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I'm honored that you've allowed me to be a part of your Christian life.  Please return often for fellowship, study and prayer.  Thank you very much for visiting.
Love & Hugs,

We continue our frank comparison of the modern large church model with home church gatherings...strengths and weaknesses, including links to related Bible studies.

Continued from Church At Your House

2. Intimate-vs-Corporate: When a traditional church has a weekly 'program' of services to conduct (preaching, music, Sunday-school, etc), the emphasis must be on program, not on individual people. People are sorted into groups to fit the programs offered, not to fit their ministry need. In such a formal setting, genuine relationships are rare. What few need-centered ministries a church can fit in are established "top-down" and designed to be handled corporately, rather than individually (parenting class, Marriage workshop, etc). This is necessary because of the size of the group. Unfortunately, individual needs are often overlooked for 2 reasons: 1. Most needs can't be addressed adequately in such general fashion. 2. Most people won't discuss delicate matters in a large group, especially at the risk of it leaking to the rest of the church. Many churches acknowledge this weakness and create "cell" groups to try to fix it. Unfortunately, these are usually top-down organized and controlled corporately as to leadership and subject matter. With Web-Church home Gatherings, the whole 'program' is individual needs. We regularly eat together, worship together, pray together, study together and share in each other's needs. Sure someone makes plans for the time, but we all understand the Holy Spirit may have different plans and we are sensitive to that. The size of the group automatically establishes intimacy that's very rare in a traditional church setting. People grow comfortable with a few people they see regularly…like an extended family. We believe this meets the Biblical direction for "regular fellowship" and the "one-another's" much better than the traditional corporate model.

3. Flexible-vs-Rigid: The larger the traditional church or denomination the more rigid they must become in doctrine and polity. Polity is the way a group is "governed". If it sounds like the word politics, you've got it. I've served in denominations long enough to know, the larger the organization the more they need to control. It's really a natural outgrowth of the numbers. The more people you have, the more facility and staff you have to buy and pay for. The more you have to pay for, the more people (givers) you have to keep. So, rules are established to keep order and keep from offending large numbers of people. Sound like politics? Perhaps the best example of inflexibility is in the area of doctrine. Each Christian denomination refrains from close fellowship with other Christians if they use a different translation of the Bible or have different interpretations concerning baptism or communion, etc. Usually, no one is overtly chastised but they are talked about and avoided…I've even seen Christian families asked to leave churches because of minor differences in Scriptural interpretation. These things are done to maintain order so they won't offend and lose large numbers of like-minded people.

At Web-Church, we're designed to be flexible in every possible respect. First, we don't have buildings or large paid staffs to support, so, we don't need anyone but God to continue our ministry. So, I don't care who I tick off. Second, we have a very simple doctrine…you studied it in session A3 "Basic Doctrine Of Christianity". Everything else in Scripture is subject to the Holy Spirit leading the individual and their interpretation. Third, your Gathering can make whatever rules you want or no rules and leave everything up to the Holy Spirit. We believe this leaves us open to the Holy Spirit's leading each individual all the time. How could anyone disrupt us? In fact, we have rigid bylaws to protect our very flexibility (see ).

4. Spirit-led-vs-Human-led: Every church and denomination will tell you they are Holy-Spirit-led. Who am I to disagree? This usually means they have a "Spirit-led" person leading the people in teaching, worship, prayer and even giving. Even churches who make an issue about being Spirit-filled only open a portion of their planned program to individuals expressing the Spirit's leading in their personal worship. But there's always the canned sermon, music, prayer and giving as it's been done in the congregation since its founding. That's what I call Human-led. Spirit-led is when the holy Spirit is welcome to speak, sing, pray or teach through whoever He chooses that moment. Spirit-led giving is when people are compelled to act by their hearts…not an offering basket and witnesses. Spirit-led is what Web-Church was designed to be. The on-line worship services are for those who haven't broken the canned-church habit, but our true worship "service" resides at the fellowship Gathering, where we eat together and, "…everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation." (I Cor 14:26) and we, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." (col 3:16) If this all sounds familiar, praise God! It means you learned it in previous sessions.

5. Disciples-vs-Students: Just a reminder. This was covered in the last session. The traditional church, by its design, produces perpetual students…spiritual babies, needing regular spoon-feeding and diaper changing. All of the real teaching and ministry leadership positions are filled by paid professionals, usually brought in from the seminary where they are strongly schooled in the denomination's corporate polity and doctrine. Our small Gatherings are designed for us to live as the body of Christ together in intimate relationship, much like the first disciples, truly knowing each other and living Christ together…this is where discipleship happens and how we can become Spiritually mature.

Conclusion at Church At Your House-3

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