House Church

A Day in the Life of House Church

So, what does a House Church meeting look like, anyway?  What will we have to do if we go to House Church?  Will I like it?

I’d like to take a minute to describe the answers to the first two questions so that you might be able to begin to answer question three on your own (and to encourage you to come to House Church so that you might truly answer the third question).

We have met in parks and on Zoom, though as it got colder, we moved inside. We currently meet at either the NSP VFW or the NSP Legion in private rooms.  Each meeting lasts about 90 minutes.  Please contact us to get details about those meetings if you are interested in attending.  Additionally, it would be fantastic to begin new House Church groups.

House Church meetings allow for a certain amount of flexibility for the individual group; however, each meeting needs to include a couple of key things.

House Church is at its root a place to meet Jesus.  House Church is a vehicle for discipleship, worship, and community.  Briefly, this means that each meeting should focus on worshiping God, following Jesus, and building community.

Currently, House Church meets together and begins with a time of sharing.  Traditionally, individuals answer the historic question, “How is it with your soul?”, which is somewhat of an alteration of Wesley’s original, “How does your soul prosper?”  Each person has the opportunity to share how their relationship with God is going.

This is followed by a time of prayer.  The current House Church often uses a model in which each person individually prays for one other person.  Therefore, each person is directly prayed for and each person takes a turn praying.  I really think this is a beautiful part of House Church.

Next, the House Church reads a section of Scripture and spends time in conversation about what they might learn from the text.  They also explore how their lives might be directed or transformed by the text.  Additionally, they listen for God’s voice in the text and where God might be leading.

Then, under the direction of the Pastor, House Church shares in Holy Communion.  The Spirit is invited/welcomed in and Jesus’ Last Supper is commemorated.  We remind ourselves that we are part of the body of Christ and we are forgiven.

Finally, we send each other off to journey safely through the next week, while moving close to God’s presence.

A few things…although this House Church does not sing together, another House Church could and should sing.  House Church should also be a place where we encourage each other to engage in missional outreach. We intend to start additional house churches either through growing a house church until it divides into two OR by simply starting new house churches on different days or at different times and locations.

I would invite you into conversation with me about House Church and how you might participate.

Blessings,

Pastor Steve

eastsidepastorsteve@gmail.com

Typical House Church Format

Gathering:  for us, this is small talk and prepping the space.  Some folks connect via Zoom and this is the time they join, also.  When we are at the VFW, folks get food, make tea, and get their drinks.  Gathering is a very informal time.  Some groups could eat a meal together during their gathering.  More musical groups could incorporate music into this time or use music as a way to transition from Gathering into the more formal time.  Our current transition is rather brief.  The Gathering is also certainly a time to invite the presence of God’s Spirit (or to acknowledge God’s ever-presence).

Intentional Conversation (or Soul Check-In):  this is a time for deeper conversations, for discipling, for expressing our own challenges and short-comings.  There are a few ways into these conversations and they do need to build over time out of vulnerability and openness.  A few questions that might be asked to find this place of conversation:

A.  How is it with your soul?  OR more historically accurate:  How does your soul prosper?

B.  Where have you seen/experienced God since we last met?

C.  The spiritual check-in might begin with physical/emotional check-in, but it can’t stop there.  Additionally, it cannot be a therapy session.

The purpose is to engage with your own and with others’ faith journeys.  We are not trying to solve each other’s emotional issues.

Prayer:  in our gatherings, this shifts and moves a bit.  Sometimes, we each take a turn praying aloud for one other person in the group.  Our prayer might center around the blessing that the person is or it might touch on their spiritual struggles and for God’s strength.  The prayer might cover both areas – it might also address the emotional/life challenges.  Sometimes, one person offers a prayer for our whole group.  They might do this extemporaneously or they might read something written by themselves or another.  The prayer might be a prayer, but it could be a poem or a hymn or a song.  The more musical groups might sing together either as a prayer (but I wouldn’t do that every week), or the song might come in the transition between prayer and the Scripture time that comes next.

Scripture:  A couple things about Scripture:  I would encourage at least one person in the group to have a Study Bible (two good ones are the Harper Collins and the New Oxford). We read a few chapters (yes chapters) of Scripture every week.  Folks are certainly encouraged to read the passage prior to our Wednesday meeting, but there is no requirement.  We read the Scripture aloud, taking turns around the group, making an effort to divide the text as evenly as possible.  People can certainly choose not to read.  A different church could have the same person read this week’s Scripture and someone else read next week, passing the responsibility around that way.  Do what works for your group.

“Intro” to the Scripture:  this bit could certainly happen before the reading as well, but I’ve chosen to wait each week so that folks can simply listen to the words (to the Word) openly and without having their thoughts overly shaped by the introduction.  In the introduction, we explore: the historical/contextual placement of the passage, previous interpretive understanding, modern Biblical scholarship, and connections to other texts – both intra or extra Biblical (inside and outside the Bible).

Comments/Questions/Discussion: 

A.  Which verse or verses or sections spoke to you today and why?

B.  Allow some space even for tangential conversation.

C.  How does this text inform or reshape our lives today?

D.  How does the text describe our relationship with God or our relationships with each other?

Segue into Communion:  This could be through prayer or a song or a simple and direct transition.

Communion:  Follow a liturgy.  Connect with the Pastor prior for a discussion about the elements and the liturgy.  Be aware of food allergies and gluten intolerance.

Dismissal:  Formal or informal, perhaps rooted in a Scriptural challenge or consolation.  Be sure to challenge folks to invite someone new, to see God at work in their lives, and to live out the love of Christ in the daily lives.