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A typical atypical gathering with the church

Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 in church life, gathering | 10 comments

A typical atypical gathering with the church

No, the title of this post is not a mistake. Occasionally, I like to describe one of the times that we gather together with our brothers and sisters in Christ. People usually like these posts, especially people who are interested in more simple types of gatherings, but have little or no experience with it.

But, there’s a problem. All of our weekly gatherings are different. I mean, there are some “typical” elements or activities, but every meeting is atypical is some way. Still, I thought I would describe one of our recent gatherings for those who may be interested.

Our meeting time begins at 10:30 a.m., which means that is when people start to arrive. The first ones who arrive begin arranging the chairs and hanging out, catching up with each other, talking about what has happened since the last time they’d seen each other. As more and more people arrive, there are usually little groups scattered around the room, with people moving from group to group to talk to different people.

On this particular day, a couple who I had met online met with us for the first time. They were traveling through our area and spent the day with us. They told us about their service to prisoners in their area and their plans to start a halfway house in another state.

After they talked about their service to prisoners, we began sharing prayer requests and praying for each other. It’s always encouraging and challenging to hear what’s going on in everyone’s lives, and to see people truly caring for one another, both by praying and by making plans to help each other later. At one point, a brother shared a passage from Psalms that God had used to convict him about his attitude during the last week. Again, we prayed for him and for one another.

We had previously decided to begin studying Paul’s letter to the Ephesians this week. So, we were going to read through the entire book for our first week studying Ephesians. A couple of people would read each chapter, then between chapters someone would request a song that we would sing together.

After 10-12 people had taken turns reading through Ephesians, and after we sang 6-7 songs, a few people shared their thoughts from the reading. They each focused on different passages, and others joined the discussion, encouraging each other from the Scriptures. As we wound down, we decided together that we would continue studying through the book of Ephesians one or two paragraphs per week, beginning with Ephesians 1:1-14 the next time we get together.

But, even then, we were not finished gathering together. We continued to hang out and talk with one another for a long time. At this time, we also usually set up tables for lunch. But, because of a few things that were going on, we decided to eat lunch with several of our friends at our home. So, after talking for another hour or so, we went to our house to share beef and vegetable soup.

Unfortunately, I can’t share everything that happened that day. The more important things that were said and done are too personal to share in public (both for me and for others involved). But, hopefully, this will give you an idea of what happens during a typical atypical weekly gathering with our brothers and sisters in Christ.


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  1. 9-18-2012

    beautiful! 🙂

    we are still meeting at the Rooks household once a week regularly – especially important to have that regular weekly meeting for those that travel to us…. and then of course all the other “meetings”/relationships we have during the week which are not regular.

    At our regular meetings we have been doing topical scripture studies the past few months. Last week “worry”… week before that, “what pleases God”…. I like the idea of reading a book together – I’d love to read Colossians together. Good idea, thanks!

  2. 9-20-2012


    We’ve done topical studies together as well. By the way, for us, it’s the “other meetings/relationships we have during the week which are not regular” which give us the freedom to edify one another in our weekly gathering. So, I definitely agree about that!


  3. 9-21-2012

    yes!! great description.

    Can you give more clarity on how it gives you more freedom?

    Do you mean that you have built your relationship (trust and understanding and information about your life and figuring out how to communicate) a lot during the “other” meetings during the week… which really helps with the freedom to edify during the regular gathering because you *know* each other more?

    or are you saying that it gives you more freedom to edify because it becomes your time to listen and focus on others because you have shared your haert, information, personal things elsewhere during the week?

    or both?

    You are right — both really are essential!!

    Now if only more of the “others” would gather with us on Sundays…. or more of the Sunday ones would become my “others” during the week 🙂 Or is that necessary?

  4. 9-21-2012


    Yes, all of the above. Plus, when you’re spending time with one another daily (or regularly) then alot of the legalism about “must meet on Sunday” falls away.


  5. 9-21-2012



  6. 9-21-2012

    how close do you all (in your local church) live to each other?! 🙂

  7. 9-21-2012


    We mostly live within 10 miles of each other. These are the people that we interact with daily/weekly. However, we have brothers and sisters (close brothers and sisters) who live around the country and around the world.


  8. 9-21-2012

    thank u 🙂

  9. 9-26-2012

    I read your post last week and walked away hoping that the house gathering that I attend, changed it’s format. It is a discipleship ministry group that focuses on empowering, encouraging and equipping people to be followers of Jesus EVERY day. As the months went on (been meeting for about 1 1/2 years), it started to take on rigid characteristics and less community opportunity to freely talk.

    On Monday we were discussing these concerns and the leader asked me if I’d assist the group in setting the tone to be led by the Spirit during our gathering time so that there is fluid encouragement, sharing of how the Lord is opening discipleship doors, singing and prayer for ALL attending. Then the leader will follow up with a time for Biblical teaching and sharing.

    I am so excited, I just wanted to share with someone who seems to be doing similar things. 🙂

  10. 9-26-2012


    Thank you for sharing your news with us! I’d love to hear how people respond to some of the changes.