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The Church of Only What is Needed? PART 2

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The Church of Only What is Needed?  PART 2

Please read The Church of Only What is Needed? before reading this post as they are deeply tied together.

  • In such an environment, what would and could you use to have a church service of some kind?
    • I would obviously focus on small groups with only trusted and safe. 
    • Probably would be whole families which deepens the spiritual growth experience and commitment
  • What would it look like?
    • The groups would be discussion based on the scripture and may or may not include singing as worship and prayer (if safe to do – apartments & condos etc.) 
      • Bibles would not be brought to the group.  Attendees would write down just the verse for that week and bring it with them
        • safer – traveling they don’t carry bibles just a sheet of paper.  Single sheets are easier to hide if authorities come.  If caught the Bibles are still safe
        • Writing down the passage will be better for studying and remembering the passage.  If Bibles were taken by the authorities the people will remember more details about the scripture.
    • A focus on taking care of one another as community must be instilled in the group from the start.  Can be as simple as asking a couple of questions:
      • What has happened as a result of the changes you have made in your life from what you learned?
      • Do you have any needs or problems you want to share with the group?
      • Can any of us in the group help any of the others with their needs?
  • Where would you have it?
    • The groups would meet at a different home each week (which would keep it less obvious and also allows participants to share the hosting duties.
  • Who would lead it?
    • There would be no actual leader there can be a facilitator each week to create a structure (By not having an actual leader the loss of a leader cannot have the effect of killing the process)
    • The absence of the need for a leader means the process is based on a group of equals seeking God and the Holy Spirit has to completely be the leader.  (reliance on God is by design more important than human leadership)
  • What would you bring?
    • The written scripture is the only thing that participants would have to bring.  They may bring food & drinks etc.
  • Then comes the big question so many Christian’s find most important (which in this context seems a bit secondary at best): How do you ensure there is no heresy?
    • The focus of all studies has to be obedience to what is in the scriptures.  Every study has to end with a question like:  “What do you need to do differently because of what we learned in this study.”
    • The group has to be taught to confront any instance of somebody mentioning something or trying to add something to a study that is not in that particular passage.  The lifestyle of the group has to grow to the point of asking similar questions about everything any participant or the group as a whole does.
  • How do you ensure the way you have the church is Biblical?
    • As everything is based on the scriptures and more specifically obedience to the scriptures the group would be completely Bible based and would base any changes on revelation from the Bible.
  • How do you “Go forth and make disciples” or spread the Gospel?
    • The spreading of the gospel will be done through relationship.  Family and friends who are interested or want to participate will be organized into new groups to do the same kind of studies and fellowship (by being a new group there is no information on other groups etc. for spies and also the new believers will have their own growth and reliance on the Holy Spirit)
  • How do you keep the church members as safe as possible?
    • The previously mentioned safety measures and the fact that group members do not have information on the other groups to begin with, keeps the danger to all the groups at a minimum.  (if one group gets broken up or were to drift into heresy etc. the other groups will not be affected)

Acts 2:42-47 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)  –  42The disciples were devoted to the teachings of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. 43A feeling of fear came over everyone as many amazing things and miraculous signs happened through the apostles. 44All the believers kept meeting together, and they shared everything with each other. 45From time to time, they sold their property and other possessions and distributed the money to anyone who needed it. 46The believers had a single purpose and went to the temple every day. They were joyful and humble as they ate at each other’s homes and shared their food. 47At the same time, they praised God and had the good will of all the people. Every day the Lord saved people, and they were added to the group.

The model I have come up with her fits into both the house church model and would work well along side our more traditional western church model.  A model like this would work in our context and helps us get to a bare minimum for church.

So let’s look at what I have found in my model to be the bare minimum for Christian fellowship.

  1. People meeting together
  2. Scripture
  3. Guidance from the Holy Spirit
  4. Obedience to God and the scriptures
  5. Caring about and for one another
  6. Simple facilitation that probably rotates (simple guidelines maintained normally by the group but ensured by that week’s facilitator)

Matthew 28:18-20 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)  –  18When Jesus came near, he spoke to them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 20Teach them to do everything I have commanded you.  “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”

John 13:34-35 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)  –  34“I’m giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you. 35Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other.”

Hebrews 10:24-25 New International Version (NIV)  –  24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Everything else that is included in many of the church models I am familiar with and the one I attend is not evil.  The problem is that these things are not necessary to have true Christian fellowship as demonstrated in the Bible. 

These kind of simple fellowships based on study of the Bible as equals, caring for and about one another, obedience, and accountability to stay within what is found in the scriptures is the model that we actually see in the Bible.  The New Testament church never really looks like the western churches we have built when you look in the Bible.  That does not mean that the western church is somehow evil etc. it is simply just not mentioned as good or bad.  But the model here is based on what is seen in the scriptures.

Our version of the church could have this also (as the church in Jerusalem where the members met in houses and at the temple) or as the gentile churches of the New Testament where there would have been no visits to the temple just house churches with no available highly educated leaders (church planters like Paul etc. would get the first believers started, teach them as much as they could and leave). 

The New Testament church model allows for a model with a large congregation with small group components as a major focus as well as for small groups as the church without any large group meetings of that kind.  The one focus seems to be that the key to the examples we have in the New Testament is that the small group component is the part of the structure that is not optional.

I suppose that “The Church of Only What is Needed?” would have to be the small group very similar to the model I came up with.  There would be little need for money and other resources and it would build fellowship and obedience based discipleship for all participants.  Reliance on God and accountability to the Holy Spirit would be focuses and the trusted insurance against heresy.  The absence of human leadership in the sense that we are used to means that only God would get the glory and God would be the one ultimately looked to for all guidance.

The “The Church of Only What is Needed?” would only need people, Bibles, a heart for obedience and some simple guidelines.  God’s faithfulness and love would be the guiding light for all else.

This is just some food for thought on this topic on the church models and need for professionally trained pastors.  What are your thoughts?

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3 Comments

  1. […] The Church of Only What is Needed? PART 2 (seaofgalilee.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] The Church of Only What is Needed? PART 2 (seaofgalilee.wordpress.com) […]

  3. […] of these basic premises as mentioned in previous posts (ex., The Church of Only What is Needed?, The Church of Only What is Needed? PART 2, Thoughts on the “Emerging Church” Debate), but this is another good reason to at least look at […]

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