Unforced Rhythms of Grace
Technically, I am on a month’s renewal leave before I jump into the house church network, but in my excitement, I have been doing just a bit of work on it. The last couple days this has centered on a Facebook page for the network. This page would be a way for folks to see how the network is developing, for those in the network to stay in touch, for those who are wondering, what is this again?
Putting together this page is challenging—I struggle with how to explain this while it is still in process of developing & taking shape. But, a couple days ago, something became very clear; that is, the Bible verses that are guiding the shape of things.
The verses are from Matthew 11, The Message version:
28 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 29 Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30 Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
It is from this verse that the mission of the network come:
The mission of the house church network is: Helping people live freely & lightly into the “unforced rhythm of grace” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message) found in Jesus Christ.
This comes out of what I am learning about what a house church might look like—so far this is what I have learned from books, conversations and conferences:
(my notes:) What a house church looks like:
Common elements (based on NT): meal, “love feast” (not communion but use of ritual), scripture, prayer, community (“family”), offering for those in need…
But there would be differences in each church, depending on the group, for example….
+Artists gather and do art around a scripture and then take art supplies to a local park to share with children playing.
+Musicians play worship music together and study scripture and pray for one another, serving a friend who is ill and unable to work.
+Parents with preschoolers meet quarterly for Messy Church. They receive resources to use nightly with their children at home.
+A group with parents and preteens gathers to talk about “where they experience the spirit.” Out of that comes ideas including in family meals, in nature, in music and weekly gatherings are designed around these themes.
+A group of folks gather and watch a “traditional sermon” on video, discuss, pray for one another and eat a meal. Later that week, they meet at the home of a single mom and clean her home for free.
+multigenerational group meets for dinner having set a theme the week before for worship (including text, which each member is responsible for studying), following dinner they share, sing and pray together.
+a group of junior college students gather to pray for one another, make sandwiches for the homeless in the park and do bible study and prayer with those who come to eat.
This feels very much like the “unforced rhythm of grace” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message) found in Jesus Christ—and it gives me lots to think on as I continue to “renew.”