Church Setup

Recommendations for house church congregation planters

I would like to publish our FIRST journal entry on practical tips for house church planting:

Look for a home with a large enough lounge or other room where you can meet on a weekly basis. It does not necessarily have to be at the same house every time. A good rule of thumb is to rotate clockwise from house to house. That way everyone knows where they will gather next week. The houses where the meeting takes place must be centrally located for everyone. Someone who lives far away must always drive in.

However, it should be very clear to everyone that the person where the congregation meets is not in charge of the meeting. It is not negotiable. If allowed, the house church congregation is immediately on its way to becoming an institutional church again. Even the "smallest" motivation for the "slightest" control by one person is taboo.

However, take note of such a person or persons with regard to parking, where and in which room the congregation members should sit and which bathrooms should be used. This is their home after all.

Decide when the congregation members will meet. Once a week on a Sunday is usually a good time. Usually for about 4 hours. However, everyone must be known in this matter and consensus must be reached. It should not be forced on each other and as the group gets bigger it should be decided again and consensus should be reached again.

Much care with regard to temperature must be taken. People should not sit and get cold or hot. Use air conditioners, fans and heaters at all times if necessary.
The room can heat up very quickly when people are singing and if the room gets stuffy someone has to open extra windows immediately for ventilation. Keep air conditioners, fans and heaters in good working order as the group's survival depends on this.

Punctuality is very important and no slackness should be allowed in this regard. Many groups have been affected as a result. Institutional churches can get away with it but not house churches where everyone is an active, participating member of the congregation. Make a rule that everyone must be there 15 minutes before the time and when the official time has come, the people who are already there must start the meeting. Waiting for latecomers gives the impression that it is ready to be late and eventually the event will start later until it finally dies down. Be very strict in this regard and address it immediately when it starts sticking out head on. (With a nice attitude of course)

At the end of each event, someone should remind everyone of the venue for next week's event. We have found that if this is not done some people tend to miss the next meeting.
Make sure that the bathroom is in a good condition before the people arrive: a) Enough toilet paper b) Towel, soap and a toilet brush (plunger) c) Make sure that the bathroom is clean d) Make sure that it can close from the inside. There are people who will not come again if the bathrooms are not maintained as mentioned above.

The chairs should be set out either in ever-increasing circles or in ever-increasing squares. In this way, everyone sees each other face to face. It is important for comfortable interaction and communication.

However, the road to the front door and the road to the bathrooms must be able to be used comfortably and effortlessly without scraping past people or furniture or stepping on people.
At the end of each meeting, the whole group, men included, should all help to quickly clean the rooms that were used. These include sweeping, vacuuming, washing up and cleaning
from the kitchen as well as storing the chairs inside. Cleaning should not be left to the housemates alone.

Visitors need to be treated very specially. When they first visit they should be greeted very kindly, welcomed and introduced to everyone. It is also a very good habit to give everyone a chance to introduce themselves to visitors with something about themselves (name, where he lives and works, etc.) and so does the visitor. There is a difference between "being welcomed" and "feeling welcome". A visitor must feel that the people here “want” me here for some reason. "I am needed here" For some reason "they like us very much" without overdoing it, of course. Get their contact details, call them during the week and hear how they are doing, ask them if they enjoyed the event and invite them again.

It makes the difference between “being a visitor” even if you become a regular visitor and “we want you here” as in “you are one of us” and we do not want you to be just visitors. This message must be clearly conveyed by all because it is the attitude of love and acceptance. It is the family or brotherly attitude no matter who or what that visitor is and his or her family. This is also the antidote to a problem that can arise in house churches, namely exclusivity or put another way: “Only we celebrate and no one else. We know each other so well and we have something very special here between us. If someone joins, it may disturb the "harmony" and we may lose the beautiful thing we have here ".

This attitude is usually the beginning of the end for a few reasons: New people need to be added to bring a new dimension to the group. Exclusivity causes short-sightedness, gatherings become stereotypical and exclusivity makes bloated. A group that functions in this way will not last forever. At some point, this wrong attitude will overtake them and they will probably not survive. The formation of a "clique" in house churches should under no circumstances be allowed.
Clothing should always be informal when you gather. For men and children, neat shorts, short-sleeved shirt and sandals or sneakers in warm areas are completely sufficient. Ladies can also be neat yet very informally dressed. The goal is to be comfortably dressed and not to be terribly nicely dressed. In winter, even tracksuits can be worn. It is not what attracts us but the attitude of our hearts that matters.

Cell phones should, of course, be turned off out of respect for God when you come together. It's his time and this little inconvenience will not hurt us. A cell phone that suddenly starts ringing at the wrong time disturbs people and can even grieve the Holy Spirit. It should not even be set to "silent". These are just good manners and really not acceptable for someone to use on a cell phone while we are fellowship with God. He is not human and really deserves the highest respect of all.

Nothing will happen if you completely lose touch with the world for an hour or two. On the contrary, it will only do you good. I know of people who leave their cell phones at home when they go to an event. It deserves a round of applause or what do I say?

Someone assisting with his work must, of course, set his cell phone to "shut down" but must take great care to leave the room and only answer or speak when he is out of earshot of the meeting. I know it sounds bad but it is really necessary not to turn a blind eye in this regard. People have a "do-not-do-it" attitude for some reason when it comes to cell phone manners.
Very important! Home congregation planting advice for End Time home churches

Please note that the South African Christian community is quite traditional. It is very important that the house congregation is planted correctly and that the people should experience the transition phase without too much disruption. Please pay attention to the following points of interest:

From the beginning, there should still be encouragement and teaching sermons once a week. It encourages the congregation members and the congregation is also taught in Christ.

In any case, this is how the 9 Gift Ministers in house churches also function. However, from the beginning, do not shy away from the all-functioning and all-participating nature of house churches. It still remains the most important weekly meeting of the house church congregation.

Congregation members should be taught the gifts of the Spirit from the beginning.

This is also the great reason why the congregation can not do without the weekly preaching. As we know, the gifts of the Spirit were never developed in the institutional church. So there is a huge gap when the house church congregation meets during the first year or two. The gap in this area is at least filled during the weekly preaching.

Our experience is that when house church planters focus only on the all-participating facet of congregation meetings, but not on preaching, then children of the Lord begin to lose heart.

Partly because the congregation members are not yet on track for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and partly because God has given the fivefold ministers a very good reason to teach and encourage the congregations.

This strategy must be followed until the Holy Spirit leads otherwise. The Holy Spirit will only sporadically stop preaching and teaching because it is and remains part of the house church structure.