Starting With A Meeting

Most of us want more than a meeting (although some may not). Sadly, my church life has not been much more than that… just a meeting. The great thing is, there has already been a lot of change in the right direction. Coffee breaks, donut runs, dropping in with cookies, things that, the more I do, the more I want to do, and the more I want to be around God’s people. Once a week is just not enough anymore.

I read, Church Life: More Than a Meeting by Josh at Called to Rebuild, and it built up my resolve to work on my church life. Ironic thing is, we are starting with a meeting. Hopefully a meeting that is about getting together and going out. I’m not really sure how to do that though.

As I mentioned yesterday, several of us here are going to start getting together at my house during the week. I’ve been searching the web, and poking around on some blogs for advice and I just got some, so I want to share it.

My question to Alan over at The Assembling Of The Church, in response to his post, Learning from a Martial Arts Camp, was this:

I am opening my home starting this week for Bible study, prayer, singing, talking, eating, whatever is needed.

I kind of hope it is free flowing, and kind of a “do-what-is-needed” type gathering. My concern is that it may not have much direction and people will not stay interested.

Do you have any advice?

Alan responded;

Sol,

I’ll offer a couple of pieces of advice, and hopefully others will as well. You can take this or leave:

1) Don’t make it about keeping people interested.
2) When you meet together this first time (and maybe for a few times) talk about expectations openly and honestly.
3) Don’t think of the singing, praying, Bible study as the “meeting” while the other part (eating, talking, whatever) is not.
4) As soon as possible – perhaps even this first time – come up with something you can all do together to serve others.
5) Talk or get together with each other (lunch, dinner, coffee, movie, whatever) during the week.
6) All of this (above) assumes that Jesus Christ is focus of everything that you do (you can’t control that about others, although you can encourage it).

One more thing… if you can, write about this on your blog. I’ll be glad to link to it. Perhaps you’ll get even more (and better) advice.

-Alan

Sounds like pretty good advice to me.

I’m hoping for more advice on this too.

I’m sure others have experiences and advice to share, so please comment if you can. I would love to hear it… and I need it.

(I’ve already got more advice from Jason Vana in the comments from yesterdays post. Thanks Jason.)

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14 Responses to Starting With A Meeting

  1. Alan Knox says:

    Sol,

    I hope you get some great advice. I’ll link to this article and try to send some traffic your way, but I want to hear what people have to say about this.

    -Alan

  2. Pingback: Share your experience and advice | The Assembling of the Church

  3. Bobby says:

    Sol

    I have been trying to organize a simple gathering with other believers in my neighborhood. Thus far it hasn’t amounted to much more than a social gathering with food and small talk. I have discovere that the most enthusiastic and dedicated members are those who come because we have served them in some way and then invited them to join us. Other than continuing to minister and encourage others I’m not sure how to get the ball rolling any different. As of now, we’re going as we feel led and waiting for God to work it out according to his plan.

    I’m eager to see some of the responses you get. I’m glad you posed this question.

    • Bobby, it was Alan’s idea, and a good one. I asked him on one of his posts and he suggested this. I’m looking forward to seeing what responses I get too. I already have a response from Alan, and one other that I’m putting in a post for later today. I hope to see more.

  4. Art Mealer says:

    Hi Sol and Bobby,

    I’m in the midst of doing the same things (again), and a friend of mine in Texas just called yesterday and said he is also taking this step. Along what Alan has already well said, here’s a few other simple, starting out/re-purposing suggestions:

    When getting together think family, conversations, food and neighbors.

    1. When getting together, forget “church” and think “extended family get together”–aunts, uncles, nephews, cousins, nieces, grandparents, and a spattering of “enfamilied” friends–over for dinner, outings at the park, at reunions, weddings, holidays, helping each other, etc.

    2. When getting together, forget sermons, sermonettes and bible studies (these can be empty substitutes for life) and think conversations. Don’t pray for my conversion yet–let me explain!

    Each of you focus on actively following God every day–and when you gather–over studying about Him. Get used to responding to His leading, whether in the every day mundane or in the unexpected.

    Listen for God. Each day, all week, within yourself and around you, and in others. Pay attention; be observant. Our Father, who told parents to “teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deut 6:7)” does the same for His children.

    Listen to God. Every day read a book or books of the bible. Memorize a book. Read and think and ponder until scripture swirls around in your head and is coming out of your ears (and mouth). When He leads, you might study/ponder the same psalm or book for a few months or more (it’s a combination of how dimly we see/how hard our hearts are and the immeasurable depths of His wisdom).

    If you do these two things, your “family” will find no end to the conversations together and to pulling out your bibles to rethink and consider and dig and compare whenever you are together. But listen to Him when you are together. If you are learning every day to follow His leading and prompting, you’ll better know what to say, when not to say something, when to stop, etc. For some, they will need most to learn to act when He prompts them. For others, they will need most to learn to shut up and sit still when He prompts them (my problem *sigh*).

    When that kind of conversational interaction becomes your norm (I Cor 14:26 etc), sharing out of full hearts and lives, you will also find yourselves in bible studies and in sharing for extended times–but not as the main course nor as the sole course. You will also find, just as when a family meets, not everyone has to sit and listen to a solitary conversation. That occurs part of the time but it certainly isn’t the main way the family converses when together. Loosen up!

    And let the kids play! They see what you are doing and it imprints them for life. But don’t put bow ties and frilly dresses on them and make them sit like little adults for a few hours. Let them come and go. You’ll find yourselves outside playing with them sometimes, and looking in on them in the other room. Playing, laughing, being hugged and kissed by aunts and uncles while they turn their noses up and their faces smile with joy. Family. Not…”church.”

    3. When getting together forget sip and a chip or coffee and a donut, and think meals. Everyone that can, brings something to share. Fancy, plain, big, small, yummy and yucky. And let the meal include remembering the Lord’s death, expecting His return, and rehearsing the table He is preparing for us. Let it be joyful, not a wake. He’s alive. He’s here! He’s coming back physically. He has a table prepared… Oh, what a fortunate family we are!

    4. When getting together, forget missional, missions and ministries and think neighbors. Who is my neighbor? Those you pass by as you follow Him who are in need (“as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him” Luke 10:33). These may be those next door, at work, at the market. But for the most part, they should be natural contacts, where (if you are paying attention) He brings these people across your path, not something forced and artificial.

    Just like the difference between sermons and conversations, if we are full of Him and following Him, we will have work enough serving “neighbors” without creating artificial ministries where we go somewhere else and dabble for an hour or two a week. Of course, He may move where you live to get you among those He wants you to come across. If we follow Him, He will make us fishers of men. Fishermen live by the sea, and their work is strenuous, long, and obtrusive labor at odd hours.

  5. Pingback: Family… Not “Church” | Looking For Church

  6. Mike Helms says:

    Sol,

    Here’s my advice… Don’t overthink it; don’t worry about these things so much! Just be glad that you’re gathering with God’s people, and don’t worry about whether it’s a “meeting” or not. It’s okay to have a meeting, it really is! It’s not the form that matters as much as that you are with God’s people and your desire together is for Jesus. How that “looks”; how that unfolds; is really limitless. It will depend on the people you meet with, and how God leads you.

    There are too many “shoulds” and “should nots” that are out there. It’s funny, we leave the IC for these very reasons, and then impose a whole new set of what we should and shouldn’t do on ourselves- (many times the opposites of what the IC tells us that we should be doing). So the IC has one guy teaching? The home group says that’s bad! And so on… I understand your desire to be “free flowing” but having some kind of structure doesn’t have to ruin that. It could even help it. When my wife and I started out as you are right now, I took the road of not wanting to run things to such an extent that I had my hands off everything. I couldn’t understand why our gatherings were going nowhere. I prayed about it and felt God told me to step up and lead. As soon as I did, everything started to fall into place. My desire for a “every member” gathering was still just as strong, but I learned an important lesson- I will not let my own, or other people’s, “should and should nots” get in the way of doing whatever it is God wants to do.

    There all these expectations that people will put on you about what you should and shouldn’t be doing when you gather. You know what? There is very little written in stone. You are free in Christ! The best advice I can give you is walk in that freedom and quit worrying about all this stuff. Enjoy your brothers and sisters in Christ, love the Lord, walk in His truth, seek His mind- and you’ll be going the right direction.

    Mike

  7. Pingback: Starting together | The Assembling of the Church

  8. Pingback: Starting New Churches | Till He Comes

  9. lawdawg23 says:

    Hey Sol!

    Looks like you’ve already gotten some good advice here. Starting with meals, doing fun stuff together, ect. is by and far the best advice I’ve seen on how to begin. Personally, it’s always a challenge for me to pursue whole-heartedly what the Lord has put in my heart and at the same time not take myself too seriously. We live in culture that is saturated with Christianity and religion, and it takes time for people who have that background to “detox”, in a sense. Be patient with any progress you feel the saints you’re meeting with, including yourself, may or may not be making. Anything of quality takes a lot of time to develop.

  10. Pingback: Starting a New Church

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