In the New Testament, we see that every believer is called to contribute to building up and edifying the church. Thus, it is vital for each gathering to have space for members to contribute without getting off-task. At our recent Bridge Network event, we came up with a few practical ways to implement healthy and effect housechurch facilitation during the gathering to foster a thriving 1 Corinthians church community:
“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” – 1 Corinthians 14:26
Living as the priesthood of all believers means every individual should be praying for God to give them something to share with the community each week. As a result, everyone will come fully prepared to participate in the gathering and share what God has been teaching them throughout the week. It also means acting on the spiritual gifts empowered by the Holy Spirit to build up the Body of Christ.
1 Corinthians prescribes three main categories for sharing in a corporate gathering, including a hymn (a song, praise, etc.), a word of instruction (a teaching, DBS, etc.), and a revelation (a tongue, interpretation, etc.). Each of these categories are opportunities for members to share what God has laid on their heart. It also allows the facilitator to notice any themes of what God may want to say to the whole Body.
Here are five basic tips for effective hosuechurch facilitation to make the most of each gathering:
- Call people together to start the meeting.
- Open in prayer focusing people on hearing the Holy Spirit. (You can pray or have someone else pray.)
- Invite people to share:
- a song, testimony or praise
- a teaching or have someone led a time in the Word
- a prophecy, word of knowledge, dream, vision, testimony, confession or tongue and interpretation
- Encourage people to do the PIPE acronym throughout the coming week.
- Pray for each person in your house church throughout the week
- Initiate intimacy with people in your house church (through ministry, prayer, encouragement, etc.)
- Prepare for the cooperate gathering
- Engage lost people throughout the week
- Close in prayer.
Finally, here are 15 additional housechurch facilitation tips created by our various housechurches who attended the gathering:
- Pre-Facilitation: Facilitators can remind people to prayerfully prepare for the gathering and do PIPE throughout the week.
- Focus the meeting on the Holy Spirit.
- Keep the meeting prayerful and Christ-focused.
- Ice-Breakers can be used to help people get in the right state of mind.
- Value the weight of each person’s contribution. (What is the Spirit saying and what are we hearing?) Do people want to respond?
- Look for themes in the sharing from the Holy Spirit.
- Make it fun.
- Break gathering into mini-groups at times.
- Don’t fear silence. (Allow time for people to think, process and answer. Prompt as needed.)
- Give space for people to share burdens.
- Don’t be bound by a list. (Allow the Spirit to guide and change the order of things.)
- Get the children involved.
- Model vulnerability. (The more vulnerable the facilitator the more vulnerable the gathering.)
- Foster freedom in the meeting. (Freedom of worship, prayer, etc.)
- Cast vision. (End the meeting encouraging people to live out PIPE.)