....plus a working example
In previous SC Letters I have listed some of the Biblical reasons why I journeyed from institutional church to simple church. My first point has always been, the example of the New Testament Christians who met in homes. The point I wanted to make wasn't the place they met, but the simplicity of their family type gatherings. Yes, "They...met in homes...and shared their meals with great joy and generosity..." Acts 2:46. But nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to meet in a house. When we started our simple church journey we met for some time in the cafeteria of the Waikanae Chartered Club. So, while simple/organic churches are often referred to as 'house churches', I'm not arguing for the house as the only place Christians should meet. It's not where we meet but Whom we meet! It's simply "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." Matt. 18:20. c.f. John 4:21-24.
Another Biblical reason for the simple way of doing church....
The reality of being a family. One of the most beautiful, and the most common metaphor of the Church in Scripture is "we are family." Jesus tells us not to let anyone give us the title of 'teacher', 'father' or 'leader'. Why? Because he said, "...all of you are on the same level as brothers and sisters." Matt. 23:8-11. Think of the number of times the word 'brothers', or 'brothers and sisters' as the New Living Translation translates the intended meaning of 'brothers' at appropriate times. Also verses like, Gal. 6:10; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 2:19; 1 Tim. 5:1, 2; 1 Pet. 2:2; 1 Jn. 2:12, 13 to name a few. Then there is the much loved, familial name that Jesus used of God, 'Father', even 'Abba Father'. Doesn't this speak loudly that the church is to be a warm, close knit caring family? No clergy-laity great divide. "All equal and none more equal than others." (Apologies to George Orwell's "Animal Farm"). All free to participate, to tell their story or share their grief. Not a pulpit centred, weekly meeting followed by a quick cuppa, some small talk and a hurried, "God bless you."
Obviously there's other reasons for meeting as we do. But these (above) are important, both for those inside and outside of the Church. And how much easier to bring a non-church friend or neighbour to a BBQ or a pot-luck meal, than to bring them to an unfamiliar (to them) traditional church service.
How about sharing your story? Why do you meet as you do? Your story doesn't have to be long and involved. I'd love to hear from you and possibly include something of your journey (no names) in a future SC Letter.