Leaders of organic churches often feel the tension between having to ensure a church gathering is organized and thought out or letting the evening flow to the beat of Christ's desire for them. As I talk with leaders I hear from time to time the following question; How can we experience the leading of the Holy Spirit each week in our house church? Let's explore an answer or two...
1. One of the first things to remember is that over a period of a house church (say 3 -5 months) the DNA of that church should be in balance for good health. All three areas of DNA should be experienced and recognized. The group should have had several meaningful conversations about portions of the Word (D), experienced relationships within the group deepen and meet some type of needs (the one another passages of the New Testament)(N) and together they should have been in prayer and planning or story sharing about reaching out to people who need Jesus (A) You can read more about keeping a healthy balance in an organic church HERE. If together we follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, we will find a healthy balance of DNA in our churches.
2. There must be an understanding and owning of the truth that every believer is equally connected to Jesus, the Head of the Church (Eph. 1:22) and therefore is able to hear from Him for themselves and for the body (1 Cor. 2:10-16, 1 John 2:20 & 27). If one doubts the truth of this point, there will be a hesitation in either participating in the evening or allowing others to participate fully.
3. A facilitator is important to a group and probably more so in the early stages of people learning to allow Jesus to be the emcee of the evening. A facilitator simply helps guide the church to the place of allowing Jesus to lead through the body. It can be done through asking questions, encouraging participation or giving instructions to listen and respond to the Spirit's promptings.
- Questions - here a few questions that you can use in facilitating the church; What has Jesus been teaching you this week through the Word or through experiences? Are there any needs that we need to bring before the Father or address this evening (this may open up ministry areas that Jesus wants to touch)? What do you sense Jesus would want to say to our church tonight?
- Encourage Participation. One thing a facilitator can do is to state or recognize that Jesus is present in our church, that He is the head of our church and that we want to follow His lead tonight. Reading passages from the Word and asking open ended questions and drawing out insights will often open up a direction that Christ wants to take the group.
- Giving instructions to the church is often a good way to help them get into the practice of listening to the Spirit themselves. Instructing the group to open to a portion of Scripture given them and to silently read and re-read the passage, listening for any promptings from the Spirit is helpful. Finding ways to slowing help people learn how to discern the voice of God and follow it is vital.One thing a facilitator can do is to state or recognize that Jesus is present in our church, that He is the head of our church and that we want to follow His lead through the church.
It can be a scary or humbling experience to let the evening flow more naturally than in an organized fashion but once this new way of leadership is experienced, I believe that you will enjoy the freedom and power that surges through the church more often than not. It is not wrong to nor bad to have a planned out teaching time, prayer time, worship time or relational time/evening, but overall, if you follow the Spirit's lead, you'll find all these things happening and more!
If you have any questions about this tip, please send your questions to me!