House Church Thoughts, “Stuck in a Rut”

Hi all,

The greatest revelation is that Jesus is Lord, and that is a revelation from the Father we’ve all experienced for responding to that revelation is how we were born again.

But all else in the kingdom flows from that revelation. Even in His ministry, Jesus said He did nothing unless He first saw or heard the Father doing it (John 5:19, 30).

And that is what our meetings are all about – revelation from heaven – perceiving the direction heaven is going for the meeting is the responsibility of who is leading that meeting, and those attending as well.

Paul said in I Corinthians 14:26, “How is it when you all come together brethren? One has a Psalm (worship and/or prayer), another a revelation, another a teaching, or the gifts of the Spirit…let it all be done to the edifying of others…”

If you are to lead, then lead

It takes purposing in the heart to lead a house church meeting because you must commune with the Lord and your heart to see what direction to go in – if you are a worshipper you may lead everyone in worship and prayer and ministry.

If your grace is more along the lines of a teaching, you may have a 20-30 minute teaching for everyone. If you love to tell your testimony you may share yours and others may also share theirs.

Many house church meetings end up with laying hands on everyone, prayer, and the gifts of the Spirit moving.

But coming together in a house church meeting is for the purpose of receiving from the Lord – revelation, healing, inspiration, a fresh touch or word. That takes a willingness to launch into the unknown of just sharing from your own revelation, teaching or revelation He has shown you this week.

And when all do that, then are eager to pray for one another, revelation flows in the gifts of the Spirit, in love, in balance, and all are encouraged and built up in the Lord.

But we are lazy

But human nature is to come to someone’s house and sit…and listen, and receive, and maybe not share too much or maybe too much, and eat, and talk a bit…lol.

I often see ruts develop in house churches. By ‘rut’ I mean they fall into a pattern that soon becomes ‘we do it this way because’ tradition, and others feel challenged or uncomfortable or outright angry if someone messes up the pattern.

Some of these ruts can include using song sheets. Another is a set house to meet in all the time. Another is the same pattern – open with prayer, song, someone shares, food – week after week.

Another rut can be a set study on a book of the Bible or topic. Another can be having the Lord’s Supper at each meeting. Another could be using musical instruments played by the same people each week.

Song sheets can be good once in a while, but you won’t enter into deep worship that way. A study of a Bible book or topic is good once in a while for uniform Bible teaching is often a need. Having a pattern for the meeting that feels comfortable is good, but be open to changing it up based on what the Lord wants to do that day.

A little rabbit trail

On that last sentence – I remember when I was a pastor in a traditional church and I started sensing what kind of ‘mood’ the Lord was in for that service – was the anointing more on the worship, the Word, or ministry? In house church it can be much the same – if you are leading ask where He wants to go – more towards worship and then ministry, or the Word?

And then mix it up to give that area more time – so maybe if you feel a heavier peace in your spirit about worship, then put together a great flow of cd’s and then let God be God and just worship in the meeting.

Back to the subject

But I’ve been doing this long enough to see patterns develop – laziness sometimes sets in and turning to someone else’s revelation and someone else’s outline becomes the ‘go to’ thing to do – someone else’s study of a NT letter or someone else’s study or outline on a topic.

Someone feels led one time to share on the importance of the Lord’s Supper, then every week they insist on having it - and soon weeks or months go by and the life is gone, the spontaneity is gone, and people start wondering what is wrong, why they feel listless, why it isn’t fulfilling anymore.

Pretty soon you are using song sheets or an overhead projector or Powerpoint, a handout with outlines, and you might as well be back in a dead traditional church because it is no longer a Bible patterned house church. All moving of the Spirit is gone, all spontaneity is gone…what happened?

They left personal revelation in favor of ‘easy’ and they fell into a rut.

Get your own revelation!

The kingdom works by revelation, and when we come together we should be sharing and receiving revelation.

Be willing to set aside a pattern and find revelation as (you or they) share their story (knowledge), the gifts, revelation, teaching, or just pray for one another or get lost in worship for an hour and let God be God in your midst.

Suggestions

It takes balance, and so each meeting will be different – maybe one set of leaders will want to study the Sermon on the Mount – but they only host/lead 1x a month so that is no problem because the other weeks people are sharing as outlined in scripture, from their own revelation.

Maybe someone else asks to have the Lord’s Supper in a week or two – do it! Mix it up. Some house churches have set up a night during the week to study a book or topic. Some might use song sheets one week and nothing the rest of the time. Rather than meet in the same host home each week, try a park, another host’s home or elsewhere - get creative!

People want to hear your heart

Paul told the Corinthians it wouldn’t profit them at all unless he came willing to share knowledge – his life experience with the Lord – or revelation or teaching or prophesying.

But if every meeting becomes a prophecy-fest then no real meat is received. But if every meeting is a simple chapter and verse study, it becomes dry as toast.

My point here is for house churches to step back and look at the larger picture

Do you have a good mix of the moving of the gifts of the Spirit and set study topics? Do you rotate homes and leaders? Do you mix up worship between instruments and cd and no accompaniment at all?

Are you in a rut – always first prayer, then some songs, then food, then ‘the meeting’ – or some other pattern?

You don’t HAVE to have worship every time you meet. You don’t HAVE to have food every time you meet. You don’t HAVE to have a Word study every time you meet.

You DO have to find the Lord’s will for each meeting, and trust me, it will vary from week to week based on who is leading.

You know if you are in a rut if your thoughts of changing the pattern are met with either questioning why you want to change things, or you wonder ‘if it is ok to do this instead’ (whatever is different from the routine)

In the summer doldrums in the northern hemisphere (apologies to my Aussie, Kiwi, South American and RSA friends who are experiencing winter), with people on vacation and everyone feeling disconnected from one another, when you come together be willing to share YOUR revelation, YOUR heart.

Let fresh revelation flow, share the life you have learned during summer break – and use the occasion to be creative and bold, and if you are in a rut pattern, break out of it.

Blessings,

John Fenn

www.cwowi.org and email me at cwowi@aol.com

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