Friday, May 27, 2011

The Pitfalls of Organic Church (Part 2)

Draw out the wallflowers and reign in the soap boxers

In a truly new testament house church, no one person (or persons) do all the speaking and teaching. I do know of some organic churches who rely on one person, or sometimes a couple of people, to do all the teaching for them. However, it’s my understanding that everyone in the Body of Christ has the freedom to share with everyone else in the gathering based on all the “one another” verses in the New Testament, and Paul’s admonishment that “when you gather together one of you has a hymn, a tongue, a scripture,” etc.

The challenge with the open share model of house church is that some people (like myself) have no problem talking at length about the Scriptures or their experience with God, while others are more shy or prefer to let others take the spotlight.

As a facilitator in our home church, my role has shifted from being the guy with all the answers to someone who limits themselves to no more than two soap box moments per meeting and spends most of the time trying to allow others to share their gifts as directed by the Holy Spirit.

In short, the less I talk the more opportunity I create for others to share from the heart and operate in their gifting to be a blessing to the rest of us. But, this takes practice and intention, and one of the most important exercises in this process is to start paying attention to those who are not talking. Look around the room and see if someone seems to have something on their mind, but isn’t jumping into the conversation. Sometimes these people just need a little nudge, or an invitation from the group to share what’s on their heart. Often in our group we’ll stop and ask if there’s anyone who wants to share something, especially if they’re someone who hasn’t spoken up in the group yet.

I believe that in every house church group there are those who are naturally teachers, some who are adept at providing color commentary to whatever someone else might share, and then there are those who rarely, if ever, speak, but when they do it’s profound. Do whatever you can to draw out those who tend to hide in the shadows of the room and allow them to share more with everyone else. The more you demonstrate your love for their insight and appreciation of their thoughts and ideas, the more they’ll feel comfortable sharing the next time you gather together.

There may even be times when you need to go privately to one or two individuals who seem to do most of the talking. Ask them to help you involve those who are on the sidelines more. Work together to wait before you speak and allow the uncomfortable silences to be filled by someone other than yourself once in a while. The results will be worth the effort, I believe.


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