Home Church Help

Larger Meetings

 

What happens if you are suddenly packing in 40 to 50 people in a home for a meeting? It’s time to consider having more than one meeting. Remember, in body life, you are getting to be with the saints and spend time with them throughout the week. If you are not meeting-focused, but relationships throughout the week are driving the church, then having different meetings at different houses throughout the week is not taking away from anything. However, if the weekly meeting is all you are doing, it will be very hard for you to want to break it up. We’ll call it multiplication instead of dividing.

If the group or network of believers you are with begins to get very large, it is important that you all come together with everyone on occasion. I would suggest that once every two weeks or at least once a month you all gather together at a park, meet under a pavilion, someone’s back yard, or occasionally rent out a community facility if you must.

The goal is to have people involved, initiating meetings and leading out with things the Lord puts in their heart. If large amounts of people are a part of your group, then you should see lots of opportunities to gather every week. For example, if there are say, four different meetings offerered in one week – most people will not make all of those meetings. This will cut down on having to pack everyone in one house. The more people – the more meetings – the fewer that attend each meeting.

 

Setting Up For Larger Meetings

At times like these, it’s important how you physically set up the room. If you have very large numbers, then occasionally everyone may get together at a park or in some other place besides a house. 

You never want to go back to the pulpit / stage / pew format because you have a large group meeting. For example, instead of having the chairs in rows all facing one direction, arrange the chairs in a circle. You may have to double or triple layer the circle. You can even have a table in the center with some wine and some bread for different ones to partake of at any point during the time. Encourage people to come up and have the wine and the bread whenever they want to during the time to remember the Lord’s death and resurrection. The point is that in large meetings, stay away from religious trappings and the old mentalities like having a stage up front with a worship team. This is not conducive to different ones leading out with songs and group participation. We don’t want chairs facing a stage or a worship team because we are not focused on a worship team or any one person. It’s the body that is edifying itself. We are focused on Christ and Christ who is in all the people present at the meeting. If someone has an instrument to play, let them play it while they are in their own seat. If you have several musicians, let them be behind the circle. Pass out song sheets instead of using an overhead projector.

I know this all may sound really nit-picky. But let me explain why this is important. There are so many things that we associate with “church.” Some of these things are not bad in and of themselves. But very subtly we can revert to a way of thinking that causes us to lose the organic, the spontaneity, and the freedom that we should all have and are trying to gain.

Although the Lord will always have us with a core group that we are committed to and devoted to, as mentioned before, I do visit various traditional meetings on occasion because it’s important that I meet with others in the city. We all are members of the same church, whether other people know it or not.

As I attend these traditional meetings, they are all set up the same way – chairs in rows facing a stage, worship team on the stage, overhead projector, and a lecture podium. What’s the problem with having all these kinds of things in a large meeting?

All of these things throw the group into feeling like they are “in church.” Every traditional meeting I attend feels like a church service. Because it’s a church service, there are unspoken rules of what people should do in the meeting, when they should do them, and how the people are to conduct ourselves. They always have some degree of a formal feel. The Spirit of God is only allowed to flow in certain ways and in certain activities. Things are very limited. In those meetings, because we are in a church service, everyone there expects certain things to happen – and only those things happen.

The “givens” in our meetings that put us in church mode, often quench the Spirit and end up governing the time. Setting the chairs up in the typical way, passing money plates, overhead projectors, stages, worship teams, the clothes we wear, the meeting time and place, even doing the same thing every time, all contribute to this problem. Any of these things can throw us into the churchy feel. Personally, I don’t ever want to meet on Sundays. In fact, the people I’m with have made it a point to not meet on Sundays at all. We don’t want a churchy feel in our meetings. I don’t ever want to feel like I’m going to church. We want to seek Jesus with other saints, not go to church. We’ve associated churchy things with Jesus Himself and He has nothing to do with any of that.

What kind of things should you do when meeting with a large group? If you are not in a “church service” many things can happen that are in the flow of the Spirit and that are spontaneous and edifying. Sometimes the benefit of meeting in non traditional ways is not so much what you do but when and how you do it. You get to do things out of conviction of heart because it’s real to you in the moment, not because you did it last week.

Some examples of possible large group activities are: Worshiping the Lord, breaking up into smaller groups and praying for one another, or, someone may have a short teaching to give to the whole group. A teaching may come forth at the beginning and then you might worship with song at the end. You may not sing at all. Someone may stand up and share a testimony. It may lead to other testimonies. The whole large group may spend 30 minutes praying for only one family. A brother may gather all the men outside for a talk that is specific in charging every man to lead his household (the ladies will pray for the men while they are outside). It may be a time of healing and forgiveness where different ones approach people they need to clear things up with. As people lead out and share various things, it will inspire others to share and lead out with things. Who knows what might all happen! Let all things be done for edification.

Don’t plan on having a typical music, then message following meeting. Whatever you do, avoid a canned, pre-planned church service. Stay away from the religious things that throw us into the rote, predictable, church meeting mentality. Should we pray after a message has been given? Why should you pray after the message? Is it real in your heart to do so? If it is with conviction and it is real, then pray. If not, wait on the Lord for what is real. It may take years of you having to find true conviction to get free and non-religious. Out of a reaction, we can even become religious about trying to be non-religious. As men of flesh, and with hundreds of years of error in our culture, it takes tremendous focus and dependency on the Holy Spirit to stay fully engaged and totally real. We have to remember that our bent will always be towards systems and methods that allow us to become passive and not active in faith on a daily basis. You may go through all sorts of gyrations and reactions to various practices. That’s OK.

For example, my family and I rarely pray before our meals. Why? It doesn’t seem real to me or my wife. It feels religious. But, whenever we have grocery day and my wife comes home with a van load full of groceries, we unload the van, and pile the groceries on the kitchen table. As a family, we give thanks for all the provisions. Currently, that’s what is real for us. But we don’t do it every time. Only when a family member has faith to pray and give thanks, do we do it. And, it may not be real and fresh forever. Being real is a wonderful way to live. The kids get to see you live out real faith in Jesus in front of them.

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