I love to keep my life simple and free of unnecessary complications. This is most true of my “inner life.” To use the analogy of a hidden garden, I prefer a few bright, healthy flowering plants to a tangled jungle of rainforest proportions. My inner garden is small and humble, but it’s the safe and refreshing place that I meet with Jesus every morning.
I also love to serve our simple, straightforward church; not many fancy embellishments or long lists of programs. Just the basics of loving God and people. Our building even looks like two simple shoeboxes set on their sides. But, to the loving family of Centerpoint, this place is our “stucco cathedral;” home base for family ministry and outreach.
There are only a few biblical mandates for the local church: teaching biblical doctrine and application, discipleship, fellowship, outreach, care-giving, prayer, and service. These need to be practiced regularly by the New Testament church. But, if this requires multiple full-time staff or heavily detailed administration, I’m dead before I begin – simple, remember?
But, these mandates do not necessitate heavy administration. Simply stated, these mandates only require the people of God to live life in Christian community which is God’s solution for the American plague of loneliness. Simply people loving people, and by this all men will know that Jesus is the Christ (John 13:35).
So, two years ago, the elders of Centerpoint began a simple strategy of joining together in one another’s homes each week to fulfill these biblical mandates. We call these gatherings “Home Fellowships.” Jesus has been our presiding Leader, and the Holy Spirit is empowering folks to grow in spiritual depth and love, knowledge and application of God’s word, and ministering to one another, especially the new believers among us. All the purposes of the local church, wrapped up in the love and fun of family home groups.
Enjoy reading the following reports of the fruit born in our Home Fellowships:
Dave and Bobbie Reeves, who lead our Monday night Home Fellowship say;
“Our Fellowship group was so complete and fit together wonderfully . . . all of them felt that they learned a lot, . . . they all agreed that we were so loving and honest with each other that they didn’t hesitate to talk about anything in their lives. (We) felt very comfortable with each other.”
And, Louis Mann, who helps co-lead one of our Thursday night groups, said;
“From my perspective, our group developed a greater love and appreciation for each other. Keeping up with the needs of each of the members of our small group helped to deepen the personal relationships, but sharing together in prayer for the needs of others within the body helped us to encourage one another to be aware of the greater needs of the membership. The time spent in the Word, reviewing the scripture from the sermon, helped us to think more deeply about the principles set forth on Sunday morning and challenged us not to ‘forget’ the practicality of the message. The group session also helps to keep everyone focused upon the point of the sermon series – It’s all about Jesus.”
Dr. Paul and Martha Brandt lead our (crazy) Wednesday Home Fellowship, and share this joyous report;
“Paul and I . . . have witnessed God creating a crazy, loving family of twelve folks from our church that chose to come to our group on Wednesday evenings. They have blessed us in so many ways! We have prayed for each other’s families, comforted and encouraged each other and grown to be an important part of each other’s lives. We found that each of us discovered fresh insight and inspiration while studying . . . weekly sermons and the accompanying scriptures. Our HF group provided the perfect setting for sharing these things and learning to go deeper in our study of God’s word. (We) developed deep – and occasionally pretty zany – relationships that I am confident will last forever.”
And last, but not least, Bob and Janette File share this testimony about their Friday night Home Fellowship;
“We started our group as polar opposites and quickly progressed to feeling more comfortable and opening up to one another. Each week we would “let down our hair” just a little bit more. What a joy to make new friends on a more intimate level. As we grew more accustomed to being together, laughter began to flow and honesty concerning personal and family issues became the norm. The best part of our time together was the prayer we shared for each other’s needs.”
Make plans to join a Home Fellowship for the fall semester. Our next round of groups will begin the week of September 12. Pray about hosting a group. Or, if you’d like to facilitate a group, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to begin our next semester with three or four new groups!
Life with Jesus and His church just keeps getting better!