A Simple Church is really this simple. When you come together, just eat together, share with each other, and then pray for each other. You don’t need a PhD to facilitate a Simple Church. But within this simplicity lies the power of the Simple Church. Do not underestimate what God can do in the simplicity of a Simple Church gathering.
The early church always gathered together to eat together. This was their common experience.
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46-47)
When they came together to eat, they called it The Lord’s Supper. They considered it a sacred meal. Not to treat it as sacred or holy may result in dire consequences, according to the apostle Paul.
33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. (1 Cor 11:33-34)
So the first thing you must do when you come together as a Simple Church is to eat together. It builds your relationship with one another and also with the Lord. Acknowledge the meal as sacred, and then eat with thanksgiving and joy.
Share with one another
While eating, you should share with one another. This makes the meal truly enjoyable in the presence of the Lord. It’s like having a family meal, and it truly is, because we are eating together as God’s people. There are three things that we can easily share while eating together.
The first thing that we can talk about are the positive things that the Lord is doing in our lives. We must share our joys and victories so that our Simple Church can rejoice with us. Being thankful, as opposed to always grumbling or complaining, is a spiritual discipline that we can practice in the Simple Church. We should try this often. It’s really contagious!
The second thing that we can share are the negative things that are going on in our lives. This can easily turn the conversation into something sober or sad. It’s important at this point to handle this situation properly.
First of all, do not try to solve the problem immediately. Listen with empathy. Listen well. Do not scold or reprimand. Ask probing questions instead. Find out how your brother or sister feels. Do not just focus on the facts; dig deeply on the feelings that lie behind or beneath the facts.
Second, ask if there’s anyone in the group who might have a word of encouragement or exhortation for this brother or sister. Make sure that it is not preachy. Learn to facilitate the sharing so that the group can learn how to encourage one another.
At this point, it might be appropriate to go directly to prayer (see below). It would be unwise to talk about another burden unless it is related or it’s critically important to talk about. If not, one heavy problem may be enough for one meeting. Move on to pray for one another once the sharing is done.
However, if no one is sharing a burden or concern, it would be good to share about what each person is learning from the Lord. It’s good to follow a certain pattern whenever you’re sharing about what you’re learning from the Lord.
Theme: Start with a general subject matter. For example, prayer.
Topic: Focus on a specific subject matter. For example, how to persevere in prayer.
Truth: Share an idea that you believe the Lord is teaching you. For example, You’ve learned that the way to persevere in prayer is by focusing on the character of God rather than on what you see.
Thrust: End with an application of the truth that you believe the Lord wants you to do. It’s important to hold each other accountable regarding this application.
Pray for one another
Praying for one another is what makes the Simple Church gathering truly special. Based on the sharing, pray for one another. Carry each other’s burdens through prayer. Pray for the solutions regarding the problems shared. Pray for the application of the word of God that was learned. Pray for the whole group. Pray for those that you want to invite to the Simple Church. Pray for other concerns outside the Simple Church.
Discuss this lesson with your mentor. Do not move to the next lesson unless you’ve discussed this and have come up with an application. After you’ve done this, click here to read the next lesson. If you want to review the previous lesson, click here. If you want to go back to the beginning of this series, click here.