Monday, March 28, 2011
Meeting new brothers and sisters
I went to a nearby meeting of a small group of believers yesterday. They would certainly fall under the “house church” umbrella even though they meet in the rec center of a retirement community. I went with my two older daughters, not sure what to expect. I mean I pretty much knew what to expect but it still is a different experience. We all met in a common area, sitting in a circle. Several of the people in attendance played guitar and we ended up singing quite a few songs. The whole meeting was mostly unscripted, opening and closing in prayer and the rest of the time (around an hour and a quarter) was taken up with song requests, some Scripture reading and a few recountings of events in the last week where God was moving in their lives. The only real drawbacks? We didn’t eat and I am all about eating! Also there weren’t a lot of smaller children. I am wondering what we would do with the littlest kids. They will sit still for a while but eventually are going to get up. I think that will be a “problem” in any intimate setting where we don’t have a nursery to shuffle the kids off to. It still was a great group of people and we will definitely gather with them again. My wife and I are going to meet with one couple from this group (we had planned this before Sunday) later this week and we are looking forward to getting to know them more and find out more about their group. It never ceases to amaze me just how many people there are, people hungry for God and His Word and His Spirit, who are outside of the confining walls of “the church”. There are lots of people inside as well of course but we have missed so many of those outside because they aren’t where we expect to find them: in homes, in rented rooms and store fronts, schools and libraries. There is such a vibrant community out there! Not perfect people, not perfect groups by any means but people who are sincere and hungry for Christ. As we get to know more and more people in our community, my prayer is that along with meeting other Christians and being in genuine fellowship and community with them, we will reach the lost where they are and as the Holy Spirit regenerates them, welcome them into the community of faith. If a church group is not spending a great deal of time in a replicating and expanding mode instead of a reinforcing and sustaining mode, it will quickly atrophy and become just another institution. A church group can slide along on inertia and tradition for a very long time and there are plenty of those out there already that have virtually no impact on their community and little sense of community within the body. I say better an unpredictable, often messy group that reaches the lost than a safe and predictable group that is content with playing at church.