Our first home group gathering on Wednesday was not too shabby; Kay & I agreed that it’s one of the best meetings we’ve experienced in some time! (The night before, we were praying, “God, don’t let it suck.”)
- There were 7 of us — a comfortable size to begin with.
- Everyone agreed that I badly need a haircut. When my hair gets too tall, I look like a televangelist.
- We never got to the opening question (which was supposed to be, “Why are you here tonight?”) Instead, one person shared about being reconciled to her father after 20 years. I called this a “God-story” and said that sharing God-stories is one of the things we want to do to strengthen each other’s faith.
- As much as I enjoy leading worship with a really skillful band, there’s something about worship in a small group that kicks butt. As I passed around sheets with song lyrics, I explained that as we build up a “worship vocabulary”, we will deviate more and more from the sheets. And even in our first gathering, I felt freer about changing the arrangments on the fly, and people felt freer to sing or speak out their own praise to God without relying on the words of the songs. Mmmm, tasty. (It was also really nice to have Teddy jump in and play along with me.)
- I had planned to look at the Acts 2 description of the early church, to say that whatever “the church” is supposed to do, our little group is supposed to do. But that didn’t really click with me; apparently God had other plans. Mike boldly shared a vision of bright light surrounded by darkness. I tried to get him to fill more details, but he said that’s all he saw. Suddenly Matthew 5:14-16 came to my mind, so I read it aloud and shared the thought that Christian groups tend to become inward-focused. Perhaps God is trying to balance that by establishing an outward focus from our first meeting?
- Kay talked about reaching inward, reaching outward, reaching upward. (I had originally thought about saying our call was to be “a missional community of faith” but Kay nixed that idea, saying it sounded too much like corporate mumbo-jumbo. So to try to say the same thing without using the mumbo-jumbo words, we agreed on inward / outward / upward.) I rephrased “missional” (without using the word) like this: Imagine we are a missionary team in a foreign land. …Because that is what we are, strangers in a strange land. We must learn what it means to work together as a missionary team.
- The group took the discussion into how we can do nothing effective apart from God initiating it himself. This makes it all the more important to be able to hear God’s voice and follow his initiative. I shared what Mike Bishop wrote in his “Intercession Experiment” comments, about learning to take Wimber’s 5-step model out of meetings and into daily life. We talked about how our Wednesday night gatherings were a safe place to practice listening/acting.
- It was getting late and a few people needed prayer, so we broke up into pairs to pray. Kay liked that because it established the precedent that we look to each other for prayer, not just to me & Kay.
- Our first special event was going to the Koinonia Koffeehouse on Friday to hear Teddy play the opener, followed by Richard (who hopes to join our group) playing in the headliner band.
Looking over what I just wrote, I can see God establishing certain things in our group from the get-go:
- Sharing of God-stories, initiated by anybody.
- Loosely structured worship creating room for anyone to lead out.
- Sharing of visions or other impressions from the Spirit, initiated by anybody.
- God is free to co-opt my planned agenda.
- An outward focus (as well as inward and upward).
- Everyone prays for everyone.
- Special fun events as part of our group lifestyle.
So far, so good! Stay tuned…