I was able to finally visit the other house church in our neighborhood this morning. Actually, they might prefer to be called a simple church.
Surprisingly, it was a block up the same street today. Affiliated with my former denomination, no less. And one I had learned of at an organic church conference previously, but had no idea was meeting within earshot of my home for the last few years.
(Yes, I understand "organic" and "conference" seem oxymoronic, but bear with me ...)
I'll let their folks speak for themselves about what their goals are, their mission to the community, how each person discovered simple church, etc. If they're like our little flock, then for every 10 people you'll get 11 responses!
What I found impressive was that the entire group of about 15 people, ages 6 through 69, was engaged in the meeting. A teenage daughter of one of the members kept a dry-erase board of prayer requests and discussion topics. Younger children sat around the living room quietly and interacted when asked to.
The guided discussion centered around "who Jesus is to you" -- indicative of their heart for one-one-one relationship building. Talk veered far from theological ponderings, preferring to keep things "simple and reproducible." Avoiding "religious answers" was suggested. Sharing feelings was valued more than doctrinal responses in the interactive discussion.
The church meets from house-to-house in Leander and nearby cities. They often share brunch or lunch together, as well as teaching (and cooking) responsibilities.
What we might call confession was handled in an incredibly universal (and almost therapeutic) manner. Each participant was asked to pick from a list of moods, and expound on why they feel that way (sad, angry, scared, happy, excited, tender -- the "SASHET" method that seems to be gaining traction among certain house church planting networks lately). This led to prayer requests, sharing of personal struggles, and, a rare quality in many small church gatherings lately, actual prayer for individual needs and situations.
I'm hoping we can find opportunities for our two home-based churches to worship Jesus together and serve Jesus together to reach our immediate community and our public schools. I'll keep the blog posted. Either way, it was a blessing to know we're not alone in meeting simply.