A gracEmail subscriber writes to say that he is part of a group of believers from various denominations and nondenominations who wish to form a home-based community for Bible study, prayer, worship and outreach of various types. “Our intention is not to provide a substitute for existing congregations,” he explains, “but we will let the needs of the group shape the direction of development. Any suggestions or warnings?”
* * *
In 1975, Sara Faye and I found ourselves in a similar situation in Athens, Alabama, when we began an open-invitation Tuesday evening mutual edification meeting at our home, for anyone who wished to seek a deeper spiritual life. An interdenominational, interracial group of about 20 persons soon bonded. The following year we formed a little, nondenominational church, through which God blessed many even then, and planted seeds that bore fruit 20 years later. I tell the wonderful story in more detail in The Sound of His Voice.
Structure and details are up to those involved. Be diligent and sincere in prayer and trust the Holy Spirit to show your group how to go. If the earliest church could be “of one mind” about things, the same head of the church can still lead his people in paths of unity. We cannot do better than to feed on the Word of God — perhaps beginning with the Gospels. Our 70’s group found great benefit in reading through a short epistle at once, without comment until we finished reading. We don’t normally get such straight doses of Scripture in church. Avoid a spirit of sectarianism, superiority or exclusiveness. When a group comes from a particular existing church, I would encourage you to fully inform its leadership of your intentions and invite them to be involved. At least they will know you have nothing to hide.
God bless you, my friend. The Spirit of God is hovering over the face of the waters again, and unimaginable good things are aborning. If we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, our feet grounded in the Word, our hands outstretched to each other, and our hearts open to the Holy Spirit, we can anticipate a glorious future — wherever God may lead!