The meetings of the Church in the Covenant Life Groups I have described are much different than the gatherings in the vast majority of church gatherings most people have been involved in.
They are very informal, fluid, and are not orchestrated by some human person.
That is what makes them so incredibly exciting to participate in because they are always different.
The entire purpose of these groups is to build up, encourage, edify, and equip the people who are there. It also allows freedom to minister to anyone there that might need specific ministry in any area of life.
This is what is accomplished as the Holy Spirit is allowed to move as He desires, not as we desire.
Here is a sample description of a Covenant Life Group functioning.
ARE YOUR MEETINGS LIKE THIS DESCRIPTION?
As the people begin to arrive at a home they will simply fellowship over some coffee or tea and maybe some chips, etc.
The children will play with each other for a while.
About starting time, no real set-in-stone time, someone while say, "Hey, don't we need to get started?" And we'll all pile into the living area or other designated area and find a spot in a chair, on the sofa, in front of the fireplace, or on the floor.
We may start by singing , or we might not.
We're flexible in how the meeting will occur because we all sincerely want the Holy Spirit to set the agenda and to lead us. We have learned that this is very exciting because people come excited to see how He is going to lead the group.
There is no one "in charge" who acts as the Master of Ceremonies, but there is always a mature disciple of Jesus that functions as a shepherd, or pastor, of the group. His function is to care for the group and to be a model for equipping and training in the work of the ministry. I will develop his function a little later in the website.
This meeting is "where two or three are gathered in My name, I Am in their midst." The great "I AM" is in charge of this meeting to work in us and through us to accomplish His intended purpose for us getting together tonight.
If the group has been studying a particular subject, we may start with a reading of a passage of Scriptures related to that subject.
After reading it, we will discuss the text, make observations or applications, and share insights as a group.
This is not a gathering of trained mutes.
Somewhere along the line, several might relate a testimony or experience they had during the week (all things that are said during the discussion times are to build up and edify the entire group).
Almost every week one or more of the brothers or sisters will bring a teaching or exhortation from Scripture. These will be from 5 to 20 minutes long. These are never monologues, they are dialogues and group discussions of the subject matter.
It can be amazing to see some of the insights and applications that normal non-clergy people can receive from God as they yield themselves to the Holy Spirit.
As discussion takes place, people are free to ask questions and anyone can respond if they believe they are being led by the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes the discussions can get lively and a more mature disciple of Jesus may need to step forward to calm things.
After all, everything is to be done to build up and edify, not tear down or discourage.
Again, it is amazing to see how the Holy Spirit can orchestrate everything when we allow Him to be in control.
Anytime during the meeting the gifts of the Spirit are allowed to operate IF they build up, encourage, or edify the people. We never allow undisciplined manifestations that cause confusion.
After a while it gets quiet because everyone has run out of what the Holy Spirit gave them to say or do.
We will begin to pray usually in a conversational style.
We pray for specific requests and needs, for those still in darkness, for other church bodies, and for each other.
We all keep a prayer log with requests so we can keep a record of how God answers our prayers.
After prayer, there is another time of fellowship. There is no defined ending time. People are free to leave or to stay and fellowship as long as they choose -- we are family.
The intent is for true covenant relationships to be formed and forged by the Holy Spirit through our "koinonia". A good time of fellowship, learning, encouragement, and mutual participation is usually had by all. And the Church is strengthened and built up by the Holy Spirit.
Many times groups choose to have their meetings on Sundays and have a covenant meal (communion) together. This is a full meal (usually pot luck style) where we break bread together just like Jesus and His disciples at the "Last Supper" and celebrate our blood-covenant relationship with Him and each other.
In addition to this weekly meeting the people get together during the week to do things together just like family members.
There are also special times when we will have special training meetings for instructional and discipleship purposes and to bring together as many of the followers of Jesus in a geographic area as possible to celebrate Jesus and His kingdom.
These special gatherings are like a family reunion where all of the brothers and sisters in God's family in a geographic area get together.
But all of these things are coordinated by the Holy Spirit as we endeavor to hear from Him and follow His leading as a group.
Remember, the Church meeting is for participators -- not spectators!!
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"Declaring the New Covenant and that the kingdom of God is at hand"
Rob Board Ministries
Christiansburg, Virginia 24073