Covenant Life Groups, or other small group settings, are the only way the following Scriptural command can occur.
1 Corinthians 14:26-- "When you come together, EVERYONE has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All of these MUST BE DONE for the strengthening of the church."
According to the Bible, whenever the Church meets, EVERYONE is able to participate--and the meeting is to be like a family gathering. Notice, that according to the Scripture, when "the Church" meets EVERYONE has the opportunity to participate in a VOCAL WAY and that these things MUST BE DONE FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF THE CHURCH.
Do your church meetings function like this descriptive command from the Scriptures?
If not, why not? Isn't this a command from Scriptures as to how the Church is to function when it meets?
Remember the questions I asked at the end of the "relational Christianity" page? If not,click here to go there now to review them. According to the Bible these practices are not to be done that way. Covenant Life Groups can solve all of these issues by following the Scriptures as written. Please, don't get hung up on the name of the group - it doesn't matter what we call them as long as they function properly.
Why Don't All Churches Do What I Am Teaching?
Typically, when people start asking questions about "why things are done the way they are" the responses you get are comments like:
My answer to those type of narrow-minded responses is "I can't be in error, or fanaticism, or mysticism if I am doing what the Scriptures specifically instruct me to do regardless of some denominations, or religious groups, private interpretation of the Bible. Let's simply read the Scriptures and do what they say to do. Let's simply "Prove yourselves doers of the Word, not merely hearers who delude themselves." -- James 1:22
The ministry that God has given me was born out of a sincere desire to help other followers of Jesus become a true expression of the Church we see in the New Testament by helping people and ministries to develop basic Christian communities that I call Covenant Life Groups as an expression of the Kingdom of God.
Is the Church Irrelevant Today?
People in our cultures today are saying that the Church they see does not seem to be relevant any more. That all we do is go to meetings, sing a few songs, place some money in an offering plate, and listen to speeches that really don't help them in their daily lives.
If you really look at the lifestyles of the people who are involved in the church and those who are not, is there really a great deal of difference?
Both groups of people seems to have:
Hungry for solutions to their problems people are looking to:
The Church, composed of people in covenant with Jesus that have the LIFE of the Spirit of God within them, is not expressing this life because the structure of the meetings prevents it.
The people of God should be able to help all of these people who are seeking solutions to their problems, but we don't. WHY???????
The Problem = Clergy & Laity Structure
I believe the true underlying cause of this situation is that the Church as we know it is structured with two classes of people: Clergy and Laity.
The Clergy is the professional ministers who supposedly hear from God for us and tell us what He said.
The Laity simply sit like mutes, listen to this professional speaker, hear what is said, forget it in about 30 minutes, and give money to pay this person to hear from God for us and tell us what He said.
Yet, doesn't the Scripture tell us to be doers of the word, not hearers only that delude themselves? Are you are HEARER or a DOER?
Solution to This Situation
In order to overcome this problematic situation, I propose an alternative structure to the institutional church that is so common in our modern cultures.
This alternative structure is as old as the Book of Acts.
My current ministry as a servant of King Jesus is based upon helping people and churches in the development of the basic Christian community through what I call Covenant Life Groups. There are many other names for these small groups such as cell groups, house churches, open churches, etc.
The reason I have chosen Covenant Life Groups is because they are based on the building of covenant relationships, they are places where the life within the covenant brothers and sisters of Jesus can be expressed, and they are simple groups that can meet at any time and anywhere. Acts 2:37-47
People who are hungry for community life and relationships can learn the values of the kingdom of God by first-hand participation in Covenant Life Groups.
People can meet in small groups in homes, offices, boardrooms, restaurants, or any other place you choose.
"Church" becomes a way of life where discipleship and growth occur naturally as everyone has the opportunity to develop their gifts and "Learn by doing" under the mentoring of spiritually mature fathers and mothers in the faith.
We work together to foster accountability and encouragement in order to help people to grow in their spiritual walk with God.
No one lords it over someone else, or hears from God for others, or assumes "leadership" status.
Covenant Life Groups can exist in any culture and are related to each other only by relational ties, no hierarchy of leadership like in the institutional church.
Again, look at the New Testament, Paul only had influence in any of the bodies of believers by relationship. His ministry as an apostle was a functional ministry, not a governmental position.
His primary calling was that of "servant of Jesus Christ". His primary functional ministry was that of an apostle, one of the "equipping" ministries -- or church planter.
We will examine the functional equipping ministries later in this website.
2 Timothy 2:2 -- "And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will able to teach others also."
I call these related small groups a "cell-based network" simply because they function as the smallest functioning unit of the body of Christ. No frills, no catchy names, just simple functionality.
Now I know this "cell-based network" composed of Covenant Life Groups sounds like a contemporary concept, but it is really not; in fact, it is the way the New Testament Church operated in the Book of Acts in its early formation. Remember, on the first day the church was born it had over 3000 born again believers. How did they handle this? they had no church building to meet in and they had no trained "pastors" to handle that many people. They simply gathered together in their homes as they could and allowed the Holy Spirit to pastor them in the beginning.
God gave us the pattern to follow, but because of some men's great desire for power and control, the people have allowed the simple structure to be adulterated and changed.
The New Testament believers did not "go to church" or join the church -- THEY WERE THE CHURCH.
These followers of Jesus, who had had their lives changed because of encounters with the risen King, practiced their faith as spiritual families, met in homes, and radically changed the world.
They grew in number daily as they obeyed God by sharing their lives together in community in small groups like the Covenant Life Groups.
All three primary functions of the new testament Church occur within the flexible structure of the small group design of the covenant life groups:
This is the lifestyle we as covenant partners with Jesus are actively pursuing in this ministry.
If this is the lifestyle you hunger for, then this is where you have an opportunity to grow in your relationship with God and His other children.
Christians who participate in Covenant Life Groups, as well as myself, do not think they have arrived, or are better than people who meet in other church structures.
We are simply pilgrims on a journey of faith seeking to please Him as we come under His loving Lordship and learn to live a new life in a new way -- in community relationships.
(NOTE: We do not live in any type of "commune". We live just like all other citizens in a society.)
As we endeavor to grow in that relationship with Him, we simple sense that we must share this life with others as God enables us to.
Covenant Life Groups are very fluid and and can function like a house church structure or as a cell-group structure or as any other small group type of structure.
I do not say my way is the only way or the right way.
Jesus said, "I will build My Church..." It is His Church and He can build it any way He wants to.
© Copyright 2010-2017. All Rights Reserved. Rob Board Ministries.
"Declaring the New Covenant and that the kingdom of God is at hand"
Rob Board Ministries
Christiansburg, Virginia 24073