I want to draw your attention to an aspect of what I believe Christ is doing during this mess. Church buildings have been shut down along with several other idolatrous activities which the American public had long worshipped. Our sports teams, movie theatres, casinos, bars, stores in which some practiced "retail therapy" and a host of other activities which we used to "entertain ourselves" have been shut down. That includes church. Many are not able to "go to church."
I say many, but not everyone. Why? It's because there was a remnant who did not go to be entertained. They went to worship our Lord, pray, equip others and get equipped to serve our Father's purpose.
Go to Church?
Did you know that you cannot find the phrase "go to church" in the scripture (NKJV or KJV). No wait just one minute. Don't jump ahead of me. I'm not discouraging the church assembling together like the scripture says we should do. What I am hammering on is an attitude prevalent in much of the Western Church wherein we "go to church" to be entertained just like we go to a sporting event or a movie. We would never say that, but our actions scream it. We watch, but do not participate or we participate very little and we critique the sermon or the worship team like we would a football game or a movie.
Understand, we were not called to go to church but rather to be the Church. You know, the Church Jesus referred to when He said, "I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)
The word translated “church” comes from the Greek word ekklessia which according to Strong's Concordance means "the called-out ones." It references members of a Christian community. Do you know where the early Church met? They met in homes, from house to house.
Calling the Church Up and Out
I think Satan is trying to shut the Church down whereas God is calling the Church up and out! He is calling us up to the standard of a disciple described in His word and He is calling us out of our comfort zone which is outside the four walls of a church building. He is calling us out of our comfort zone and into the kingdom zone.
The kingdom zone is where believers choose to act like Jesus. It is where they decide to rule, and reign and that rulership begins in their own heart first and then extends to their family and in their home. That is their domain. They can choose to make it the King of King's domain if they choose to apply God’s word, pray and obey His leading and guidance.
We are only a few days away from Pentecost. Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem for an outpouring of power. So, they prayed continually in one accord, where? In a house! The outpouring that transformed the early Church into a powerful force of witnesses began in a home. Acts 2:1-4 says,
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
That day 3000 souls were water baptized and added to the Church. Where did they continue to meet?
Acts 2:42 - 47
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.... So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Note that is says they gathered daily at the temple AND met from "house to house." Why did they continue to meet at the temple? It's because they were Jewish and there were times of corporate prayer offered with the morning and the evening sacrifice. But they also met from house to house.
So, I am not discouraging gathering with the Church in a large building. Not at all. I am just emphasizing that we need to understand and re-incorporate the role of the home church, house fellowship or home meeting into the Church's overall strategy because the Church is made up of people, not buildings! In the early Church that is where most of the equipping occurred. It is what I encourage and teach ministers in our KLI network and I submit, it is still the best place for the Church to be trained and equipped.
The Church needs to be connected. House churches and home fellowships need to be connected to an apostolic (strategic) network a hub. We need the Church functioning completely and maturely from large to small we need them all.
What Would Jesus Have You Do?
So, if you are frustrated because there is no place to go to church, then I am going to challenge you to pray and obey! Perhaps God would have you begin to be the Church in your community. When this pandemic started this is what the Lord led us to do.
- We prayed and obeyed the leading of Holy Spirit.
- We were already hosting a weekly prayer meeting and the Lord gave my wife an idea for a way for us to show Christ's love to our neighborhood. With the help of two neighbors who prayed with us on occasion they prepared a neighborhood food locker and prepared goodie bags to hand out with some treats and an offer to pray or to help anyone.
- Then we began host a meeting on Sundays.
What Does the Meeting Look Like?
We try to do what we see in scripture. I like what the Amplified Bible Classic Edition says in 1 Corinthians 14:26.
What then, brethren, is [the right course]? When you meet together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a disclosure of special knowledge or information, an utterance in a [strange] tongue, or an interpretation of it. [But] let everything be constructive and edifying and for the good of all.
So that is what we do. When we meet, we look to see what each one has to offer. A hymn, a teaching, or a prophetic word perhaps. Bottom line, we are trying to encourage each one to use their gifts to serve each other and our heavenly Father's purpose. Everyone joins in and for those who are shy, we love them, challenge them and help them. Here's the basic outline of what a Sunday looks like.
It begins with communion.
- It is followed by praise and worship.
- We have a bible study.
- We pray for one another, our neighborhood, family members or our nation as Holy Spirit leads us.
- It's really that simple and I've got to tell you, we have had some of the most marvelous times of worship to. Sometimes the worship was so rich, the atmosphere so heavy with God's presence we thought angels surely must have joined in. Truly, words fail me as I try to describe how rich these times have been.
How You Can Do It?
So the question is, how do you start? I submit, you should first pray and obey.
Start with Communion
We start each Sunday with communion. Communion comes from the Greek word koinonia. It is a word used to describe the Lord's supper wherein we remember His sacrifice on the cross. It's part of our "fellowship" with God. Invariably as we come into our home we visit, fellowship or commune with one another. So we fellowship with God and we fellowship with one another.
We like to do communion differently than most. We offer large pieces of matzah and large cups for the grape juice. We also like to add some olive oil and salt to. Why? It's because the large portions remind us that God is more than enough. As we partake of each element we linger and thank God for what Jesus did and all of the benefits that came from the sacrifice He gave. Each person has opportunity to express their gratitude to God. The oil reminds of Holy Spirit's role while the salt reminds us that this is an everlasting covenant and that we are called to be salt and light.
Depending upon what God lays upon people's hearts, this can take 10 to 30 minutes.
Praise and Worship
Praise as to do with songs or what we say while worship is associated with things we do like kneeling, lifting our hands or giving an offering. We combine both. When it comes to songs of praise over the years we've done the following. Remember, in a Church service almost everything we do is for people. This portion of the service is where we get to give to God Himself. Therefore our goal is not to entertain people but rather to praise and worship our Lord.
- Have a worship leader use a guitar, keyboard, or worship team to lead us in songs of praise. You can also sing accapella.
- If someone is not skillful then we have also used a list of selected songs on a CD, iPod, iPhone, etc....
- Note that if the songs do not transition well, you may want to have someone lowering the volume and raising the volume between each song so there is a more smooth transition that is not so abrupt and disturbing to some.
- We recommend choosing the songs as Holy Spirit leads you and secondly, either sharing the words on a TV screen, overhead or print out the words on paper. The bottom line is, you want to empower people to participate.
- People can sit, stand, kneel, dance, lift their hands, clap their hands or prostrate themselves on the floor. These are all Biblical expressions of worship.
- Sometimes people have a prophetic word, an exhortation or a tongue and interpretation. We just wait and try to be sensitive to this.
Giving & Worship
Over the years as we've made disciples unto Jesus we've highlighted the importance of worship and giving is such an important part of that. Why? Because it expresses where our heart is at. Is it with our Lord or elsewhere? Does fear rule or faith? The most important thing you learn about worship is expressed in Deuteronomy where this concept is repeated a number of times. It's where God says to take your tithes and offerings where He chooses to make His name abide. So we teach people to give out of their relationship with God first. Ask Him what He wants them to give and where.
The second criteria we use is we ask the Lord this question. Heavenly Father, who are You using to equip us (Ephesian 4:11 gifts) for worship and for spiritual war? Who serves as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher offering encouragement, accountability and equipping?
So we don't pass a plate so to speak. Our giving is done before we meet. But we do set out a box in the foyer in case people are so led to give and we have a food locker in front of our house to. During the service at some point we will bring to God's remembrance everyone who gave and their type of offering (tithes, first fruits, alms or offering) and worship Him. We ask them to bless His sons and daughters and remember the covenant promise upon their behalf and bless them. We encourage the people to also give voice to using Deuteronomy 26:13-15 as an example.
You'll find that tithes and first fruits were always used for people (Levites, widows and orphans) while offerings could go to people or to things like buildings. Alms were given as people we moved out of mercy. So, we like to know what it is people give because that helps us determine how to distribute those sacred offerings.
Bottom line, it is all based on pray and obey. Why? For those who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God (Romans 8:14).
There are so many ways to do this (inspirational, topical word study, chronological or study a book or chapter) but for those who need a little help starting you can use a workbook like my Hebrews 6 Foundation book which introduces the six fundamental teachings that every disciple ought to know. Click here to learn more about the Hebrews 6 Foundations. You can get it through Amazon and it just asks questions based upon the scriptures. Your Bible provides the answer key.
We invite someone to facilitate each chapter or topic. They highlight what they learned and invite others to share any insight or revelation Holy Spirit showed them.
How to End
When we are done with the Bible study we ask if anyone needs prayer and we all join in. Sometimes we have a meal and more fellowship. It's really up to you and Holy Spirit.
It's my sincerest hope that many local churches will incorporate home meetings into their overall church planting strategy. Some of you will be inspired and gifted such that you need nothing else but to obey the leading of our Lord. For those like that, praise God. Go for it.
If you find yourself without a church home or you want to be connected to and praying with the larger body of Christ then I would recommend:
- Download the 1Church1Day app from your app store.
- Join us in:
- Praying for our nation - sign up for a watch in the calendar
- Pray the alerts and decrees
- Get equipped through training offered through our Kingdom Academy.
- If you want more personal mentoring or coaching then league with us through the KLI Family or Tribe. To learn more click here.
- If you have questions you can post them in the comments below.