This Sunday the whole Christian world might be celebrating house church. This could be the first time for many so I would like to give some logistical advice. I think the best way to start is to discuss the children. Jesus said, let the little children come and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
How wonderful the verse sounds until you have been cleaning messes, changing diapers or “simply” feeding the multitudes of the house all week and you need a serious deserved break that doesn’t seem to come. For these parents Sunday school at church is a great resource. Some might have taken it for granted in the past, we just don’t think about these things that are so normal in our western church experience, but we will remember it this Sunday. I can almost see the grin of fun that comes from our brothers and sisters who, because different reasons, have met as a house church for some time already.
So as we dive into house church with the kids this Sunday, the main issue to consider is our expectations. What is church supposed to look like?
Life as a believer always boils down to discipleship. What biblical truths did we learn about the Church that we are passing on to others? I think that in order to make a success story of our future church experience, starting this Sunday, especially in regards to the children, we will need considering that FORM is not the essence of the Church. Christ is the essence of the Church.
If we try to replicate the usual “big church” Sunday service at home we might be very, very, very busy and maybe even frustrated. For example, most of us could not replicate the music and lights experience or the childcare so that the adults sit to listen to the 45 minute sermon in silence unless we send the kids away to play or watch TV during the house church service. Jesus said, don’t stop them, let them come. And you may say, “that is because he wasn’t married and in quarantine with them!” Well, don’t forget that He is the Lord, God, he created marriage and created the concept of family. Trust me, he knows.
So, this might sound harsh; but, for the people out there who love to have the kids be perfectly organized and solemn when there is a church service, I have news for you: You might want to change your expectations. The thing about the house church is that it is very real. Everyone knows everything about each other in the house. There is no way to put a mask on in the house church, where as outside when our kids or spouse are not around or not allowed to speak freely, some people some times tend to be tempted to not be totally transparent when they go to church. So what are some things we can be focusing on and what are some things we shouldn’t be worried about. Here is a list.
House Church Sunday service:
Focus on :
- The blessing of being together as family and being the Church.
- Focus on God.
- Focus on Praise, prayer and the word.
- Praise can mean thankfulness. Sometimes sang and sometimes not.
- Prayer can mean intercession for many in need or specific family members.
- The Word can mean listening to the pastor online, radio or TV program, or simply opening the Bible as a family to discovering what it has to say and obey.
Don’t worry about :
- How good you sound when singing.
- The kids being quiet for two hours.
- Chores of the house, they will be done earlier or later.
- Cooking lunch. You are saving the drive. You will have time.
- Kids being noisy. Don’t send the kids away, but if they are small and they wonder off, don’t worry. Remember it is your house, they wont get lost.
- Don’t worry about the kids having the right answers, praise God if they listen and say something even if it is “wrong” or “off”, let them process the hearing of the word. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
- Don’t focus on the kids, focus on the Lord.
- If you have neighbors or friends there too, don’t focus on them either, focus on the Lord. Oh Martha, Martha, choose the best thing! And don’t don’t worry about the rest.
If you do consider a DBS – Discovery Bible Study for the time in the Word, here is what I would do:
I would read the passage and then ask each who knows reading to read it at loud again. Then have some or all re-tell the reading in their own words. I would ask four questions about the passage :
What does this passage say about God?
What does this passage say about us?
Is there some promise we can believe?
Is there something we should obey?
I would allow for as many answers or ideas focused on the passage to be given and I would remember that some of my kids need to be asked directly to get them to say something.
I would end this time in the Word by asking who would we tell this to if we had a chance to?
The kids might like the structure and if you follow it every time, they will know what to expect for house church. Jesus did not receive the kids and then just told a cute little story, no! He blessed them, he probably loved on them and then he kept teaching. The kids probably just stayed and if they were little they probably just slept or cried or they played or simply left. But I am almost sure that some of the older kids listened, believed, obeyed and shared with others.
Don’t forget that house church is not only for the kids. The experience is for all in the house. Jesus did have a very important lesson in this passage of Mathew 19. The kingdom of God is for those who like are like children; not just cute and innocent but as we consider the the worldview of the first century this meant ignored, invaluable, pushed around, rejected like the disciples did when the kids came to Jesus. Don’t take it wrong, kids were loved but what Jesus did in receiving them was counter cultural in those days. For us today it might be hard to understand fully since children seem to have taken the center stage in life for the western world.
What are your expectations of House Church?
I know what Christ expectation of His Church are: to make disciples of all nations.
Because He lives,