The joy of meeting together with other members of the body of Christ in a home setting is always refreshing and encouraging for me. I had the opportunity during my short stay in California on vacation to meet some new believers in their home. They are friends of another couple that I have known for a number of years now. I left the institutional church about 3 years ago. I have chosen to seek out fellowship in a more organic expression. I found it in home fellowship. In this gathering there was no agenda, no leader, and no Bible study. These elements are typical for a small group setting in many institutional churches.
But, in an organic expression of Church in a home setting is very different. Each person is allowed and encouraged to share what the Lord Jesus is teaching them. Each person is given the freedom to use their spiritual gifts with the rest of the group. Instead of a single individual or a select group of individuals only allowed to speak, in an organic church all can speak. We all shared what Christ was doing in teaching and doing in our lives. We met for over 3 hours and we didn’t even want to look at our watches to see if we were close to ending. I can recall many times in the institutional church service where I couldn’t wait for it to end. I was simply bored with this kind of gathering.
This is a very unique and different way of believers meeting together. This is the pattern laid out for fellowship and the gathering of believers in the New Testament. Yet, over the past 1500 years or so we have taken our western viewpoint of the New Testament over first looking at how these gatherings happened at the time it was written. The early church met in homes not in buildings. The early church didn’t have paid clergy. In fact, there was no distinction between leaders and regular believers. The early church also had no Bible to study. Most believers were illiterate in the first century. When they met together they shared Christ and what he was teaching them. There were no printing presses until the 16th century. Most house churches probably didn’t even have a single scroll of any Old Testament writings either.
Yet, in the western church today, we have become so Bible dependent that we have lost the simple joy of sharing Christ with one another each time we meet as believers. If you went to your church service over the weekend and the pastor said there is no sermon today, what would you and others do at the worship service? Could you simply talk about the Lord Jesus Christ the entire 90 minutes with one another? I could write further on this subject, but I will end this post here. I will however continue this topic in future posts.