I’d like to ask all house church leaders to follow a standard format for house church meetings. The order and time distribution should be:
1. The Love Feast
2. Praise (25 minutes)
3. Announcements from the Sunday worship bulletin (3 minutes)
4. Bible study (20 minutes)
5. Sharing (1-2 hours)
6. Intercessory prayer (15 minutes)
7. Mission challenge (15 minutes)
You may change the order when you have a visitors but it would be good to follow the set order as much as possible for regular meetings. This format has been refined by trial and error and has proven to be best, and it would be unwise to ignore it.
It seems that some house churches discuss the sermon from the previous Sunday during the Bible study times. But house church meetings must include Bible study because a house church is a true “church,” and time in the Word is a function of the church. I’d like every house church to designate a Bible study leader and have them attend the preparation classes that take place after Sunday worship, where Bible study materials are handed out and their contents discussed in depth.
Some house churches share how they applied the lessons they learned from the Sunday sermon during sharing time. If you do this, non-believers at your meetings who don’t attend Sunday worship services have nothing to say. You may do this if there is time left after regular sharing, but the topic of sharing time should be something that happened during the week that you’re thankful for. The leader must clearly state, “Let us share one event during the week for which we are thankful.” When you share this, even non-believers have something to share. Also, it keeps the meetings from focusing on only problems, which can make members depressed.
House church meeting facilitators shouldn’t talk too much. They should encourage other members to share their deep feelings and keep the atmosphere positive. They must also keep members from giving pat or textbook answers. Members must be encouraged to share their personal experience or ask questions to help other members think on their own and find solutions to their problems.
When you have visitors at your house church during our house church seminars, don’t try to show your best. Be natural and show them how your house church meetings normally run. When they are not up to par, people will be encouraged to see that house church meetings at Seoul Baptist are not perfect.
Don’t say negative things about the house church. Some seminar participants have a negative opinion about the house church and are dragged to the seminars by their pastors. Even when your remarks consist of 90% praise and 10% criticism, some people may use that 10% to oppose the house church and their pastors.
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