The excitement in anticipating the birth of a child is immeasurable. I’ve shared this awesome feeling of fulfillment and wholeness with my spouse Nerice. Then of course the birth of our three children. Not taking for granted but rather the recognition of the pain Nerice carried and went through conception, labor and giving birth. I’m pretty sure all the mothers that have given birth to their children share the same feelings.
I’ve spoken a number of times on the vision for Wayside of giving birth to a daughter church. It has always been my vision as shared with our congregation and friends the birth of a new church, a new place of worship in American Canyon. There is the recognition and realization that it’s not easy. But knowing that it is the will of God that we do the mission of the church, that is, “Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” (Matthew 28:19,20), I have the courage and confidence that we can realize this vision. We need to work on it together.
From the United Methodist Church website, I find this resource very helpful to affirm our mission and vision. I would like to invite you to think about where Wayside is in this description and where are you at in the call to the congregation’s vitality:
“The mission of The United Methodist Church is to “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” (Matt. 28:18-20; Matt. 22:36-40). This mission is achieved through vital congregations that equip and empower people to be disciples of Jesus Christ in their homes and communities around the world.
Vital congregations are:
- Spirit-filled, forward-leaning communities of believers that welcome all people (Gal.3:28)
- Places where disciples of Jesus Christ are made through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:18-20)
- Communities that serve like Christ through justice and mercy ministries (Micah 6:8, Luke 4:17-21)
Vital congregations have:
- Inviting and inspiring worship
- Engaged disciples in mission and outreach
- Gifted, empowered and equipped lay leadership
- Effective, equipped and inspired clergy leadership
- Small Group ministries
- Strong children’s & youth ministries
We’re on the right path of equipping and empowering our congregation to live a vital life. We need to be on this journey together. Each and every one of us has a part in this endeavor.
We have introduced in American Canyon the House Church as a model for creating new places of worship for new people with the help and support from some of the members of the congregation, retired clergy Winton Crus and some friends. Thanks to the Bulaun Family for hosting us for a month. We’ve shared meals, studied the Bible, worshipped and celebrated communion.
It is our goal to meet more people, invite more people, engage more people and worship with more people. It is our goal to serve more people, help advocate for the rights and needs of the needy people.
One of the keys to the growth of house churches is to get more contacts. Creating new places of worship for new people is a CONTACT GAME. We need your help in referring new people to us and help us in reaching out to the unchurched people.
It is a great joy to see how members of our congregation are supporting the new church start in American Canyon.
From the Faith Link, here is another helpful resource:
“One of the first questions our church had to answer was the most important: What is church? One familiar memory verse from the Bible is, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them” (Matthew 18:20). Any small gathering of Christians who invoke the name of Jesus is a manifestation of the body of Christ.
But a functional definition also needs to describe what a house church is not. A house church is not simply a Bible study or a small group. Our distinction is that a house church gathers to focus upon God through worship. A Bible study or small group gathers to focus upon their own learning or spiritual growth. Of course, both worship and small groups overlap, and both should spill over into the life of the believers and create a life of discipleship.
Our network of house churches arranges to meet outside of our house church gatherings, too. We meet at bars and restaurants, in homes and at public events, because an authentic community can’t afford simply to touch base for less than an hour each week. Much like larger churches, our house churches have small groups—not vice versa.
What happens in a house church? House churches vary as much as “traditional” churches. They may have an order of worship or no set plan at all. They may gather around a meal. They may or may not do corporate singing. Our house churches split our time four ways: We check in and pray for one another, we spend some time in liturgy and Scripture reading, we have a message and discussion, and we share Communion. If someone with musical talent is available, we also sing.
In everything, the emphasis is on keeping things simple and replicable. If the house church becomes overly dependent on one person or one structure, it cannot reproduce itself.”
So brothers and sisters, what do you think? I encourage us to invite people to join us in our House Church meetings to be hosted by some the members of Wayside and also some of our friends who live in American Canyon. Can I count you in?