things that hinder the spirit from really moving freely among us. I came across a quote today that said:

"I've come to see that GOD'S version of 'House Church' is not bringing church to the home, but bringing the life of the home into the church." -Benny, Manilla area, Philippines

I think we often loose sight of that when we look to build relationships with those around us. Maybe the people that are silent need a little more time and TLC before they open up. Maybe they just need to get to know people around them better. Instead of trying to figure out a way to GET them to talk, maybe we can live with them in such a way that they can't HELP but talk. LOVE them. SERVE them. Lay down your life for them. Sacrifice for them. Do things they don't expect. Treat them in a way that they can't help to be drawn to the Jesus inside of you. THEN you might see that flower open up. :)

Our God is LONGsuffering. How many things do I have in my OWN life that required Him to lovingly wait until I "got it". How many things are in my own life NOW that He is waiting for me to "get"? I think the more we get into the business of loving people and caring about them on a DAILY basis and not just here and there whenever it "fits" into our schedule, the more Life God will bring to those times everyone is together. Maybe the more we do things together throughout the week, doing the common everyday things of life TOGETHER, looking for ways to lighten a load or carry a burden, and the more we let people into our worlds to see the good the bad AND the ugly, the more of that will overflow into our times when we're all together. One of the reasons I never opened up in a traditional church setting is that I didn't REALLY know anyone and they didn't REALLY know me and I didn't know what I could really trust them with. I'm sure they felt the same way. Maybe if we could just get to know people and build their trust in us the rest will take care of itself.

Those are just some thoughts I had when I was considering life as it relates to religion and relationships and how desperately we need to rebuild from the ground up when it comes to meetings…I agree with those who said you can't "force" someone to share.

To: hcdl@yahoogroups.com
From: Stephen

It may be that our impatience is self serving and that we should instead seek to keep the meetings informal in ways that everyone feels comfortable. Our relationships with people no matter their style (quiet or loud) are not about us ... they should be about serving them (as our brother so wonderfully stated above).

I think that in our impatience to see God's Church revealed on earth we end up seeking a false god ... that is our own desires ... rather than really caring for those who God has given for us to mentor and serve. Impatience is always about "me" ... patience is always about serving others. For some reason we often have this idea that the perfect model will serve us best ... but in reality this thing isn't about self serving at all. It's about being the Church ... and that means so much more than going to a meeting.

It’s about being the ekklesia, the out-called of Christ, and loving as Christ loves.

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