I have been asked many questions about our home fellowship and will be putting together some articles in Q and A format. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section and I will answer them in upcoming articles. (Other home fellowships function differently and I'll be sharing more about that soon)
When and where do we meet?
We gather in my home on Monday nights. We rent a clubhouse for larger gatherings every so often. Where we live, we have access to a clubhouse with a deposit we get back the next day, so this really has no cost to do. We sometimes gather in other homes too. We each like to take turns hosting the fellowship.
How do you celebrate the Lord's Supper?
We have pot luck every Monday night and at the larger gathering. Some nights we do dessert and coffee only. We dine together at the table, if there are more people, we use TV trays in the living room to accommodate. We believe in the full feast style supper..imagine an Italian family dinner night..that's us. :)
We have no hierarchy structure, only Christ is the Master of the meeting. He functions through various people through the night. His Spirit flows through each of us in a very spontaneous and loving manner. He edifies and encourages us through one another. If you can imagine a good peaceful ping pong table where no one has a desire to 'win'..just enjoy the game. The conversation style teaching goes back and forth. It's not a one way street here.
Do you believe in apostles, bishops, elders, pastors, and teachers?
Yes, but we do no use titles nor 'authorities' here. We are all equal in Christ. We believe in the function of the Spirit of these gifts, but not as a man made structure. We are in fellowship with people who function in all these gifts. As His Spirit guides, they function. No one person is more of a master teacher than another, Jesus is our master, his Spirit is our Teacher. All these functions are not always here every Monday. Sometimes we gather at one of their homes instead of here.
How do you handle the offering?
We don't mandate an offering. Since we own our home, we have no need to ask our guests to give us money just to host them for an evening in our home. We share in the meal by having it potluck. If someone has a need and they mention it, people will give as the Spirit guides them. No one has ever abused this by asking for handouts. People are generally quite humble and hesitant on even asking for financial help. We rely on the Spirit to speak to us about who needs assistance. We do get donations of nonperishable food so we do offer food boxes to everyone if they need it, all they need to do is ask. All the 'teachers' have their own income, so we have no need to pay them.
Do you have a nursery?
No. We allow the children to play all around the house. The older children play with them. Parents tend to their own children's needs.
Do you have a creed?
No, our gathering has no creed. Mostly it's just love Father and love one another. We believe each person has their own unique walkabout with Father and they are certainly free to hold to their own creed. As long as we each understand that we live in this life with love and mutual respect, then the fellowship is sweet. We welcome people of differing beliefs and encourage theological discussion. If they don't feel comfortable with fellowship with open minded people who question, then they may not like it here. We allow for all questioning. There is no spiritual tyranny here. We live in America where there is freedom of religion. We do not feel it's fair, spiritual healthy, nor Constitutional if we usurp their beliefs and make them believe as we do. You can believe in pre trib, post trib, tongues, healing, or women who teach. But also realize that if someone asks about these things, you'll be in for a long night. If a matter becomes a wall, we'll shelve the discussion until another time.
We are not out to get everyone to believe the same..we gather because of love for Father and one another. Bible study is challenging here. If one is not up for the challenges and study, they are free to depart peacefully after the meal. We still love them.
Do people commit to serving in your fellowship?
What about baptism?
More to come. Feel free to ask about anything I have not covered in this post. Please refrain from trying to force me to adopt how your church functions. We are all unique and I hold firm to our soul liberty.