GATHERINGS: NO TITLES, NO AGENDA, NO GLORY
Gatherings themselves are “family” like and emphasize relationship and community, focusing on interaction and full participation by all who gather together. Not unlike a family get together, there is a relaxed atmosphere centered on intimacy with Christ and one another, food (shared meal together), fun, and fellowship. It is deliberately relaxed, and non-religious in tone and activity.
Typically our gatherings begin with the people, our “brothers and sisters” meeting and gathering at our pre-arranged meeting place, which is usually a home, just as the Early Church gathered from house to house in the book of Acts and the Epistles.
These gathering times can be on any day of the week and time of day. Our gathering usually takes place on a Friday evening, but we have gathered on other evenings and daytime activities such as outings and picnics, or to visit other like minded brothers and sisters in the wider Body of Christ. This has been with purpose and intent. We sensed as we sought the Lord that He desired us to meet on Fridays (which ironically is the beginning of the Sabbath, for any trivia buffs!) This allows and encourages maximum participation during the weekend for others to either meet socially or to go and support other expressions of the Body of Christ within the city.
We try to begin at a pre-arranged time, but typically people like to connect with others and re-establish contact with some or get to know those they have not known. Our gathering is open to any who may want to come. It is not closed. We view it as the entry point into what the Lord is doing in our midst through church in the house and the ministry that erupts when we gather to worship and minister around the Lord Jesus in our midst.
We believe and practice that the Lord Jesus is the head and that He leads our gatherings through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We have learned from earlier on that it is not about any of us being “leaders” giving “direction”, but rather as “brothers and sisters” we submit ourselves and any agendas to the Lord and leave them at His feet. We have found that our personal relationship & devotional time with the Lord during the week very often prepares all of us for the full participation in the life and ministry that takes place when we gather together.
These gatherings are not a platform for the ministry of the few professional ministers, but rather it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit at work through the entire Priesthood of Believers. Everyone is a participant. Teaching and discipleship is like in any family, where siblings share with siblings, and those more mature than others and more experienced in the affairs of life, share from the wisdom of having walked with Christ with others who are walking with them in relationship.
It is all about deepening relationships, with Jesus and with each other. It is all about sharing and giving away what Jesus has given to each one of us. There is not one person, be they just new in the Lord or one who has been through the seasons of life, who cannot participate. We all participate together, and as we do, the Lord manifests His presence, grace, and holiness, and all His grace gifts through those who love Him, and love each other and honour and prefer one another. Regular relational house church is for being knit to Jesus, and knit to one another in deep intimate relationship.
These relationships are redemptive and revolutionary, and a vast contrast to what we have previously known in our church experiences. The outflow of this fellowship grounded in love and community is the building up and equipping and releasing of the saints for the work of the ministry. The ministries of Jesus should always be the outflow of life together as community.
We gather not for ministry, but for life, celebrating and experiencing the life of Jesus together. This is revealed when people share in ministry to the Lord and to one another. Some people will share their walk that week with the Lord, issues of the heart, some poetry, scripture, song, prayer or insights or a prophetic word. This is what we call body life, where according to 1 Cor. 14:26, everyone participates in what the Lord is saying and doing in our midst. It is fluid, unplanned, and unrehearsed, and we yearn that it not be done religiously or based on agenda. We call for and submit to the leading of the Spirit, and we do not move forward in any direction without the agreement of all the saints together.
The basic components that seen consistent in our gatherings include expressing our life in Christ together, prayer and intercession, praise and worship, testimonies, interactive teaching/bible discussion, personal ministry time, the Lord’s table as part of a regular shared meal and refreshments.
The gathering is rather open and spontaneous and encourages participation and interaction. You are free to participate as much as you desire and to express yourself. In fact we would be disappointed if you didn’t join in! Our motto that gives us direction is simple, no titles (no leaders), no agenda (being led by the Spirit and agreement), no glory (no pride and self adulation), and we pledge to honour and prefer one another. As John Wimber said, “Everyone gets to play!” And that’s the way church should be!