“Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.”
Hoo Boy! I’m wading in deep now, aren’t I! First, I’m advocating culling the congregation, and now I am making the case for small churches without a paid pastor. What is wrong with me! Nobody does it that way!
Well, I think we need to do something drastically different. The Lord has put it on me so hard that I was forced to make a change. I didn’t want to leave my church. Sure, I really didn’t like what I was seeing and the direction it was going, but I have a lot of friends there. Nevertheless, here I am. I left my church, and now I’m banging on a different drum.
There are a lot of people that have done the same thing. In fact, I’m surprised at how many there are. There is starting to be some organization, too. The idea of home-based church is gaining traction. I can see why.
Let’s dream about this for a while today. What might some of the characteristics of a home church be?
• Like-Minded People. Let’s face it, diversity of belief hinders everyone. We all know how exciting it can be when we really connect with people. Imagine when a group is passionate about diving deep into Jesus!
• Time Gets Lost. You know what it’s like to be having fun and realize it’s much later than you thought. That happens with good friends and family. That’s what happens when like-minded people get together about Jesus. People will come early and stay late. Why? Because they want to. Other things will fade away as this becomes a priority in life.
• Problems Are Solved. Because Jesus is our priority and we have eagerly made time for Him, we’ll find problems getting solved. Big problems. Marriage problems. Addiction problems. Anxiety problems. You name it. People will trust one another with their problems. That gives us all an opportunity to love on each other. Big time.
• People Step Up. Every single person has something to offer. When people love each other and are eager to give their time, even the shyest person will open up. We don’t have one expert in church who dominates the meeting, we have a whole group of individuals that all are experts in life. How does that saying go? We all have two ears and one mouth? When people trust each other, it’s amazing how much people contribute.
• Flexibility Is Possible. Sometimes life happens, and we need help. Since there is no “program,” everything can be dropped to attend to the needs of one person. Imagine if someone just got a bad medical report or suddenly lost a loved one. Wouldn’t it be nice if the whole group could pour out love on that person? Maybe the whole time would be spent talking, praying, and loving that person. Might not that be exactly what we are supposed to do?
• Scripture Is Revered. Because people are like-minded and know the riches of Jesus, scripture becomes a priority. The bible won’t be just a Sunday thing, it will be an everyday thing. Imagine if the whole group was on the same bible-in-a-year plan. Wouldn’t it be cool to talk about all that was read during the week? I’m sure there will be TONS of questions! There will be lots of answers, too! Plus, I’m sure there will be lots of studying afterwards for questions that weren’t answered.
• Prayer Becomes Big. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16). People will realize this promise. They will see God move mountains.
Can you see big things happening in a small church? I’m sure you have lots of questions, and I’ll get to them. Trust me, I had lots of questions, too. For example, what if there is one member who dominates the conversation and kills the spirit of the group? As we know, that happens all to often. But, let me ask you this. If we really love somebody, wouldn’t it be better to help them change rather than to let the group die? Sure, it’ll probably be very difficult to correct very bad habits. Heck, it might even take Jesus! (Wink, wink!) Imagine, if you will, that the group took the time to learn how to approach the person about this so that it might build him/her up rather than tear down.
I want you to really think hard about this. Just imagine how that person’s life might be changed if they could enjoy others and not feel compelled to dominate. Why do you suppose that person needs to dominate in the first place? Might there be a wound somewhere from his/her past that influences this undesirable behavior? That’s almost a sure bet. Imagine if a group of people loved a person through this pain of the past. Imagine how God would be glorified if the one who is normally shunned is welcomed and healed by Jesus through the love of a group of people, not one person, but a group of people?
I’ll tell you what the result would be. God will pour love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control until it is coming out of their ears, that’s what would happen!
Folks, this can’t happen in a normal church setting. It’s too big. People are all over the board in their beliefs. People guard themselves. Love is stifled. And, you know what? The Holy Spirit is grieved.
I can imagine something else. Can you?
Father, let us consider these things.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers