Practical points

  • Tension between whether Sunday services are for seekers or regulars never arises in Church 14-26. Interested non-Christians are invited to a group meeting at the discretion of that group; the invitation should be confirmed by the person in whose home the group meets. People have been known to come to faith just by seeing the glory of God in Jesus Christ within such groups. If, conversely, a church 14-26 is not making converts then something is wrong.
  • Children are welcome as soon as they are old enough to understand what takes place in meetings. Paul addresses them directly in a letter designed to be read out before a congregation (Ephesians 6). They should not be pressed to attend just so that their parents can; they should want to be present as young believers. Even if they do not understand everything, children can pick up the atmosphere, the ‘scent of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 2:15).
  • A youth group drawn from across the housegroups can meet socially on a monthly basis, overseen by somebody who has been chosen wisely. Any effort dedicated to evangelising the young or any other subgroup should aim to bring more of them to hear the same presentation of the gospel as everybody else.
  • At larger gatherings with sung worship, use a mix of older hymns and modern songs, with strong tunes and words as suitable for a Christian couple on honeymoon and a believer who has just lost a spouse. Bible passages chosen to be read out at larger gatherings should be spoken with comprehension, and their speakers should read the passages out loud privately in advance from the same translation so as to identify potential stumbling points.
  • In Church 14-26, a housegroup that is failing can be dispersed among the successful groups in the same church.
  • Part III of Frank Viola’s book Finding Organic Church is a tested set of practical guidelines for meetings, especially chapter 15 (Learning How to Meet).
  • Be open to help from outside. You might have been given a vision for housechurch, but not the apostolic gifting to convert people by preaching or physical healing, or to mould them into a community of Christ. Look for people with these gifts, for God may send them.
  • In a 14-26 meeting, do not speak, even in a way specified in this Corinthians verse, if you are aware that your aim is partly to impress others, i.e., performance. You will probably recognise elements of performance in some others. Grace is needed in such situations; you probably do it yourself unawares. You are there to express and to listen to Jesus Christ.
  • In meetings, some persons will be too quiet through shyness or fear. Others will need to talk less and listen more. Mutual upbuilding and encouragement (Hebrews 10:24-25) means sharing problems (at the appropriate time), which means learning to trust the others present.
  • Fasting assists in preparation for a meeting, and group fasting assists in bonding.

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