The most important yet emptiest thread on CARM.

Bonnie

Super Member
So you just resort on people for fellowship?

I know your sort.
What are you talking about? We "fellowship" with Jesus Christ each and every time we meet for worship, and whenever we spend time in prayer with Him.

So, what "sort" am I anyway?
 

BMS

Well-known member
My fellowship of the 6-8 of us has been meeting and praying for 21+ years now.
Its what most of the church does in China, and may well soon be the way things will be in most if not all of the west.
 
I have been watching as a group of people meet every Wednesday night in a home. I notice them because they all drive huge SUVs and use up all the street parking in a very small space where people park to take walks down to the beach. I don't know why they meet or why on Wednesday evening. I asked two immediate neighbors. They don't have any idea what is happening. I asked a woman who parks there what she thought these people might be doing on Wednesday nights. She didn't know. This just started happening in the last few months. These people just show up and leave without talking to anyone else in the community. Immediate neighbors don't know what is taking place. This could be a terrorist cell for all anyone knows. I saw someone leaving and they were carrying a book. What sort of book? Just a book. Nothing other than a book. Didn't look like a Koran. It wasn't a Torah scroll. Could be a novel. One neighbor suggested it might be a book club. The lack of interest in what is happing on a street with only six houses total is a reflection of suburban culture. We don't take notice of what is happening in our own back yard. We don't care. We aren't even curious about what happens two doors down. I think it is a home fellowship but I don't know. I have a background in 'social science' and take an interest in human behavior. Particularly group behavior. Small groups are an object of fascination. Why people do what they do in small groups. The church started out as small groups.
 
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Rockson

Active member
I'm just sad at this. I keep trying to "get plugged in" to "Life Groups," as they call them. I don't think churches think Christian fellowship outside of a sermon is important.

Thoughts?
I don't think they think of it as not important but their actions do lean towards bringing them into their big auditorium, hear the song team worship, announcements, then hear the Pastor's sermon. Right before that though they do encourage everyone to turn around and shake hands with everybody for about 5 minutes then make your way quickly back to your seat to hear the sermon.

I know if you ask one if they forsake the fellowshipping of yourselves together as Heb 10:25 warns us not to do people would say NO....they went to church on Sunday but is shaking hands for a few seconds saying, God bless you and see you next week.....really fellowship? I think some convince themselves that it is. One could say it is I guess but it only is in diminished, water downed way.

Fellowship really means where each member of the body is in real communication with others....strengthening and encouraging one another....you've got things that God has done for you that when you share it it inspires me and the same with me towards you. When you're going through a problem other Christians are there to pray in agreement with you and each one looks for whatever way to encourage the family (of God) Can't do that with, "Hey how you doing....oh by the way....see you next week!"

That's not to say the fault is to be put upon Church leaders if this is how it plays out. All the saints in the pews KNOW they can invite people over to their homes or go out to other places and really develop relationships. Some people do and make real fellowship happen and it never should be considered something one has to do but rather what you get to do. It brings pleasure to the heart of God to know his family is functioning in the way he intended.
 

Rockson

Active member
I have been watching as a group of people meet every Wednesday night in a home. I notice them because they all drive huge SUVs and use up all the street parking in a very small space where people park to take walks down to the beach. I don't know why they meet or why on Wednesday evening. I asked two immediate neighbors. They don't have any idea what is happening. I asked a woman who parks there what she thought these people might be doing on Wednesday nights. She didn't know. This just started happening in the last few months. These people just show up and leave without talking to anyone else in the community. Immediate neighbors don't know what is taking place. This could be a terrorist cell for all anyone knows. I saw someone leaving and they were carrying a book. What sort of book? Just a book. Nothing other than a book. Didn't look like a Koran. It wasn't a Torah scroll. Could be a novel. One neighbor suggested it might be a book club. The lack of interest in what is happing on a street with only six houses total is a reflection of suburban culture. We don't take notice of what is happening in our own back yard. We don't care. We aren't even curious about what happens two doors down. I think it is a home fellowship but I don't know. I have a background in 'social science' and take an interest in human behavior. Particularly group behavior. Small groups are an object of fascination. Why people do what they do in small groups. The church started out as small groups.
Couldn't help but smile when I read your post. Sounds like a Twilight Zone episode from the 50's "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"

Some strange noise is heard in the sky over a subdivision. All the power goes off and stays off. They thinks there's been an alien invasion. Maybe some of their neighbors are aliens too? Why is it one neighbor had a ham radio down in his basement! Who has he been talking to anyway? What about another who one saw a different neighbor go out in the middle of the night and just stares at the sky? He's connecting to his alien friends? Why is it that yet another neighbor's car turned on with power and nobody elses would? They all began fighting one another thinking everybody was an alien except themselves. Then the REAL aliens who made the noise and turned off the power in a far off location just sat back and laughed. This was how they'd conquer the whole world....just make a funny noise, tweak the power and back off. The people themselves will do themselves in.

These people just show up and leave without talking to anyone else in the community. Immediate neighbors don't know what is taking place. This could be a terrorist cell for all anyone knows. I saw someone leaving and they were carrying a book. What sort of book? Just a book. Nothing other than a book. Didn't look like a Koran. It wasn't a Torah scroll. Could be a novel. One neighbor suggested it might be a book club.

I don't know Stirling. Next time you see the guy with the book maybe you should just run up and grab it out of his hands and run away then check out what's in it. Or maybe you can just ask, "Hey you guys what's going on?" There's no excuse for anyone to be carrying a book that we can't know what it is! Hahaha....sorry folks couldn't resist. :)
 
Couldn't help but smile when I read your post. Sounds like a Twilight Zone episode from the 50's "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"

Some strange noise is heard in the sky over a subdivision. All the power goes off and stays off. They thinks there's been an alien invasion. Maybe some of their neighbors are aliens too? Why is it one neighbor had a ham radio down in his basement! Who has he been talking to anyway? What about another who one saw a different neighbor go out in the middle of the night and just stares at the sky? He's connecting to his alien friends? Why is it that yet another neighbor's car turned on with power and nobody elses would? They all began fighting one another thinking everybody was an alien except themselves. Then the REAL aliens who made the noise and turned off the power in a far off location just sat back and laughed. This was how they'd conquer the whole world....just make a funny noise, tweak the power and back off. The people themselves will do themselves in.

These people just show up and leave without talking to anyone else in the community. Immediate neighbors don't know what is taking place. This could be a terrorist cell for all anyone knows. I saw someone leaving and they were carrying a book. What sort of book? Just a book. Nothing other than a book. Didn't look like a Koran. It wasn't a Torah scroll. Could be a novel. One neighbor suggested it might be a book club.

I don't know Stirling. Next time you see the guy with the book maybe you should just run up and grab it out of his hands and run away then check out what's in it. Or maybe you can just ask, "Hey you guys what's going on?" There's no excuse for anyone to be carrying a book that we can't know what it is! Hahaha....sorry folks couldn't resist. :)
Believe it or not I was doing some research on Rod Stirling yesterday. I think the current cultural situation is something Rod Stirling would have appreciated.



The cryptic narrative about Wednesday night meetings reflects fall out from the recently revised lockdown guidelines. People are starting to gather on a small scale. The meetings were not happening in 2020. The park entrance is an alternative used by a growing number of people. Using the parking lot in the park hasn't been safe for decades. Recent Videos of man/woman "smash and grab" teams are on facebook. The piles of broken glass are cleaned up periodically.

TWILIGHT ZONE
"I am NOT LIVING IN THE PARK. I was NEVER living in the Park." I have been occasionally conversing with a 39yo man who calls himself Mickey. He isn't homeless and doesn't live in the Park. He has a job that starts at 3am in morning so his habits are somewhat confusing to onlookers. He leaves his Altima parked at the same location mentioned in the previous narrative. He has set up an open air "office" in a rain drainage culvert constructed in 2020 to control erosion this is 50 yards up the hill from "North Beach" just south of the park's north boundary with Shorewood on the Sound. The last I looked his open air office had been removed.

Micky was reading a famous essay by "Walter Benjamin" on Art in the age of Mechanical Reproduction. Some of the neighbors have noticed his presence and assumed he was homeless. His location in the park is only visible from a the north beach trail which a very small percentage of park users even know about much less frequent. Darcy a 30 southing woman who owns a house a the dead-end of the street where Micky parks his Altima asked me what he was doing at his "office." She was concerned about disrupting his privacy at his camp site (aka Office). This reflects the views of a life time resident of Seattle who grew up and went to School in Ballard. Darcy is a Seattle native from Ballard and she has never heard of Mark Driscoll.

Micky isn't bothering anyone. He runs in the park. His office is history. I recently saw him running backwards down a narrow trail I was ascending..He told me he lives in Shorewood on the Sound which is the location of this narrative. He is convinced he has uncovered profound insights in Walter Benjamin. When I suggested a DuckDuckGo search of Walter Benjamin Andy Warhol Mickey became very scornful. He dismissed the idea out of hand.

Walking in the Park is a challenge. It is a multicultural nightmare. Navigating it is a strain which is why some people walk plugged into their mobile and tuned out. "Turn on, tune out, drop out"
 
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civic

Well-known member
Or from any denomination, which has already decided what the "truth" is, and expects its personnel to agree. That IS how denominations function, after all.
That is not true in the churches where I have led small groups we not only discuss the sermon but also other topics as well that are controversial just like on the Arminian/Calvinist forum. I allow it to go into an open forum type discussion and its a good learning tool for the group. On the essentials unity on the non essentials charity.
 

Bob Carabbio

Well-known member
That is not true in the churches where I have led small groups we not only discuss the sermon but also other topics as well that are controversial just like on the Arminian/Calvinist forum. I allow it to go into an open forum type discussion and its a good learning tool for the group. On the essentials unity on the non essentials charity.
When I led Small groups back in the '70s and early '80s, we followed the same concept. NO SUBJECT was off limits, and discussion could go anywhere it wanted. In those days there was a great HUNGER for the Word (since Charismatics tended to be from Liberal denominations that didn't pay much attention the the written Word). I was moving as a Bible teacher independant of Denominational limitations at the time.

When the Charismatic OUTPOURING ended in the late '70s, and turned into the "Charismatic Movement", I went back into the Assemblies of God Denomination as a "church home". The Assemblies of God denomination, however, was VERY AFRAID of "Small groups", and wouldn't permit that soert of free discussion, for fear that it would lead to division in the church, and cause problems. SO they always kept a tight rein (still do) on what went on.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
The Assemblies of God were deathly AFRAID of "Small Groups", because they saw them as Hotbeds of ERROR, and a THREAT to the unity of the Denominational "Official beliefs". Now they have them, but generally under tight pastoral control, and generally limited to discussions of the last sermon -
The church I attend has home groups for married couples.
But no other groups.

Which I find strange because the larger church body of this non-denominational "denomination" has been doing home fellowship groups since not long after it started.
 

BMS

Well-known member
No.wonder church leadership are concerned with error as it is creeping in everywhere. However in principle small fellowships is likely to be the way forward as a woke society shuts down any church which it finds counter cultural.
Or rather a church must tick the lgbtqi+ box; Jesus House in London ticked all the ED&I boxes big time except they hold to God's purpose of man and woman in faithful marriage so they get shunned.. doesnt stop people finding Jesus through them though.
Most of the church in China is home fellowships
 
small fellowships is likely to be the way forward ...

Almost 30 years ago I was having a conversation with Robert Case one of the small army of associated pastors at a mega church that was meeting in Lincoln high school, just north of Gasworks Park in Seattle, when he made a similar comment. Not exactly the same words but something that indicted that the life of the church happened in what they were calling Home Fellowships.

I was a tangential member of a fellowship which met in a victorian mansion North Beacon Hill Seattle. I had known these people for decades and we did stuff together and had meals and did music and art together and read the same books. I introduced one of the men who was doing campus ministry with International Students to a young man who had a radio show called Street Talk. Later on this young man became a source of contention because the college students were being taken to Ballard on Sunday evening to hear this guy and they would come back for a meal at the house and it became sort of cult like and I had problems with it that kept me from affirming what was going on. I sent a college age spy to participate in this Sunday night thing and he came back saying it was a personality cult. This discussion became somewhat divisive because the guy in Ballard was becoming famous and sowing contention among the brethren. My friend from Beacon Hill asked me if I was going to let our 35 year friendship end because of the guy in Ballard. I didn't answer him because I was convinced that this guy in Ballard was poisonous and old believers, people I had respect for, were being caught up in this thing. It all came crashing down five years later leaving who knows how much damage. After the crash, an unofficial association of young men were planting churches all of whom were one time disciples who had seen the light and now wanted to get over what happened when they were associated with the guy in Ballard. My no longer college age friend was meeting with one of these young men and bringing back stories of how wounded these fellows were from their former association. My friend from Beacon Hill returned to Tokyo the place of his birth and was no longer in direct contact with the fellowship of forty years in Seattle.

This is just intended as an illustration of what can happen in small groups meeting in homes. You end up having disagreements over things and your world is invaded by cult like figures which draw your members into their web of deception. It's and old story, reenacted in every generation. I currently talk occasionally with cult survivors from an infamous group called Community Chapel which is now ancient history (fifty years ago). These people had the fabric of their lives ripped to shreds in the early 70s by a false teacher named Donald Lee Barnett, who advocated no end of weird practices among his disciples.

None of this undermines the notion that small groups are ultimately what will keep your faith alive when the institutional churches fail.
 
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ziapueblo

Active member
I'm just sad at this. I keep trying to "get plugged in" to "Life Groups," as they call them. I don't think churches think Christian fellowship outside of a sermon is important.

Thoughts?
My Orthodox parish has many fellowship groups. First off, fellowship time after Liturgy. Kids go to Sunday school and then meet the adults at the parish hall and have a meal. It's great!

We also have many other groups that meet, whether that be a Scripture study class, book club meeting (right now we are reading the screw tape letters by C.S. Lewis), choir fellowship and much more.
 

nomrom

Member
I'm just sad at this. I keep trying to "get plugged in" to "Life Groups," as they call them. I don't think churches think Christian fellowship outside of a sermon is important.

Thoughts?
Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian” or “I am spiritual but I am not religious?

Now some people refuse to go to church because they see it as a house full of liars, hypocrites, gossipers, slanderers, adulterers, snobs and they are right.

What they do not see is Jesus sitting at the Eucharistic dinner with all these sinners. What they also do not see is their own sinfulness behind the smoke screen of self-righteousness. I’m not a liar, I’m not a hypocrite, I’m not a slanderer, I’m not a gossiper and so on. Well if you’re not any of those, what are you because you are some kind of sinner?

We are made to worship. We are all spiritual in that we have a soul, we are all religious in that we show reverence, love and devotion through ceremonial prayer to things our soul considers sacred. To deny one or the other or both is to deny the very essence of who we are. What animates, what moves us, what motivates us? It is our soul. Our soul is our spirit.

One Christian is no Christian. We cannot be a follower of Christ in isolation. We need to belong to the body of the church in a living union with the congregation of the faithful. The Lord called His Church a “vine”, a climbing vine. He is the vine and the faithful are its branches. The congregation of the faithful constitutes an invisible whole, in living union with the Lord. As a branch that is cut off withers and dies, so also every believer who in any way is cut off from the Church, and consequently from the Lord, dies spiritually (John 15:1-6).

The Apostle Paul says this more clearly by calling the Church “the body of Christ”. Christ is the head and the faithful are the rest of the body. And as in the body ever member lives be being joined to the rest of the members, so also no believer can live alone, but only by participating in the common life of all the members, of all the faithful of the Church. Whereas if he is cut off, he dies spiritually and perishes (1 Cor. 12:12-27).

This is why true Christians, throughout the centuries, till today, always felt that they were alive by being united with the rest of the faithful, with the Church. We consider the Church to be our mother. And the saying is true, that he who does not have the Church as his mother, does not have God as his father. But if God is not his father, then who is?

The Lord, through the Apostles, established the Church and endowed it with every salvific means for preservation and expansion on earth. The Church preserves all the mysteries of the faith and the entire truth. In it are found Divine Grace, The Divine Mysteries/Sacraments, and the Priesthood that guides us on the path of salvation. In it rest the benevolence of God, who hears the prayer of the Church and of her children.

It is also important to note that you can’t participate in the Divine Mysteries/Sacraments like the Lords Supper without attending church (1 Cor. 11:23-26). Receiving Holy Communion with the family of God is not only an incredible privilege, but it’s also the responsibility of every true believer. Divine Grace is offered and received in no other way than through the Divine Mysteries/Sacraments that are performed by the Apostles and their successors, as the Lord Himself ordained in the Church. And corporate worship is not only what our gracious sovereign God deserves, but also what He demands.

For these reasons and many other reasons, Christians should take church attendance seriously. The Christian life is to be lived within the context of the fellowship of the saints. The Bible knows nothing of a “lone ranger Christian”. Many logs burning together burn very brightly, but when a log falls off to the side, the embers quickly die out.
 
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