Worship in the Home Church – Preaching and Praying
As a follow up to my article on the transformation of pastoral ministry in a home church setting (found here), I’d like to spend the next two articles discussing specifics of some of the differences in a home church. Specifically, how worship is affected. This week: Preaching and praying.
As I mentioned in last week’s article, the preaching was significantly different than in a traditional church setting. Although we referred to it as preaching, it was often more like teaching and discussion. It had to reach a group of people from 4-years old and elementary age kids, all the way through teens, 20-somethings, and on up to folks in their 50s and 60s.
As a pastor, I felt it was my role to be sure that our folks understood God’s Word thoroughly, and had ample time to digest it and see how it could shape their lives. We did not brush aside difficult concepts like the Trinity, or the substitutionary atonement. We dove in head first, and encountered God and His Truth. There were times that the younger children understood difficult concepts better than their parents or grandparents.The interaction of the differing generations created an atmosphere of learning to understand – not just learning to learn.
Within our studies I often prepared a presentation that I affectionately referred to as my “powerpoint.” The “power” was my hand, and the “point” was that of a large felt-tip marker. I drew pictures, listed words, explained concepts visually. This drew us together in a way that none of us expected. One of the diagrams was of a target – and it became an operational picture of what we felt our church was about. One of the lists was ideas for our church name – and eventually a name and mission floated to the top. These visuals were remembered beyond my words, and I still today use my “powerpoint” to teach. At times I created “take home” bookmarks or reminders so we could keep them with us in our Bibles, or posted on the refrigerator.
It was a unique form of teaching and has been readily adaptable for youth studies, family Bible studies, and even teaching undergraduate college courses. The need to communicate at such a broad level of ages and comprehension helped me to refine my own ability to explain theology and biblical concepts and make it accessible. It was an invaluable experience, and something I never learned in college or seminary.
Prayer was another area that was transformed as it was practiced within our Home Church community. In my earlier article, I note the following:
We discovered our need for prayer, and within our intergenerational gatherings we found the joy of hearing – and participating with – the prayers of the young and old alike. Unlike the traditional church, we prayed together rather than having a representative pray for the group (though this happened on occasion as well). Each of us was welcome to pray, and often prayed. There was no time limit. We prayed for what we needed to pray.
I’m not sure, having read that again, that I can improve on the description of prayer within our small gathering. It was a significant time of being together before God’s throne and bringing our selves and needs to Him. I recall the sense in each of us that God would actually hear, and this raised our eyes to look for His answers to our requests.
Since my time in the Home Church ministry, I’ve tried this kind of intergenerational prayer in a couple of other settings. In particular, I have incorporated it into the setting of Family Bible Studies. At different times the studies have been as few as two families and as many as eight families all together. In these settings prayers have come from all ages, and from all levels of understanding. Those involved have often been pleased to realize that God really does care about everything, and often adults need that reminder by hearing the prayers of children.
I’ve also noted that profound and deep prayers come from the depths of every individual, and as we hear them we respond to the work of the Spirit in their lives. I think that communal praying is unique, and spending time in such a close community such as a Family Bible Study, or in a Home Church, brings the work of the Spirit through prayer into perspective as nothing else can.
As a priority in our Home Church, we never limited the time in prayer. It varied week to week from just a few moments to as much as fifteen minutes or more. Rather than being something that we had to do, it was part of who we were. I can’t help but think that the traditional church could benefit from praying in such a way.
(Original Post on June 10, 2014 at the Worldview Church: http://www.worldviewchurch.org/worshiparts/articles/21917-worship-in-the-home-church-preaching-and-praying)
Posted on August 18, 2014, in Christian Worldview, Content of Worship, Corporate Worship, Leadership, theology, Worship Leader and tagged Mark Sooy, theology, worship, worship leader, WorshipThink. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.