First, the church got off to a rocky start due to a doctrinal issue that I thought had been covered but in the end I guess I had not done so to the degree it needed to be covered. The lesson I have learned is to make sure that key doctrinal areas are covered. Even if you think you may have covered them make sure you reiterate them again to get a consensus so as to avoid surprises.
One of the great positives has been the setting of the Lord’s Day service being in our house. This has made things seem a whole lot more relaxed and, at least to me, conducive to building community. What I have found though, and this may be a Southern California thing is that the fact the church is in our home may be foreign to some that are so used to the usual church building. The other thing I find myself dealing with is helping people see the difference between us having church in our house and being a house church. The main difference is, again this may be a Southern California thing, that most house churches seem to be more of a bible study than an actual church and the goal of SGCF is to be a church, no matter the setting.
It has a been a great joy when the smaller children join in with singing and take part in the service as a whole. What better way to learn to be part of a body of believers than to be with other adults from the beginning. In talking to some parents their main concern is that their children, who are usually used to the Sunday School routine, may not sit still. My usual comment is that we are here to help and it will take time but the results are well worth the effort. The longer one resides in the routine of Sunday School and youth group the harder it is but as I see this form of worship as the most biblical God will empower us to have the patience and stamina to change old habits. The other thing that greatly helps children to sit through a service is regular family worship, at home. We try and give tools for home worship such as a catechism for the month and a CD of the month’s songs that can be used to aid family worship at home. The family that has children that worship at home regularly will find it much easier to have them sit during the Lord’s Day.
On a personal note the study I have had to do while preaching through the book of Hebrews has given me insight into Hebrews that I have never had before. As I study I simply cannot fathom how one can down play the atonement of Christ by the sacrifice of Himself on the cross for the forgiveness of sin unless one simply ignores this book. As I read and study it is so clear that ones view of the cross will influence ones view of everything else. I can only surmise how others in our church are growing as we go through this book but I know I have grown in my time in Hebrews.
As we go into a new year we are excited to see how God will use SGCF. I pray that although we refer to ourselves as a Family Integrated Church people will understand we do not worship the family but the God who created the family to worship as he desires to be worshipped. As we move further along God’s path for us I will share the journey God is leading us on. I would also ask for your prayers for this year that God would use us as He sees fit to reach His world for His glory.
If you are in our area and looking for a place to worship we would enjoy having you worship with us on the Lord’s Day. You can check out more about the church on our website: Sovereign Grace Christian Fellowship.