Tag Archives: Christian

What is a Missional Community?

This is the question that the Verge Network has been asking a number of leaders on their website, and this is the question that many churches around the country and world are asking, and this is the question I deal with on a daily basis as someone who oversees Community Groups, which we view as gospel communities on mission.

It’s a vital question for the church, which is typically seen as a Sunday event and maybe a small group bible study or Sunday school. Somewhere along the way, the common understanding of church became a place to go instead of a people who are going. A place to attend, instead of a people with a message to extend. The gospel was never to be kept inside of a church building, but was meant to define all of a Christian’s life and then lived out in a community that seeks to love and care for others.

The origins of the Missional Community idea are found in Acts chapter 2 in the scriptures that show a community responding to the good news of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection by being devoted to God, devoted to one another, and devoted to including their friends and neighbors in the good news. Church history shows us St. Patrick who lived this out in a community that eventually evangelized all of Ireland this way.

So now the church is asking, what happened? How do we return to being a people that extend the message and mercy of Jesus Christ, the good news of a good Savior to the world around us? How does missions become normal and local instead of being seen as only an overseas endeavor?

In comes Missional Community. The name spells it out, a community of people that live on mission together. But as the Verge Network has proved with their question, every church & leader has their own way of living it out.

Ultimately Missional Community is about principles more than it is about exact practicals. The various definitions and forms that happen all over the country and world all carry the same principles but are practically lived out differently depending on leadership and context.

Those primary principles appear to be:
1. Gospel Identity: Everyone in the world lives defined by a certain identity. For the church & those in missional communities, that identity is found as someone saved by Jesus Christ’s work, not our efforts, and then sent as missionaries into the world. We’re not just blessed by God in Christ, we are also meant to be a blessing to others. We are missionaries because God is a missionary and we get to represent what He is like.
2. Community on Mission: Missional Communities is an acknowledgement that our salvation is not an individual, “me & my God” thing, but we are saved into a family or community that cares for one another and serves others together. When a community receives good news, it shares good news.
3. Gather around Mission: The missional community gathers around a specific evangelistic mission. Whether that’s a specific affinity group that everyone cares for or a geographic area where they live, each community has a specific group of people they want to extend the love of Christ to & serve them with the deeds of Christ. I’ve recently seen a greater emphasis on proximity rather than affinity.
4. Discipleship is the key to sustainability: In the past, churches relied on a singular dynamic leader & in some instances that is still the case, but missional communities focuses on enabling every person to be a missionary & minister (or leader) in serving other people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Missional communities will only be as missional as their discipleship. Are they creating & enabling more people to be leaders? Are they making it simple & transferable? If not, it won’t last.
5. Multiplication: The goal of a missional community is not to grow large in numbers of people, but to create new expressions of community & compassionate mission. They see as their end, multiplying into many communities and spreading the gracious message of Jesus to as many people as possible.

As I mentioned earlier, various churches and leaders do it differently and summarize it in a variety of ways. Typically focuses on core values as they define their practice.

The Austin Stone has God, Gospel, Mission. Austin City Life, Soma Communities, Kaleo San Diego, & The Crowded House, from England, have formed the GCM Collective to share resources centered around Gospel, Community, & Mission.

3DM, originally from England, has Up, In, Out. Neil Cole says Divine Truth, Nurturing Relationships, Apostolic Mission. JR Woodward lists 5 things. Felicity Dale summarizes it as a multiplying family that shares life together on mission. Christian Community Church in Chicago, which puts on Exponential which is centered around the idea of Missional Communities this year uses the terms Grow, Connect, Expand.

If I understood what Alan Hirsch was saying half the time, I might be able to summarize it similarly, but his accent entrances me. I know he is saying profound and great things, I just have trouble summarizing it. His latest book, Right Here, Right Now, is fantastic and summarizes the movements of a Missional Community as Move Out, Move In, Move Alongside, Move From.

The practicals of all of these leaders in this idea vary, but the principles do not. Practicals range from size, house church or megachurch, content, location, discipleship methods, and on and on, but the principles are the necessary components for each individual church and leader to wrestle with and define in their context. The message and principles must be contextualized rather than merely adopting the practicals.

The non-negotiable is that to be a Christian is be a career missionary alongside a community and Missional Community or whatever you call it has become to most effective means for churches to live out this truth to our world.

5 Comments

Filed under Church Life, Community Groups, Life, Missional Communities, Small Groups, Verge

Do I really love people?

I’ve been reading Galatians lately and a couple of verses that have jumped out to me are Galations 5:5-6, which reads:

For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

I bolded that last part because it’s what has been ringing in my head for a month. Is my faith working itself out through love? Does my faith and hope in Jesus Christ for righteousness result in me loving people? Throughout this chapter, this same theme keeps reoccurring that for a Christian, walking daily in faith produces a freedom to love people. Over the last month I’ve developed a few gauges that have helped me realize whether or not I actually love people.

The Elevator Gauge.

Is there a more awkward environment than an elevator with a mirror? That’s my daily routine. The gauge for me works like this. While I’m in the elevator, am I concerned about the other people in there enough to look up from my phone and say hello? How unloving am I when I don’t even choose to look up and acknowledge the people I share an elevator with for 30 seconds? Maybe you’re thinking it’s not a big deal, but for me it reveals a self-centeredness that places value on myself over others.

As I’ve tried to change this, I was shocked when I asked “How is your day going?” and my elevator mate responded “Really terribly actually.” We only talked briefly, but I thought, “How many people have been having miserable days and I’ve only been concerned about my email or what these people think of me?” It was terribly convicting.

The Cashier Clerk Gauge

This involves my heart and attitude at the checkout line in a grocery store or anywhere that I’m being served. If I’ve left the grocery store or restaurant or wherever, do I even remember the name of the person serving me or did I act like they owed me service without gratitude? I too often get caught up in my own schedule and needs that I treat people as robots instead of as potential friends. For me, this gauge shows me if I’m walking in faith in Jesus or walking in belief that I’m better than others. In truth, I hate this gauge, but man I need it as a good continual reminder that Christ loved and loves me whether I give Him great service or terrible service.

The Celebration Gauge

This gauge evaluates whether I really am excited for the successes of others or if envy and jealousy reigns underneath. When I see my friends or co-workers rewarded, do I celebrate with them or secretly wish it was me or worse, complain that they don’t deserve it. If I’m really walking daily in my faith in Jesus Christ, I find myself caring more for the success of others than myself. I desire for them to achieve their dreams and be able to toast their success. If I can’t celebrate with them, it shows me I don’t really love them.

The Grieving Gauge

This gauge tends to deal with how deeply you or I love someone. Most of us will be sad when bad things happen to people, but will we sacrifice things in our lives to grieve alongside them? In the gospel, we see Jesus Christ who suffers so that He can comfort those who suffer. If I believe that Christ suffered for me and that I am to follow His example, the results should be the freedom to cry and mourn with those who hurt, to try and put myself in their shoes as best I can and whether I can or not, to be sad simply because I care about them so much. Grieving with someone is a different level of love and caring for them. As Christians, we should be the first to grieve with any and all who hurt.

What about you?

These are just instances lately that have served as gauges for my love for people in general. The verse in Galatians has really forced me to consider whether my faith is manifesting itself through love or if I have sunk into a cognitive understanding of belief that doesn’t produce the actions of Jesus Christ.

I’m glad the elevator gauge and cashier clerk gauge happen so often because they serve so well as clear reminders of my need to depend of Christ through prayer and reading the bible so that I think and act differently, so that I truly let my faith work itself out in love.

Do you have similar gauges or situations that show you whether you are loving people? Occurrences that force you to evaluate your faith?

Leave a comment

Filed under Church Life, Lessons in Evangelism, Life

Moving on from College Ministry

Last night was my last college ministry meeting at the Stone. College Ministry started for Amber and I by leading a community group bible study in our small Hyde Park house we rented after getting married. The summer of ’05, I met with Michael Powell to convince him I wasn’t a heretic and to let Amber and I lead a group. It started with 9 people that first night and ended 2 years later with some of the greatest memories and friends we’ve ever had.

A year after we started our group, Kevin Peck asked Todd Engstrom, Travis Wussow, & I to organize and lead the college ministry. I can never thank Kevin enough for investing in me and providing me with this opportunity to lead with my friends. It’s been an amazing experience.

We’ve known for a while that this was likely our last year in college ministry and it makes it easier knowing that the college ministry is going to better than before with Tyler David, Sarah Decker, Eric Klein, Tammie Beassie and a whole host of interns, coaches, and missional community leaders running it next year.

Last night I shared what I’ve learned over 5 years or at least tried to summarize it in 4 nice bullet points.

You never move on from the gospel, you only move deeper into it. As Christians, we believe what saves us is faith in Jesus Christ’s death for our sins and resurrection from the grave 3 days later. For much of church life, I thought there were deeper and more interesting things than that, but how do you move on from the new like that? It’s truly tremendous to think of God becoming man, living perfectly, dying in my place, and accomplishing victory though resurrection that I never could. All through the letters in the Bible, Paul and other writers are constantly reminding people that what saves them (the gospel) is also what will transform them and instruct them in life. It’s never something you move past, it’s only something you grow in understanding of.

Ministry success or failure does not define me. The past 5 years have involved failures, some success, and more failures. It resulted in some ups and downs in my life and the unfortunately reality at times is that I came to view myself in light of those successes or failures. What I’ve learned is my identity is not based on my success or failure, but based on the gospel, being saved by Christ’s work and being seen as a child of God. As a parent, I know I love my sons not because they do great things for me, but because they are my sons. For Christians, God views us as His children and He is constantly delighted in us thanks to Jesus. Do I disappoint Him at times? Surely, but He never stops loving me. I’m His son.

Ministry isn’t as complicated as we try to make it. You’ve probably seen churches everywhere use trendy and relevant gimmicks or programs to get people to listen to their message. I feel like it’s overcomplicating a simple reality. In 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 8, Paul writes to Christians that “having so fond an affection for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.” Over the last 5 years, Amber & I have seen people influenced and changed by this truth, that when we offered them our lives, carrying about them through prayer and teaching the bible, having them in our home, God used it to transform people.

Ministry comes down to evangelism (proclaiming the gospel in word and deed) and discipleship (sharing your life and doctrine with people by walking through life with them).  Breaking it down further, I’d say it simplifies to prayer, understanding the bible, gospel-centered community, and being on mission together.

Lastly, I shared that there is no greater joy than doing ministry with friends. At our church we talk about missional community which is a groups of Christians actively proclaiming the gospel through evangelism and serving their community. I’ve had the opportunity to live that out with people who care about me and my family more than my contributions to ministry. They’ve reminded me of the gospel by caring about us and reminding us of and teaching us the truth of the bible.

So thank you to everyone we had the opportunity to serve with in college ministry. The list of names is too long to type here.

What’s Next?

A lot of people have been asking what we are going to do next as far as ministry. The truth is we don’t really know. We have been praying that God would show us what to do next and we will continue to do so. We do know we have a great neighborhood and great neighbors that we want to spend more time with and share our lives with as well. So we will definitely start there.

5 Comments

Filed under Church Life, college ministry, Lessons in Evangelism, Life

Pastors, do you really want lay leaders?

Last week I looked at how Christians can bless their pastor by living out the mission of the church at home, at work, and in service to the church. As I mentioned last week, I’ve never heard a pastor complain about someone desiring to be bi-vocational. To be faithful at their job, while also faithfully serving and assisting in accomplishing the mission of the church.

As I thought through those blogs, I also started thinking through whether ministries are structured and prepared for an influx of volunteers if, like I intended, people magically stumbled upon my blog and they were divinely enlightened to life-changing truth.

While I know many pastors who would love to have more volunteers, there are times it seems ministries aren’t planned or structured in the necessary way to accommodate various commitment levels.

How can pastors help volunteers & lay leaders get more involved? Here are 8 ways I think will help.

1. Affirm the bi-vocational mindset. Be the voice for the priesthood of all believers on a Sunday and beyond. It’s easy for the average church-goer to attend a Sunday service and not see a need because most churches are organized and planned for Sundays.

We need to be reminded and hear that our calling is to be the priesthood throughout the week in addition to helping on Sundays. And I don’t mean mere lip-service of voicing your belief in the scripture that affirms it, I mean backing it up by providing bi-vocational leaders an opportunity for high-level leadership if the Lord has gifted them and equipped them to do so.

Putting a bi-vocational leader in those positions will be the most effective way to convince volunteers that you truly do affirm this calling.

2. Understand the limitations. A bi-vocational leader spends 40 hours a week on something other than ministry. Understand that they may only be able to give 5 hours, but value those 5 hours. Even though there are limitations, don’t shy away from trusting people with responsibility. Consistently ask how they are doing and if they feel overwhelmed.

The limitations actually force you to raise up more lay leaders as opposed to hiring more staff.

3. Plan further ahead than you think. Things take longer when you choose to use bi-vocational leaders. If you haven’t planned for that, you’ll only be frustrated with us and our lack of speed. Most leaders want to be shown that a plan is in place to utilize them and provide them opportunities to contribute.

This will also help you answer all the questions that business minded volunteers typically ask.

4. Delegate and let people learn. It won’t be as “perfect” as you do it the first time, but eventually it will be what you need. You’ll never develop anyone if you do all the work.

5.  Explore various volunteer opportunities

Create Project Specific or Seasonal teams.  Do you have a busy Christmas season or summer schedule? Or are you working on developing a specific ministry for social justice or missions? You could create a team for each specific project or season that is able to work on things long-term allowing you to provide oversight and direction rather than building it all yourself.

Distinguish between short-term & ongoing commitments. Providing a short-term, a few hour commitments allow people to explore your ministry to get a better picture of what you really do. It’s a great entry point for people wanting to get involved.

The ongoing, long-term projects or commitments reveal you’d like them to focus deeply on one ministry instead of spreading themselves thin across 4 commitments.

6. Have a Leadership Path. This is something we just put together for college ministry, but it clearly showed the potential for growth and development within our ministry. Our leaders really responded well to that because it showed them they could commit long-term and wouldn’t have to move to another ministry for deeper responsibilities.

7. Identify training needs and provide ongoing development. What are the essentials theologically and practical needs for leading in your ministry? What are the most effective way to train people in knowledge and abilities necessary for your ministry? Can you get them up to speed within a month?

8. Ask. Personally invite them to be a part of your ministry. The announcement from stage on a Sunday can get people to sign-up, but a personal invitation often leads to greater commitment. And you’ll be surprised to find that many are waiting if only you’d ask.

Pastors, if you’re tired of being overworked, overextended, and making way too many family sacrifices, the long-term sustainable solution is to develop lay leaders and provide them real opportunities to bless you and the church in their service.

2 Comments

Filed under bless your pastor, Church Life

Wrestle with and embrace your pastor’s vision

Continuing my thoughts on ways to Bless your pastor.

In my mind today’s post is likely the most important and best way to bless your pastor. The last 2 have been focused on making sure your priorities are straight. Home must be where you expend your energy and effort first and then God has specifically placed you for excellence at your job next, but Christians cannot hide behind either home or their job as an excuse for not investing in a local body of Christ, a local church.

We are called to faithfully participate in the mission of God and that is primarily seen through being a part of a local body. The only way to effectively get involved is by wrestling with and embracing your pastor’s vision.

From my own experience…

When our community pastor first unfolded a vision for shifting community groups to missional communities, I hated it and I pushed back. “We had spent 2 years in our community group and seen God do amazing things, why would I change?” was my thinking. I then had to decide whether I was going to be a dissenting voice among the congregation or seek to understand my pastor and the vision he had spent months discussing, debating, and praying through. I chose the latter and I am grateful for it. Here’s what I learned through the process.

1. I worship my own mind and thinking. I don’t need success to think that I’m right, but if I see even a little measure of success it creates in me a prideful mindset that declares that I’m the ONE that has it figured out and all should follow. It’s silly. I had to repent and try my best to actually BE humble instead of just look it.

2. There’s a reason he’s the pastor and I am not. If God wanted me to be the one laying out the vision and training others to accomplish it, He’s certainly powerful enough to put me in that situation, but He hasn’t. Will I form a mutiny against the man God has called to lead me or will I trust the Lord and follow him?

3. I have to ask a lot of questions and process semantic and philosophical differences. If you’re ever going to understand your pastor, ask a lot of questions. Also, your pastor is more willing to answer your questions if they know you are trying to be on board with their vision. They won’t know this by you saying it, they will know this by you serving in their church. There’s usually a plethora of service opportunities at a church (i.e. welcome team, usher, communion/tithe person, volunteer in the childcare).

Sometimes your differences are merely semantic or word-choice differences that we have each tied extended meaning to and we have to spend time processing so that our semantic differences don’t cause unnecessary strife.

4. My pastor is more open to my suggestions if I seek to understand him first. I’m no stranger to offering advice, I mean, hello I write on a blog…but I learned that until I had a pretty good understanding of my pastor’s vision and strategy, I wasn’t really able to offer any decent advice and he wasn’t really interested in hearing it. It was because the advice was uninformed and as it became more informed, my voice carried more weight.

5. There is freedom in submitting to your pastor’s vision and seeking to accomplish it. When you stop trying to create your own way that may or may not be against the pastor’s tide of thinking, there grows a freedom inside of you to just pursue accomplishing the mission. You are no longer bogged down by bitterness & frustration, you’re free to live out a godly vision. It’s refreshing.

How does this bless your pastor?

It affirms God’s call on their lives. Expressing your trust by seeking to understand them and accomplish it verifies the vision God has given them and encourages them to pursue it with more passion.

Increase their joy in fulfilling their vision. I’ve never met a pastor unwilling to discuss, expound, or repeat his vision for the church. It’s their calling and it brings them joy. That joy is increased when people back that vision.

The vision and mission actually start getting accomplished. A house divided against itself cannot stand, nor can it make it headway in accomplishing anything. When people unite around mission, great things can be accomplished and worship of Jesus tends to increase with it. It’s more exciting than in-house debating and gives greater joy to all involved.

One Final Thought

If you can’t get behind the vision your pastor has laid out for you and your church, go somewhere else. It’s not worth the bitterness, frustration, debates, and time wasted in your life and your pastor’s life. If you’ve tried to get a good understanding and still can’t get behind it, it’s obviously time to move on.

Any additional thoughts from my pastor friends or fellow volunteers at churches? Any comments or questions?

2 Comments

Filed under bless your pastor, Church Life

Bless your pastor with your work

Continuing my thoughts on ways to bless your pastor. Other blogs here and here.

Your pastor is unable to be an engineer, a business consultant, a teacher, a stay-at-home parent, and all the other jobs that happen in your city. He can do his best on a Sunday to reach those various vocations, but his calling is to invest his time in establishing, leading, and building the church. You and I can bless our pastor by taking the gospel message of Jesus Christ, that “He died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that on the third day He rose again according to the scripture” as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:3, to all our workplaces to assist in building a church for Jesus in your city.

How can you be both excellent at your job AND care for your co-workers?

Go to work as a bi-vocational missionary

A biblical view of a Christian’s life can seem like they are in tension since they are called to be minister of the gospel while also being excellent at the “secular” job God has equipped them for and placed them in. It seems to me that employees are typically either excellent at getting things done OR excellent at being friends with co-workers, but the question is why can’t you be both? What would have to change for you to be a missionary at work in a way that blesses your pastor at your church?

1. View Jesus as Your Boss – Colossians 3:23-24 instructs Christians to work as if we are doing it for the Lord and not for man. You now have a boss that demands excellence, but is gracious in your failures, One who rejoices over you and delights in your efforts, someone who is a delight to work for because you are always valued in their eyes, always worth the sacrifice they make for you in their job as boss.

Now this might force you to deal with how you view God. Do you view him as a tyrant, angry with your failures? Because in Christ, He no longer condemns and His love never fails. Do you view God as someone who graciously lets you be lazy and sinful? Because in Christ, His spirit indwells you to fulfill all His commands.

He both delights in you despite your failures and equips you for the excellence He demands. That’s a pretty awesome boss.

2. Plan time for co-workers – If you’re a workaholic, focused on achieving the immediate task, you’ll either be annoyed that your co-workers talk so much or ignore them for the sake of your work.  You may have to come in early or take work home, but plan to just take time to care about your cube-mate. Ask them about their life more than your anxious to share about your own. And treat everyone from the receptionist to your boss with the same care and respect. That should be obvious, but I’ve noticed it isn’t and everyone else notices as well. Jesus seemed to care more about the least important than the most important, but for some reason we flip it.

2a. Remember when you received the gospel – The bible says we were helpless enemies of God when we received the gospel. If this is true, no co-worker should be “too annoying” or “too rude” to be cared about and the gospel asks us to love others as we have been loved.

3. Take a Sabbath – To make it obvious to others and to guard yourself against working defining your life, plan a day of rest away from work, your work phone, and your email. This shows your identity is found in God’s work and not your own.

4. Prioritize serving the church – If you have a commitment to the church that takes you away from work for an evening or a long lunch, plan to make it consistent and communicate with your boss why you do it. I’ve found the church involvement has helped me at work and work has helped be an effective leader at church. They are not at odds with one another.

And bring your mentality for excellence at work into your ministry at the church. It’s definitely needed.

How will this bless your pastor?

By helping them accomplish God’s mission – As I mentioned at the start, your pastor isn’t a superhero who can do every job in your city and build the church, bless him by partnering for expansion of the gospel.

Displaying for the church that a bi-vocational life can be done – Because we’re all cynical we can sometimes think the pastor doesn’t understand what we go through, that we have to spend 40, 50 or 60 hours a week at a job that isn’t focused on the church. Well, if you trust the Lord’s call to be bi-vocational you lessen the cynicism within your church and can assist in equipping others like you to do the same. Less cynicism and critiques in the church will definitively bless your pastor.

Feel free to disagree or to add your thoughts and comments or add to something I may have missed.

4 Comments

Filed under bless your pastor, Church Life, Life

Bless your pastor with your home

Last I week, I posted a blog titled “Want to bless your pastor?” and listed 4 practical ways you could do that and this week I’m hoping to expand on each of those 4 practical ways. The 4 ways I listed (obviously not comprehensive) were 1) Treat your home as a mini-church, 2) Go to work as a missionary, 3) Wrestle with and Embrace your pastor’s vision, 4) Humbly submit to serve in their ministry.

My hope is to provide practical advice on how to accomplish them and also how it can bless your pastor and your church.

Treat Your Home as a Mini-Church

Christian culture has centered itself around a Sunday gathering for centuries and somewhere along the way we began compartmentalizing our Christian lives by making Sunday really special, the only place where worship occurs, even utilizing at as THE ONE place of learning from the Bible through listening to a sermon.

This has resulted in the hypocritical living Christianity has grown to be known by in the world. That we love to look good on a Sunday, but don’t enjoy living it out Monday thru Saturday. Jesus and the scriptures clearly taught an entire way of life centered and ordered around faith lived out through love and obedience, but the question is how can this really be lived out if we’re only being spiritual for 2-3 hours on a Sunday or 30-minute at the drive thru church in Waco…

I believe the answer is transforming our home into a mini-church. A place where worship, living in the community of fellow believers, learning from the Word of God, prayer, and welcoming those who don’t believe that same things as you occur regularly.  When Paul writes to Timothy he says only choose leaders who can lead their families as a mini-church well to lead the larger church (1 Timothy 3). It seems our home-life is the primary indicator of how well we are truly believing the gospel and faithfully obeying it.

Our home is where we spend most of our week, but it is often the place where we are laziest and most selfish. It becomes a retreat from the world into our own pleasures instead of a place where the gospel can be clearly lived out.

So what are the things we enjoy about a Sunday and how can they be brought into our mini-church?

1.       Worship thru song and prayer – Every church you go to spends at least half the time singing and songs tend to be a great expression of our thoughts, prayers, and emotions toward God. They don’t have to be left at church, as anyone with a CD player, DVD player, computer or iPod/iPhone can listen to the music at their home. Maybe instead of the TV being on 24/7 you let your house be filled with worship music and if you’re really crazy you can sing along…

What about prayer? Is prayer something that only occurs at meals? You can set aside specific times and topics to pray for by developing a prayer calendar. Sometimes a little planning is all it takes to transform your home into a church.

Sidenote: If you have kids, learn from the kid’s ministry at your church. Let worship be fun with motions and dancing, read your kids stories at mealtime, and let them see your spiritual life.

2.       Living in Community with Believers – One of my favorite aspects of church is seeing fellow believers who I love and have become my family, but why wait until Sunday? Everyone eats dinner, so why not invite your fellow believers into your meal times and let your home and dinner table become a place of meaningful conversation over the meaning of a passage of scripture, over the joys and sorrows of life, and simply enjoying each other’s companies.

We have a group that meets each week at our home and we eat dinner together.  It’s some of the sweetest times in our weeks as we catch up, debate and discuss the meanings of scripture and learn from each other. I love it and it helps me to believe in Jesus and live for Him.

This can also be a time where communion can be taken together as a family of faith (obviously my Catholic friends would disagree, but that’s a whole other discussion for another day).

3.       Welcoming people of other or no faith – For too long, Christians have viewed a Sunday service as the place where missions happens, but when you bring someone who believes differently from you to church you have to convert them twice. Once to Christianity and then once to your church’s style. And besides, this only gives you one chance a week to explain Christianity to someone. It’s incredibly difficult for someone to comprehend an entire belief system in 3 hours.

Your home is better than a church since it can be a more welcoming and open environment to make friends with your neighbors and anyone who doesn’t believe as you do. Again, everyone eats so why not invite your neighbors into a meal and let them into your life and discuss the same things with them as you would with believers.

How will this bless your pastor?

Removing Undue Burden – When we view Sunday as our primary means of spiritual activity, we put undue burden on our pastors by relying on them for our spiritual lives. We then have the tendency to become dependent on the pastor’s spiritual life rather than on Jesus and the bible.  They have been tasked with equipping us for ministry, but often we just ask them to DO ministry to and for us on a Sunday.

Partnering Gives Them Joy – If our homes were mini-churches, we would bless them by reducing undue burden, but also by giving them joy as we partner with them for the mission of Jesus and the church to each other and the world.

What else have you done to help your home become a mini-church? How else do you think this blesses your pastor?

3 Comments

Filed under bless your pastor, Church Life, Life