Starting this weekend, Restoration is making a shift in how we practice worship together during these difficult days. Currently, we’re still unable to gather as a whole family for the foreseeable future, but we aren’t about to let that interrupt the unity, mission, and family that makes us who we are! So this weekend, we’re shifting our strategy in this season towards growing to become a network of Home Churches.
For the past 4 months, we’ve posted our Sunday gathering on Facebook and our website to watch together at 11am. And while this has been a blessing and a place of unity, there are plusses and minuses to this strategy. On the positive side, we’ve been able to continue moving in the same direction as a Church family, learning from the Scriptures and being shaped and called to practice the way of Jesus right where we are. But on the negative side, simply watching a video lends itself to passively consuming content in isolation. And spiritual growth never happens in isolation!
We want to make a shift from performance to participation. Instead of simply sitting and watching a video on our own, we want to encourage community and participation as we gathering for worship! From our inception, we’ve made it clear that Church isn’t a service, it’s people – a family. Our service, both in gathered and scattered forms, exists to equip and empower the people of God to live out their calling as restorers in the world. For this reason, Church is irreducibly communal. We’re not simply a collection of individual spiritual journeys. We’re a family, walking with Jesus together.
And that’s where Home Churches come in. In this season of being unable to gather, we want to continue in the discipline of community through safe, wise connection. Hebrews 10 challenges us:
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV
This passage doesn’t speak exclusively to larger gatherings, but rather to a commitment not to live our spiritual lives in isolation. We need regular, intentional connection and encouragement, especially in times like these. And for this season, Home Churches help us live this out. So – how do I “Home Church?”
Find A Family. In Matthew 18, Jesus reminds us of this comforting truth: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20).” In this season, we are challenging you to find at least 1-2 people that you can regularly connect with, encourage, challenge, and join for worship. This can happen in a variety of ways: in a family household, via the internet (Zoom, social media), in one of our community groups (new ones coming soon!), or organically. Either way, find some folks to be consistent, intentional, and open with. If you’re interested in connecting with an already existing community group, click here. If you’re interested in starting a new Home Church, email us!
Find A Time. Aristotle tells us that “we are what we repeatedly do.” In other words, it’s only by intentional, habitual connection that spiritual families can flourish. So after you find your family, find a time that you’ll regularly connect for worship together. For some, this will continue to be Sunday morning. For others, they’ll gather for worship with their community groups in Home Church environments throughout the week. The “when” isn’t as important as simply having a consistent time for connecting around worship together!
Worship Together. Each week, we’re working hard to equip you to join and participate in the worshiping family that is Restoration. At restorationlex.com/thisweek, you’ll find a guide for Home Church worship centered around three movements: worship, word, and witness. Worship is all about praise and prayer (you can use Hannah’s video or do worship on your own – we’re happy to equip you!), Word is all about being formed by the teaching of the Scriptures to be like Jesus, and Witness is all about talking it out and living it out in community! Each message will push you towards conversations and questions to process with others, so you can dive into the Scriptures together to hear God’s word afresh.
Does this mean every group will look the same? Of course not? We’re trusting Home Church leaders to shepherd and lead towards whatever edifies and disciples each community best. And as leaders, we’re committed to helping you shape your time together fruitfully. On top of this, our online worship will still be available for viewing on Facebook Live at 11am!
Be Safe! In times like these, we must be committed to flexibility, courage, and a whole lot of grace. With the ebbs and flows of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re weekly navigating what is the safest, most neighbor-loving response to where we find ourselves as a country, and this especially applies to Home Churches. If you are meeting in person, we highly encourage you to follow the guidelines of the CDC as laid out here. If a group is unable to gather safely, we encourage Zoom video meetings in their place, where screen sharing can allow the group to participate in worship together. Finally, we trust each family to make the wisest decision for themselves in the days ahead. There is no guilt or shame is being cautious. When we can take calculated risks, let’s have the courage to do so. But when it comes to safely, we trust you to do what’s best for you and your family.
How Will This Impact Our Future?
Currently, gathering as a whole family is not an option. Can this change in the future based on guidelines and ability? Sure! But until then, we’re committed to investing in community where we are, how we can. Home Churches aren’t a new concept. In fact, they were the primary form of Church in the New Testament! In the first 300 years of the Church, historian Rodney Stark estimates that a community of around 1,000 believers grew to as much as half the Roman Empire – all meeting almost exclusively in homes. In other words, Home Churches are a way to get back to our roots!
When this crisis passes and we’re able to return to worship together, our prayer is that we, too, have grown exponentially stronger as a Church, blooming where we are planted and bearing fruit in the ordinary lives and homes of people all over central Kentucky. Right now, we believe we’re planting the seeds of renewal and restoration in our city through the Spirit’s empowering work in the everyday stuff of our lives.
If you have questions about Home Churches or are interested in getting involved or starting one, let us know! Until then, visit restorationlex.com/thisweek to see where we’re heading together!