Participating With My Wife In Simple Church

Walking through the emptiness of the house I miss her, especially on this day – Sunday. Beth is getting to spend two awesome weeks with out daughter, Kerre, who is seven months with child. The past four days the house has been pretty empty, but it is today that I seem to miss her the most.

Why? Because in a few hours I get to gather with other members of our church and share a little life together and she will not be with us.

For the first 30 years of our our marriage we would “go to church” and not talk with one another for about three hours. When we arrived I would head off to some duty near the church office and Beth would make her way to teach a children’s Sunday school class. Later you could find me getting ready to  go into the worship center and she would be warming up her voice to sing in the choir. When the service ended I was meeting and greeting everyone while she was gathering her teaching materials. Finally we got to sit together in the car on the way home to try to talk a little about what we experienced. Something similar happened on Sunday evening on again on Wednesday night.

One of the joys of simple church is the way in which we are able to participate together with our friends. Here are some of the things that mean the most to me.

  • Together, we are in the same room
  • Together, we drink a little coffee
  • Together, we participate in mutual edification with the body of Christ
  • Together, we hear the Holy Spirit speak to us and through our friends
  • Together, we see and hear what God is doing in the lives of the children
  • Together, we share the overflow in our every day lives

I love participating in our simple church with my wife and with fellow believers.When we gather today, I will miss her, but I will enjoy being with my friends.

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Pledging Ourselves To Live Worthy Lives

When our simple church gathered this week Bill brought a copy of Dr. Darrell Bock’s Studying the Historical Jesus. He wanted to share a quote by Pliny the Younger from a letter written in A.D. 110/111.

In regards to the practices of the early church Pliny wrote:

“They had been accustomed to come together on a fixed day before daylight and to sing responsively a song to Christ as God. They bound themselves with an oath—not to commit some crime—but, on the contrary, that they would not commit theft, nor robbery, nor adultery, that they would not break faith, nor refuse to return a deposit when asked for it. When they had done these things, their custom was to separate and to assemble again to partake of a meal, common yet harmless.”

Here are some things we unpacked from that quote:

  • they were accustomed to coming together on a fixed day
  • they worshiped Christ as God
  • they were accountable to one another to live godly lives
  • they participated in life together through meals

Georges Boujakly at Missional Order recently posted about Ethical Relativism and he writes:

“New converts and long time converts, researchers tells us, are not shining stars of holiness, reflecting the image and glory of Christ. Instead of being conformed to His image, being changed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18), many have adopted a willing conformity to the world.”

We get together regularly, worship Christ and eat a lot, but how good are we at holding one another accountable to live Christ-like lives?

How much of an impact would we have on society if we pledged ourselves to live lives worthy of Christ when we leave our gatherings? What would such a practice look like in our church meetings?

Grace and peace,

Terry

Related Posts:

What can a 12 year old boy bring to a church gathering? How about a trombone?

He’s in his first year of band and has only been playing the trombone for 8 months. He was practicing for a solo piece for his next band concert and his dad suggested that he play the song at one of our church meetings. He agreed.

On Sunday he brought his trombone and his dad brought some words he had put together to sing with the song. Together they presented the music and we sang along. It was a great experience.

He said that every time he plays the piece, he now thinks about the words that his dad helped him put to music. The church will do life together with this family when we go to his band concert. We will think of those words too, as we sing in our hearts.

The church was edified, the boy was encouraged, a father and son bonded. . .

What other insights do you find in this story that relates to the family of God?

Grace and Peace,

Terry

5 Questions To Ask Before Meeting With Your Church

Are you bringing anything to your church meetings other than your body? Many times we think only about receiving something for ourselves when we gather with our church or small group. But do you ever think about bringing something to share?

You can’t “one another” by yourself.

One of the hallmarks of simple church meetings should be mutual sharing. These together times are wonderful opportunities for us to practice the one another scripture passages we find in our Bibles. The term “one another” implies within itself the concept of sharing because you can’t “one another” by yourself.

Here are 5 questions to ask before you gather with your church or small group.

  1. What can I bring that will help us center on Christ’s Lordship
  2. What can I bring that will help us build up Christ’s body
  3. What can I bring that will help us participate in Christ’s mission
  4. What can I bring that will help us grow as Christ followers
  5. What can I bring that will help us extend Christ’s Kingdom

Other than a plate of brownies, what will you bring to your next church meeting?

Any thoughts or ideas?

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Small Group Communication Channels

Beth and I had the opportunity to go to her family reunion last weekend at the home of her brother. We had a great time visiting with relatives and friends although the attendance was not as large as in past years.

I was able to observe how people informally gathered into smaller groups for conversation. There were often 12 to 15 people in the living room/kitchen but I never saw a group larger than 4 engaging in conversation. After a while, a member of one of the groups would leave and join another group or the groups would disengage and new groups would assemble.

It reinforced for me that the smaller the group, the more time you can spend with other members of the group. It is also easier to participate in the conversation.

Using Ralph Neighbour’s formula in The Shepherd’s Guidebook we can calculate the following number of conversation channels:

2 People 2 Communication Channels
4 People 12 Communication Channels
8 People 56 Communication Channels
15 People 210 Communication Channels

When your cell group, small group, or simple church meets, the lines of communication are important. The larger the group becomes, the easier it is for members to be left out of the conversation. More passive members will move to the fringes and more talkative members will dominate. After 15 persons, the ability for people to know each other intimately is greatly diminished.

Comments?

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Let Us Love One Another

LetUs Love One AnotherHis young hand shot up without hesitancy and then he voiced the first scripture passage, 1 John 3:18-20. Eight year old Lucas (nine in two days) was the first to read from the printed sheet. It contained a number of verses to help us reflect on God’s love for us, our love for God and our love for others.

His brother Andrew (age 11) was right behind him reading 1 John 4:19-21. Second grader Joelle added John 3:16-17.

Fellowship with One Another

Our church met at a local retreat center where we shared a meal, played some fun games and spent some time singing. Ranging in age from 23 months to 60 years, we sat in a circle as the Spirit of God spoke to us and through us.

Beth and a few others told some stories about where they are seeing God at work. Others led the group in songs and choruses prompted from the scripture passages. Twenty-three month old Jack danced and clapped as we sang “Father We Adore You.” Joni said that she was suddenly reminded of a scripture song she learned as a young girl but couldn’t remember the tune. As soon as she finished quoting the words Dalia, Ardie, and Rebekah, were singing it. Testimonies were given about memorizing scripture songs as children. Sandi played her guitar and we worshiped as she sang from her heart.

Instructing One Another

Sitting in Tio David’s lap, four year old Johnny was learning from the example of his elder in Christ. He wanted to share a scripture. He pointed to one on the page and repeated two or three words at a time as David read the scripture . . .

The Father himself…loves you…because…you have loved me…and…have believed…that I came from God. (John 16:27)

Praying with and for One Another

To close we asked for three people to pray. Bill opened with praise for the love God has shown us and His allowing us to respond to that love. Lucas chimed in thanking God for loving us first. Our hearts joined his as he prayed the scripture passage he and his brother had read earlier. Jonathan closed with a confession for himself and all of us about our lack of being aware of opportunities to love others.

Click on last week’s post, My One Another Community, to review a partial list of scripture admonitions.

Grace and Peace,
Terry

Join the Conversation: What do you think are some of the values of participating with one another as described above?