HOW TO HELP CHURCH HOME GROUPS THRIVE

What to look for when evaluating church home groups. Here are six problems that have been observed with suggestions for correction.

1. Unclear purpose. Some groups are designed for outreach, with members inviting others to join. However, others are more closed, with members focused on their own problems with a Bible study tacked on. Many groups, though, do not know their primary purpose. Members struggle, not knowing if they should bare their soul to others, invite the unchurched or both.

Correction: The primary purpose must be about making disciples of Christ that want to share the Gospel with others. All other essential activities should have that primary purpose in mind, whether communion, praise, prayer, Bible study, and testimonies.

2. Bad leading and/or teaching. This is significant problem that must be addressed. I believe each member of the group must have a Biblical World View that they can share.

Correction: Enlist teachers that believe the Bible is inerrant. The following basic knowledge is essential.

Proof the Bible is inerrant are the many fulfilled prophecies. The many unfulfilled prophecies provide a road map for the rest of HIS STORY.

Genesis is a true account of the creation of the Cosmos, The Fall and Noah’s Flood. Understanding Noah’s Worldwide Flood provides an answer for the alleged billions of years of earth’s history is essential. http://www.creation.com

God established the nations at the Tower of Babel.

God established Israel to be His nation as a witness to other nations. Israel’s Messiah, Jesus, came to earth to provide the only way for sinners to come back into a right relationship with our Heavenly Father (“He became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinth. 5:21). Israel rejected Him and were scattered for a time.

Jesus established the church as His vehicle for believers to preach the Gospel to all the world. Prior to Jesus return, there will be a tribulation period when Jesus refines His church before taking His saints to heaven (dead in Christ first then those that are alive) in the Rapture and then pouring out His wrath on the earth (on unrepentant sinners).

Jesus returns to this earth with the resurrected saints, saves a regathered Israel and rules and reigns from Jerusalem for 1000 years. (Satan is bound in the abyss during most of this time but is released at the end and sadly is still able to raise an army to come against King Jesus). He is defeated and this earth is destroyed with fire prior to the second resurrection and the White Throne Judgement.

After the White Throne Judgement, sinners are cast into the Lake of Fire where Satan and His Demons are. For humans this is the second death. God creates a new earth and even a new heaven for His saints to live in, where they enjoy eternal life, creatively engaged, in a glorious new body.

3. Little or no Scripture. Too often attended hour-long Bible studies that included no more than 15-20 minutes of actual Bible study.

Correction: Enlist the best teachers, and make sure they know the expectations. They are responsible for making sure the Bible is taught. Leaders who cannot lead a group to maintain this standard should not be leading.

4. Unfriendly members. A lot of groups say they’re friendly, but are not welcoming of new members. Typically, groups that see themselves as friendly are friendly only to people they know.

Correction: Train members to reach out to people they don’t know. You might even enlist one sociable group member who is first responsible for greeting guests.

5. Not expecting guests. The intent of the group must be outwardly focused. Here are some signs this is not the case: No available seats. No extra curriculum materials. No one ready to get contact information. No one providing or wearing name tags. No one helping guests know where to go after the class. Simply put: A guest who feels like an intrusion will not return.

Correction: Make sure the leader is outwardly focused. Remind the group weekly of their responsibility to invite others. Schedule other activities to which the unchurched might come. Get everything ready for guests who might attend the regular small group meeting. Expect God to bless your preparations.

6. Gossip sessions. All members must be encouraged to be actively engaged in each meeting whether conducting communion, praise, worship, prayer or giving a testimony. Avoid this scenario, in the name, of “prayer requests,” somebody shares information that should likely be kept in smaller circles. The request then becomes a launching pad for talking about somebody else’s problems.

Correction: Enlist a group prayer leader who gently controls the prayer request times. Provide other opportunities to share concerns without gossiping about others.

CONFUSION ABOUNDS IN UNION SEMINARY

On Tuesday, Union Seminary, New York posted a photo of the chapel service which showed a student sitting on the ground before several potted plants to offer confession, mainly over failures to protect the environment.

“Today in chapel, we confessed to plants. Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honour. What do you confess to the plants in your life?” tweeted Union.

Offering their prayers to plants?

The Seminary stated, “We are in the throes of a climate emergency, a crisis created by humanity’s arrogance, our disregard for Creation. Far too often, we see the natural world only as resources to be extracted for our use, not divinely created in their own right—worthy of honour, thanks and care.We have played a deplorable role in degrading God’s creation. We must birth new theology, new liturgy to heal and sow, replacing ones that reap and destroy.”

Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, denounced the chapel event and tweets made in defense of it on his podcast “The Briefing” as coming from a “modern secular worldview.”

“If you do not worship the Creator, you will inevitably worship the creation, in one way or another. That is the primal form of idolatry,” said Mohler.

“We cannot be pleased with the desecration of creation, but we can also not be pleased or ever satisfied with the idea that creation exists unto itself, that human beings are a blight upon creation, and that it is wrong for human beings to exercise dominion over creation.”

Mohler also took issue with Union referring to the plants as “beings,” explaining that a “being is one who has consciousness, and has consciousness of consciousness. A stalk of wheat is not a being, nor is a rhododendron, nor is an oak tree, nor even an acorn, nor is an entire forest. Plants are not beings, but what you see here is the confusion that happens when the biblical worldview is abandoned,” he continued.

Union Seminary was founded in 1836 by a group of Presbyterian ministers and sees itself as rooted in Protestantism. Nevertheless, the school states on their website that they seek to train students of all religions to advance social justice.