Keck surprised me by making a link to me, even though we’ve never met. I am honored! …And there, you get a permanent link, since I read you more than any of the other Alleloners with the possible exception of Todd Hunter. Heck, I’d never even heard of Allelon until I wandered into their blogs. I think the path was next-wave -> Todd -> Keck. I’m not a church planter; I honestly don’t think I have what it takes. Yet to me, a home group — sharing-life-together / breaking-bread-together / growing-together / serving-together / partying-with-each-other home group — how is that not a community of faith? And now Kay & I sense a definite call to start something and see where it goes.
It’s kind of strange: I’m one of the worship leaders at SJ City Vineyard. And yet, I think this Sunday service thing is overrated.
I do think that it’s important to draw small groups together, that there is an innate desire to be part of something big as well as something small. But Bish (definitely an engineer) and Mr. T point out the 80/20 rule: That churches pour 80% of their effort into a meeting that simply can’t transform lives the same way a smaller group can (as long as the smaller groups themselves are communities, not just meetings).
Riddle me this, Batman: A common church-planting model is to start with home groups, and launch a larger meeting, initially on a monthly basis. This encourages the formation of community while avoiding over-taxing people with all the work it takes to put on a large meeting. …So why do these churches go on to weekly large meetings? So much time, energy & money gets sucked out of the most dedicated members into this one thing — which means it’s not going into smaller community life. Why not stick with once a month for large meetings? This would also let you make make those meetings really cool without killing the planning team / set-up team / tear-down team / worship team / audio-visual team / etc. etc. Remember the move away from calling them “worship services” to calling them “celebrations”? Why not make them “monthly festivals”?
…But above all, the smaller groups must focus on community over and above any notion of a weekly meeting. I remember a dear friend of mine telling me about her home group in New York years ago… The overseer/coach observed that the group was too meeting-centric, so he gave them an assignment: For a time, they were to abandon their weekly meeting, and instead figure out how to do the “one-another” stuff throughout the week.
That’s enough rambling for now.