Worship in the Home Church – Family and Leadership

As a follow up to my other articles on the transformation of pastoral ministry (“How the Home Church transformed my Pastoral Ministry” and “Worship in the Home Church – Preaching and Praying”), I turn now to two more specific aspects which were important in the life of our home church: family andleadership.

It seems that almost every church wants to be known as “family friendly” and a place to build relationships. Many churches even boast at being “multigenerational” in their ministry style and makeup. After having spent time as the pastor of a home church, I wonder now if we really understand what that means. Is the traditional church really family friendly?

Here’s what I mean: when a family arrives at church, the younger children are taken to the nursery, the older ones head to “children’s church” or over to the “youth wing,” and the adults go to the adult ministries. All too often these family members never see one another again until they meet on the way to the car to go home for the day. You might say, “Our church has everyone in worship together.” That’s great, but is it really building relationships? Is it really developing family coherence?

“Well, our church has a home group ministry?” Again, this is a good thing, however even these are often segregated. A group will meet in someone’s home and the adults meet in one area, while the kids all head off to a separate room (or the basement). I ask again – is this really helping to build relationships in the family? Is this really “family” friendly? What exactly is family oriented about it, if the family is always separated?

This family orientation is a major difference between how the traditional church attempts family ministry and the experience of home church ministry. In our case, family was a top priority. At the beginning we tried to have a separate “program” for the kids – but this only lasted a week or two. We quickly rebelled against our own pre-conceived ideas about what church had always been and began to truly meet together as families. From then on, we all met together every week for every aspect of our ministry and worship.

And this changed the nature and character of our worship. I’ve already noted, in my previous articles, how different the preaching and prayer were in this setting. Beyond that, we came to see the beauty of learning together. Families had the connection of not just sitting together for worship, but taking time to consider the particular thoughts and ideas from a broad spectrum of ages. When we left our services and fellowship, we each had a common experience to build upon. We could talk during the week about church and what happened there – and we all could connect with it because we were all there. It was community.

It was family.

Do pastors know when to lead and when to follow?
In my original article I didn’t really mention the idea of leadership within the home church environment. In fact, it may have seemed that in my own experience as the pastor of a home church that I was the primary leader and otherwise there was no structure. This was far from the case and I’d like to explain.

Early on in our time together as a church, there were two men that were appointed as elders. These men were the heads of the families that originally formed the church and asked that I become their pastor. The three of us made up the leadership of the church.

At that time, I set about the task of completing a study of the New Testament texts on leadership in the church and produced a short study titled, “The Role of the Pastor.” Within this document, I helped our leadership understand the roles the pastor has according to biblical teaching. By doing this, we were all informed of what we had come to expect from our pastors – some of which was appropriate, and some of which was a bit off base due to our past experiences in the traditional church.

Another layer of this was, once the pastor’s role was more clear, who would be doing the leading in other areas of the church? Once again, Scripture led us to understand that each of us were gifted to lead (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, etc.), not just the pastor. In our past experiences in the traditional church, pastors often served under the assumption that they knew the answers to everything, and the other leaders fell in line with the same thinking. We knew it should be different, and made efforts to be different.

The key ingredient was this: each of us would lead in our areas of giftedness, and we would also recognize the leadership of others (both elders and others within the church) and become followers at the appropriate times. Leading in the areas of our gifting was obvious, but the following of others was another matter. We had to be deliberate in following the leading of others. This made us a body, just as Scripture teaches. It developed our community. It raised the level of dignity and service within each and every member of our small flock.

Leadership was fluid and flexible. Each of us did not have to be part of every decision, and we trusted each other to make decisions that were appropriate for the whole group. This level of trust was part of what made our leadership structure so unique, and demonstrated a different way to lead the church.


(Original Post on June 10, 2014 at the Worldview Church: http://www.worldviewchurch.org/worshiparts/articles/21947-worship-in-the-home-church-family-and-leadership)


Posted on August 25, 2014, in Christian Worldview, Content of Worship, Corporate Worship, Leadership, theology, Worship Leader and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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