Is this what Simple Church looks like? 2nd Edition…

November 16, 2014


Worship in the “Living Room”

As we do each Sunday, we gather to worship in the Living Room at 10 AM.  This week, we are singing:  Pour My Love on You, Give it All, When You Walk into the Room, and I Love You Lord

Some sit, some stand, some play instruments, and some sing.  Worship is defined by our heart posture.  Nothing more, and nothing less.  There are no “junior members” of our church.

After worship, we ask for an update from our Congregational Sharing and Prayer Time last week.  God has answered our prayer.  There is growth we can see!  We invite others to share about how God has been working this week.

We talk about hip surgeries and losing loose teeth.  About job opportunities and a 9-year old’s prayer in faith that medicine go down easier with Cherry Kool Aid. Our God hears every prayer.  Our God answers every prayer.  There are no “junior members” of our church.

Communion is served by the 3 kids in worship today.  One boy and two girls.  One white and two African Americans.  There are no “junior members” of our church.

During announcements, we point to the basket for offerings.  After the service, there are 4 envelopes in the basket—two are from kids, and two are from adults.  There are no “junior members” of our church.

The Teaching Notes

This week, Donna will be leading the discussion on Mark 2:13-22.  Participating in this group today:

  • 2 ordained pastors,
  • 1 lay pastor,
  • 1 ex-Sunday School Teacher
  • and a Teenager.

Although Donna may have less “Bible knowledge” than other experts in the circle, she loves God and she is hungry for the Bible.  Donna has a template that allows her to lead this diverse group effectively.  Its an inductive study method, and the top of the page looks like this:

Who is Jesus

As we are studying Mark 2:13-22 today, the rows continue down the page, from 16, 17, etc., all the way to 22.

Having a Conversation about the Bible

For starters, we read through the passage of the day together.  Today she has us go in a circle, each person reading one verse from beginning to end.  Then she asks each person to pause on verse 13, and write down any question that we have about that verse that we DON’T know the answer to.  Donna then asks us to share our questions, which leads to a great discussion.

Every single person in the room has questions that we don’t know the answer to—including teenagers and professional pastors with doctorates in ministry.  We are all on a level playing field.  We are all starving souls in search of spiritual food.   There are no “junior members” of our church.

We continue this process, one verse at a time, pausing to discuss and explore previously unfound facets of the light of scripture.  We are all “pupils”.  We are all on pilgrimage together.

Our facilitator for the day has chosen to take one of the word from the passage (wedding) and print off what it says in Strong’s Concordance to share with the group.  She shares a few application points that she has learned. There are no “junior members” of our church.

Next, Donna asks us to go to the top of the 2nd column of our worksheets.  She asks us to identify 1 attribute about Jesus that this verse reveals.  And if there simply isn’t one there, she asks us to default to this question: “what does this verse teach us about God’s character”?  Each participant contributes something meaningful, from High School student to lifelong theological student. There are no “junior members” of our church.

Sharing a Meal

Donna asks someone to pray over our group and the meal and we share lunch.  The pre-teen kids come up from downstairs and mingle with the adults as we share lunch together.  When we share a meal together, intermingled like this, we share life as fellow people, and our hearts are mysteriously brought together by sharing conversation over food.  There are no “junior members” of our church.

We ask someone else to facilitate the discussion next week.  Someone who hasn’t led a Sunday School or a Bible Study in many many years….maybe even never!  “I am not sure I am ready for that.”  “Ok—maybe in a few weeks”.  “On second thought, I can do this.  I can facilitate the group next week”.  Yes, she can!  There are no “junior members” of our church. 

Good Byes

Most people are gone by 1 PM…but we have never “kicked out” anyone.  We leave and go about the rest of our Sundays…on the way out, many hugs and “keep in touch”.

Is this a “successful” Sunday morning church service in a Simple Church?