Journeying With Jesus

The Adventure of Faith

Word Time in the House Church

The house church context provides a unique environment for the study and application of God’s Word. When you have 10-20 individuals gathered in close proximity, it is different than speaking to 1000 people in an auditorium or even 40 people in a classroom. The house church gives a great opportunity for people to ask questions, to develop their understanding in a group, to share what the Holy Spirit is saying to them, and to develop points of application in community. In the context of the house church setting we do not want to be the “Sage upon the stage but the Guide along the side.” As such, we have the following guidelines for those who lead the “Word Time” in the House Gathering setting.

Our Goals:

1. Life Transformation The target of our time in the Word is not just to grow in knowledge but to change lives. Knowledge is a beginning step…it must move on to understanding, motivation, and obedience. If what we are studying does not lead to application in our personal lives, we have missed the target. As we apply and obey the Word, we are transformed by the Spirit into the image of Jesus. The content of the study, then, is always the servant of application and obedience. Jesus told us to “teach them to obey all that I have commanded you.

2. Growing Self-Feeding Followers of Jesus From early on, we want believers to be able to go to the Word, have the Spirit speak to them, and be able to feed themselves. Too often believers have relied upon others to feed them. Too often those who have been fed learn to stay in a dependent state for much of their spiritual lives. Jesus said in John 14:25-27, But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. We seek to grow followers of Jesus who can go to His Word and by the work of the Spirit receive spiritual food for growth. Our time in the Word in our House Gatherings then, will emphasize everyone getting into the Word, hearing from God, obeying what we hear, and contributing corporately together.

Our Philosophy:

1. It is Bible Based: Whereas there are many great books out there written by people, our Word Time is focused on the Bible. The majority of time we will focus on a passage of scripture that is a part of a book study or the controlling text of a topical study. In topical studies we want to avoid jumping around to scores of individual verses. Some studies might need to be that way but that is not to be normative for our gatherings.

2. It is Simple and Reproducible: We see ourselves starting new groups with new believers. These new believers will be trained in a “Word-Time” method that can be easily applied thereby avoiding dependency. If we modeled a method that required seminary-trained leaders, everyone would likely stay in a dependent mode. That means we will de-emphasize the preaching/teaching model for our House Gatherings and lean on an interactive, application oriented, corporate study of the Word. We want to initiate the process of “divine discovery together.”Again we are more interested in people obeying the truth they are hearing than having 10,000 bits of new information crammed into their heads!

3. It is Relevant: The Word of God is relevant. It speaks to all cultures and all people throughout all of time. That means a big part of our Word Time will be discussing and applying biblical truths. Word Time must touch our heart, lives, relationships, identities, our failures, our sins, our purposes, our struggles, our missions, and our humanity

4. It is Engaging: Very few of us can hold an audience and keep them engaged for very long. That means we do not see our Word Time as one person doing all the talking. The role of the leader is to open the Word, have it read, and then lead the group in discovery and exploration arriving at a point of personal application. They must study the Scripture first, let it raise provocative and relevant questions, and then guide the group into interacting with the Bible. For the teachers and preachers among us, we must put aside our biases and preferences for the good of the group. Our preachers and teachers will need to find other venues outside of the House Gathering setting to express those gifts. We envision times during our Celebrations, retreats, trainings, and workshops where the teaching/preaching gifts will be more employed.

Our Methodology

Some are rightly concerned that it is important for people to know how to interpret Scripture in context. Some texts are fairly straight forward and directly apply…others will take a little more explanation of the context. One of the best ways to teach people how to do that is to practice it corporately in our House Gatherings. Some basic questions that those who are leading the Word Time should ask include the following:

  1. What does the passage say?
    • What happened?
    • What is being said about God…people?
    • Is there anything in this text that seems odd to us today?
    • What questions does this passage raise that you want to explore?
  2. How was this understood by people in its original context?
    • Is there any background information we need to know to help understand? (This is where the leader can do some background study and act as a resource.)
    • What was going on when this passage was first written?
    • Are there any events leading up to this passage that help us understand it?
  3. What are the truths to learn, principles to apply, commands to obey, examples to follow, or promises to claim that apply to us today?
    • How does this impact your relationship with God?
    • How does this impact your relationships with others?
    • How does this change the way you see your own identity?
    • What area of your life is being challenged here?
    • What is the Holy Spirit showing you about this passage?
    • Where are you struggling as it relates to this passage?
    • How does this impact God’s mission and call in your life?
    • How would you live differently as a result of this passage?
  4. What do I need to apply, obey, confess and repent, or put into action as a result of this study?

Our goal is to make followers of Jesus like Jesus. We thank God for gifted teachers and preachers but we also recognize that growth and transformation must go beyond information. What a unique setting we have in our House Gatherings to press into teaching techniques that lead to application and obedience. The House Church model provides a unique setting where each member helps others to learn how to read, study, come to the Word, ask questions, and hear from the Holy Spirit. The House Church model provides a unique setting where Word-Time can be reproduced and multiplied in thousands of homes across the Central Coast Region. This type of Word Time is part of the DNA of The Gathering by The Bay.

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October 15, 2007 - Posted by | House Church | , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Dave-
    I really appreciated your thoughts on Word time. I’m planning to use excerpts from it in our Wilderness Voices newsletter here in Portland–with your permission, of course.

    I am thrilled to hear of the work there. Praise God! Keep it up, and keep in touch!
    Dan Mayhew, Portland, OR

    Comment by Dan Mayhew | October 16, 2007 | Reply

  2. Hey Dan,

    If anything is profitable feel free to use it! I appreciate the encouragement and your example. Blessings Dave

    Comment by gschwend | October 16, 2007 | Reply

  3. Dear Dave (& Laura)
    I think your site is grand. I definitely would say that we are listenng to the same heavenly broadcast. Keep on brother! I look forward to our next visit. Hopefully it won’t be long.
    In Christ,
    Richard

    Comment by Richard Rounke | October 19, 2007 | Reply

  4. Hello David,

    If the photo on this website is recent it certainly shows that you are happy and well.

    Why didn’t you warn me about taking Highway #1 up the coast to Canada 2 1/2 years ago. I still remember the expression of your face when I told you my intended route. I lost my brakes several times as they heated up so much on all those turns I had to stop to allow them to cool so they would stay effective. I see why we made a special prayer for my journey.

    I arrived in Vancouver safely and discovered that the Winter Olympics in 2010 are creating lots of opportunities. There are massive mass transportation projects going on and the skyline has been littered with cranes since I got here. I have been working an hour north of Vancouver in Whistler. Whistler is to Canada as Lake Tahoe is to California. Very very simular touristy ski town that is booming out of control.

    The price of oil is something else isn’t it? The contractors in Alberta were made aware of their conspiracies by the union office not to allow me to take posted “electrical testing” positions. They are sorry for collaberating together as the paper trail showed proof. They have come around the other way and have posted positions that only a few can take as they require an Electrician/Electrical Testing Technologist all in one. Out of 6000 people there are maybe 12 who have both. These postings are meant for me and they keep them posted for weeks at a time instead of the standard day or two. So in short that matter has been corrected.

    I went to the doctors here in Canada and have been on medication for 2 years. My progononis was not correct but I was very ill, very clinically ill. I am thankful for the drugs as they are not perfect but for the first time in my adult life I can concentrate and function.

    I remember my friend Bruce. The last I heard of this man he was not allowed to go to the 24 hour fitness center nor park in the lot. This is nearly 3 years ago. Have you seen my friend or know where he is?

    With my recently found abilities to concentrate I read the bible you gave me a few times. I did a large research project of about 2 months on my own looking at all of the stories on the holy land, mapping the journeys of Paul and the disciples, king david, gaza , the journey of Abraham from Babalon to Huron and the promissed land, the locations, the wars and powers over the centuries and so much more. I understand the news so much more today.

    Your website is informative as I can see what your up to these days. Earlier this year I googled ya and read some of the world attention you brought during a surmon a few years ago shortly after I met you. God does work in mysterious ways and has shown you a path he wants you to take. Good luck with it. I visit California every few years and will visit Monteray to see one of your projects as I’m sure it will speak for itself…

    Other than that, God bless!

    Sincerely yours,
    David Comeau

    Comment by David Felix Comeau | November 15, 2007 | Reply

  5. I just found your webpage. It is interesting to read the same family name as I have, carried by a minister that obviously has the same vision as I do. Born and raised in Switzerland I am currently living with my family in England. We arrived here a year ago after serving for ffive years as a missionary pastor among the Apache Tribe in Arizona. Here in England the Lord has given us the grace to plant a house church.
    I would love to read from you and bless you in Jesus name
    Tony Gschwend

    Comment by Tony Gschwend | December 4, 2007 | Reply


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