Monday, January 24, 2011

Rotating Helps

When the church gathers in a certain house, the reality is that a greater burden falls on those who actually live in that particular house.

In our fellowship, five families are currently meeting together on a regular basis.  That makes for 25-30 people.  By American standards that is a lot of people under one roof.  Many people equals more stress.  It's just the reality of the situation.

Additionally, when people are coming over to your home, what do you do? You probably pick up the living room, make space in the kitchen for the food, shove various and sundry things in closets and under beds, vacuum, wipe the crust off the bathroom, etc.  This takes time and effort.

Please hear me when I say that these are not bad things.  Hosting a house church gathering is wonderful.  I love it so far and look forward to doing this for the rest of my life.

Another thing to keep in mind for us men: when people are coming over, it probably means more stress for our wives than for us.  They tend to do the cooking, they tend to get the kids ready, they tend to be more concerned with the looks and smells of the house.  Thank God for the ladies!  If not for them, we would be gathering in more of a locker room atmosphere.

There are certainly things we can all do to help this process.  Families who aren't hosting should take the bulk of responsibility for the cooking.  Our house fellowship hasn't yet made this decision, but we will likely discuss it. Visiting families can also provide other necessities such as cups, plates, etc.

One huge help in our house fellowship has been rotating homes.  So far (since we've been involved) we have gathered in three different homes. This takes the stress off any one family and lets everyone share the load. No one is burdened by having to host every week.  It would of course be easiest and maybe most convenient to always meet in the biggest house, but this is a lot to ask of the family who resides there.

My simple suggestion to all house fellowships is that you set up some sort of rotation so that no one family is over-burdened and so that everyone knows where the next meeting will be.  You may be limited by the size of certain homes, but if you even have two places where you can gather this will be of great benefit to all involved.

Addendum: we are greatly blessed in this country to have the size homes we do.  In many places around the world families live in homes that are barely big enough for the family itself.  Believers somehow find a way to meet in homes, but I'm sure they are extremely crowded.


Norma Hill - aka penandpapermama said...

Why not sometimes have gatherings at two small houses instead of one larger house?

It will be a joy for the people who live in the smaller houses, and finally get to host.

There's a good chance that some people who are shy in the larger gatherings, might more likely participate in the smaller gatherings.

The people who live in the smaller houses might be able to invite friends or relatives who wouldn't come to the larger gatherings but who would come to a gathering in the house of their friend or relative.

People who are poor and feel uncomfortable coming to a big house might be happy to come to a small house.

Jesus' core group was 12. That's something to consider, too.

In good weather, have full gatherings in small houses, and let the gathering spill out into the yard, patio, porch or whatever. The neighbors might even become interested. Invite them over!

One time we belonged to a "life group" and no one wanted to host, so we offered our small home. Most of the people loved it. But one family didn't; they thought it was too crowded, because some people had to sit on the floor on cushions. So they went and found a bigger home for the group to meet in, without even talking to us about it. That really hurt, at the time. (Just saying...)

We kept meeting with that group at the new location, but we started putting on a pot of soup (or spagetti or chili or whatever) every Sunday afternoon, and invited anyone and everyone we met. Sometimes 35 or more people would turn up to our little house. We only had about 10 bowls, so we just kept washing them. There were rich people and people off the streets; families, couples, lonely singles and elderly. Some people came regularly; some off and on. Jesus was always among us. And nobody ever, ever complained about how crowded it was. Funny thing, the people who moved the life group from our house to a bigger house became regulars at the soup gatherings. And wonderful close brothers and sisters in the Lord!

Eric said...


Thanks for your ideas. I love the flexibility and your inclusion of unbelievers, neighbors, etc.

I hope this post didn't sound like a complaint. I was just trying to encourage folks to be flexible. Your ideas help with this.

Norma Hill - aka penandpapermama said...

lol I didn't sense any complaints at all.

I totally got the "flexibility" theme, and I was just adding my 2 cents, from personal experience.

Aussie John said...


Your thoughts are spot on.

Understand that the group is still in its teething stages, I suspect that as it grows in its ability to function, a group as large as you state will be found to be large for proper interaction.

Eric said...


I'm not sure what will happen, but I'm looking forward to the process. My hope is that eventually we will have to split into multiple groups due to people coming to Christ.

Scott said...

Greetings to my brother Eric, and the church that meets in his home, Grace and Peace unto you all.

Perhaps you all might find a suitable sized building in a central location to your homes that would comfortably accommodate the this group of believers as it grows.

In addition it may be useful to select a spiritually gifted pastor/teacher, (just call him "the pastor") who could dedicate the majority of his time to equipping the other believers (saints) for the work of service, so that the body of Christ might be further edified.

Just a thought - haha you know I'm having some fun with you - it's a joke - just a joke :)

On a serious note we were vacationing last weekend in Gatlinburg and had church in our rental cabin Sunday AM, there were 13 of us and it was a great participatory time of fellowship, worship, prayer, discussion, reading of the word, singing of hymns, and edification.

Blessings, Brother Scott ><>

Eric said...


That gathering you had sounds like it was excellent. I'm glad it happened. I hope you had a great vacation as well.

For what it's worth, I do think your church has made some very positive decisions about how to be the church in terms of community and unity. God bless!

Alan Knox said...


This may sound strange or weird, but instead of splitting into to different "house churches" when too many people are gathering in one place, why not encourage the people to host gatherings in their homes at different times during the week. Then, if four or five families host gatherings, you can meet together with different groups at different times. I'm not saying that you and your family should try to attend all the gatherings every week. But, think about the joy of getting together with old friends (and hopefully new friends) occasionally.


Eric said...


I love those ideas. The flexibility is awesome. My hope is that we will eventually move in this direction. It is difficult to coordinate schedules, but I believe we will eventually do something like you are saying.