Years of sitting in traditional church has not prepared us to do church in the manner described in the New Testament. We have been taught to come. To sit. To watch and listen to what others have prepared. (Someone described it as “sit, soak and sour”.) This is Spectator Church. And it is no way to train believers to be priests!
By contrast, the churches described in the Bible engaged in Participatory Church. This kind of church requires preparation on the part of all of it’s members. This is new. We haven’t been training in this.
Some retraining is in order. One of the best passages to help us do this is Heb. 10:24-25:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another– and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”(NIV)
Here are a few notes to help understand the passage:
“Consider”: from katanoeo. noeo = to think + kata = an intensifier. To think deeply about, consider, contemplate, observe. Jesus uses the same word when he says, “Consider the ravens…consider the lillies.” (Lk. 12:24-27) This is work that we must do ahead of time. This is preparation done in prayer before we meet.
NIV says “Let us consider how …”. The Greek really says “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” We are to be observing and thinking deeply about the others in our Simple Church in order to be able to effectively “stir them up to love and good works”. Each one is unique. What works for one may not work for another. I must “think deeply” about each one.
“Let us consider how we may spur one another on“. “Spur on” comes from a root word that means “to make sharp” as with a sword. (Prov. 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”) Means “to stir up, incite, provoke, motivate”. Again, what motivates one will not motivate another. Every parent and every coach know this.
“Let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds” How do we know if our meeting has accomplished what God wanted? We know if people leave being highly motivated and spurred on to love (God and others) and to express that love in good works throughout the week. If this doesn’t happen then we have fallen short. This helps us understand 1 Cor. 14:26 – “Let everything be done for the strengthening (edification) of the church.”
Church prepares us for the rest of the week (24/7). And the rest of the week (24/7) is where we prepare for church.
I can describe my version of Simple Church in two words: eating and blessing. Both activities are designed to “spur one another to love and good deeds”. Both are designed to “strengthen/edify/encourage” the church.
1. Eating. The Lord’s Supper. Dinner with Jesus. “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad (implies “exuberant joy”) and sincere (implies an “uncluttered simplicity”) hearts.” (Acts 2:46). Church takes place around the dinner table. The meal is the time to talk about what God is doing in your life. It’s the time to remember Jesus. (1 Cor. 11:24)
*Tell how He blessed you in the last week.
*Tell what you are learning from His word.
*Tell how He used a brother or sister to encourage you.
*Tell about God sightings.
*Tell Holy Ghost stories.
*”Forget none of his benefits” Ps. 103:1-2
This is participatory church. This requires preparation. Thought and prayer ahead of time. This kind of sharing is what “spurs the church on to love and good deeds”. “And they overcame him (the accuser of the brethern) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” Rev. 12:11
2. Blessing. After dinner (or during dinner) spend time blessing one another. Speak to one another about their God given identity (who they are) and their destiny (what God has made them to do). Share how you see Jesus in their life. Strengthen one another.
*Husbands to wives. (In front of God and everyone!)
*Wives to husbands.
*Parents to children.
*Every believer to every other believer.
*Use passages of Scripture. (Col. 3:16)
*Use song. (Eph. 5:19)
*Use prophecy. (1 Cor. 14:3)
*Use the laying on of hands.
*All at the direction of the Spirit.
The goal? To spur/motivate one another to love and good deeds.
This requires preparation. katanoeo. Thinking deeply about each other. Listening to God on their behalf in order to bless/edify/encourage them. This is the stated New Testament purpose of church!
Very different from Spectator Church. We haven’t done it this way before! Retraining is in order. Leaders/parents: take the lead. Model how this is done week after week. Be patient with those who are learning a new way to do church. And when someone gets it right. When they actually prepare for church and come with a blessing from God or a blessing for another, then CELEBRATE! Make sure they know what it means to you and to your church.
And know that the Lord is delighted that you are doing church the way He intended it to be done. A family that blesses Him and each other.
House Church Coach
Every Christian a church planter.
Every home/family a church.
Every church building a training center.