What It’s Like Being Apart Of A Home Church

Growing up in mega churches in California…we never thought we would be a part of a homechurch. Not because we were against it, but because it wasn’t on our radar. It wasn’t familiar to us at all. Since moving to Central Oregon, we have been a part of a homechurch and it has been quite an amazing experience. In this episode we chat about our experience in a homechurch and we give some insight on what we do!

It doesn’t matter if you go to a megachurch or a homechurch or something in between…the most important thing is that we participate in the fellowship of the body of Christ! We hope this episode inspires you on your journey of fellowshiping in Christian community.

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– Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.

– Helping you cultivate and extraordinary marriage.

– And today we’re gonna share what it’s like being a part of a home church.

– Thank you so much for joining us this week. As always, we’d like to encourage you to subscribe to our channel so that you don’t miss an episode.

– And always we just wanna invite you to leave comments. We love reading comments, we like going through those and if you are so inclined, we’d love to hear from you.

– So, today’s topic is church, specifically home church because that’s kind of where we’ve been the last couple years. But, my question is, I dressed my Sunday best today, I thought that was, what’s going on?

– This is how I usually dress for church.

– It’s true, it’s true. I’m just giving you a hard time.

– This is my Sunday best. Thank you. Anyways, we’ve actually been asked a few times by people that follow us about our home church experience because every so often we post about it, and people realize like, “Oh, a home church. “What’s that?” They just say, “What’s it like? “What do you do? “How does it work?” And so we just thought that we’d do a whole episode on what it’s like being a part of a home church.

– Yeah, so first let’s just talk about what is home church?

– Well, a lot of people wonder like, is it like a home group or a Bible study and it is kind of similar like that because a lot of large churches will have home groups and you go–

– Like break outs.

– Yeah, you’re a part of a small group and you have this home Bible study and–

– Those are usually mid-week.

– Yeah, they’re additions to where you go on Sunday mornings and that’s not what we do. It’s not just a home group, it’s not just a small Bible study. It’s actually church. We have a structure, we have elders, we have leadership. There’s a way we do things. It’s not just let’s gather and have a conversation.

– Yeah.

– Although some mornings, there’s deep conversation and that’s as far as we get. But for the most part, it’s church in a home. So, it’s a lot simpler than it sounds, but it’s also a lot more complex than it sounds.

– So we’ve been going for about three and a half years now and why don’t we just kind of share our journey with it, like how did you feel when we first started going? I guess I’ll start real quick by sharing why we started going. We were going to a church down the street at the time and a friend of ours was getting baptized in the river, through the home church, and we were invited to go participate and celebrate with them and we showed up and everybody was asked to bring a potluck meal and–

– What did we bring that day? I brought coconut fried potatoes.

– Oh, you did, that’s right. There was a lot of good food.

– I remember we got there and they weren’t crispy anymore.

– Oh, bummer, I don’t even remember that.

– Yeah.

– I remember that Olive was really, really small. We had just had her, so she was probably like a few months old. So we participated in this home church event for this baptism and it was beautiful. I remember just feeling like this is a beautiful community. It felt homey, like family-style.

– The food was great.

– The food was great.

– The conversation was good.

– Everybody came up to us and was interested in talking to us and making us feel welcome. And, honestly, I feel like that next week we kept talking about it and by the next Sunday, we decided just to go.

– Well, I remember all the fears that we had, that we’ll talk about in a little bit, were alleviated on that day. We were watching the baptisms and just the message that was brought and our kids seeing baptisms happening. They’re like, “What’s going on?” It blew me away. I was like, “Oh, this is awesome.” Not that, I mean, we’ve been a part of baptisms before at other churches, but there was just something about this experience.

– The way that they just worked together and moved together, it was just really cool to be a part of.

– Yeah. So, leading up to this, we’ve always been a part of large churches.

– Yep.

– We’ve always been a part of what you’d call megachurches actually. We went to a church that had anywhere from 15 to 30,000 people in a given week, go through all the services. I was raised at Harvest in California with Greg Laurie.

– I was raised at Crossroads.

– Yeah and these churches are large and that was the experience we had growing up was just large churches. Moving to where we live now, we’re going to a slightly smaller church, but still that traditional format, larger. We’ve always enjoyed that. We’ve never been against it all, actually. But, we had all the people in our life that we were fellowshipping with, all of our closest friends, were at this home church and we were over here at this other church, and so there was this conflict of like, “Okay, what are they doing?” And they would always invite us and we’re like, “Oh.” We had these apprehensions.

– Yeah.

– Like, what is home church? What is that? You guys just meet in a house, that just doesn’t, because it was so different than anything we ever knew.

– Yeah, and I think for me it was just that level of being uncomfortable that I didn’t even wanna step into, it was like I could avoid that.

– We were used to be able to going into a large crowd.

– Yeah, you could almost hide.

– You could hide if you wanted to. Which we did, we talked about that in some of our testimony. But, we realized it’s what, only a handful of families, we don’t know anyone, we’re gonna have to sit there, what’s it gonna be like? So there was just all these natural fears and insecurities and what’s it gonna be like? Are we gonna have to be, are they gonna expect us to show up every Sunday? Like these were legitimate things that we thought about. That can kind of kept us for a while from even trying it, even though are friends were like, “Hey, you should come check it out, see if you like it.” Did you have any fears before going into it?

– I remember thinking, “Okay, well, it’s home church, “what do you do with the kids?” because we had two at the time.

– Oh, yeah.

– And so, there was that level of like–

– We’re used to dropping them off at Sunday school.

– Right, and what we heard is that they stay with you and so, I think, me as a mom, I was just kind of like, “How’s that gonna work?”

– “Yeah, right.”

– Elliot was I think two and a half at the time, so, you know, it’s just toddler time, it’s a little bit challenging, can be. And so that was one of things that I think worried about. And the other one was just kind of going from a lot of people to just a little bit, just a handful of people.

– Well, you become much more visible.

– Yep.

– And say, “Okay, we’re gonna sit with our kids,” because that’s one of the biggest differences, and we’ll get to this, is like there isn’t a daycare, it’s at a house so your children are with you. And like now they’re gonna see us and what if our kids are loud and all these things. Those things just kept us from pursuing it. Finally we were invited to that baptism. It was outdoors, it was at a park and it seemed to us like a safe, that’s a safe, “Let’s go check out this “home church and what this is all about.”

– There were a couple things that lingered along the way as we started to go too, like are we forsaking the church by doing it this way?

– It felt so weird, yeah.

– It just felt so different to us that we wanted to make sure that we weren’t doing things wrong or weren’t …

– Well, we wanted to be testing and making sure that we were walking correctly, like is doing it this way okay? Are we allowed to do it this way? Is this wrong to do it this way? And you know what’s funny is we always, no matter what church we were part of, we’ve always had this understanding that the church isn’t a building.

– Right.

– And we would always tell people, and every church is like church is not a building, we are the church. And yet, the moment we’re challenged of stepping outside of the building, we’re like, “Uh, is this okay?”

– Yeah.

– So, in reality, that wasn’t that big of a fear, but it challenged us, it made us think differently. What do we actually believe about church and where we attend? So, let’s transition to some of the biggest topics that people have asked us about it because they know that we have our kids with us, they know that we meet in a home, and there’s certain things that people ask like, “How do you do this and how do you do that?” And the number one question we get is what do you do with your kids because we just talked about that a second ago and that was the biggest transition for us, we’re like, “Wait a minute, “we have to like sit here with them? “Like how are we supposed to hear anything? “How are we supposed to–”

– Honestly, that was really hard for me the first couple weeks that we started going because it was distracting. Our kids weren’t used to sitting with us patiently while a message is being preached. It would have just been Elliot at the time because Olive was just a baby, but he was used to going to Sunday school–

– Where he can just play and move around.

– Where he just played and moved around. So, those first couple weeks that we started going, I remember questioning, “How is this supposed to work “because I can’t pay attention, I can’t hear anything. “I feel embarrassed that my son is being loud playing, “he’s got sound affects going and stuff like that.”

– And he was not even close to like, trained, or ready for that sort of thing and it was very different.

– Yeah, it was.

– It was more than just a couple weeks.

– Here’s the cool thing. I don’t remember exactly, but I do remember this, the people in the fellowship came up to us every single Sunday, before and afterwards, and encouraged us that it’s a good thing for the kids to be there and they also gave us tips on things that we could try to train and teach our kids along the way to help make it better.

– Because a lot of the families had gone through this with all their children, and so like, “Hey, why don’t you train at home.”

– And this is actually when our parenting kind of stepped up a notch and we realized there’s an intentional purpose for us as parents to be teaching our kids throughout the week and to be making sure that there’s things that we’re doing in their lives that they become accustomed to and they become familiar with. One of them is, we call blanket time, or now Bible time, where they either get a blanket to sit on or a little kid’s chair to sit in.

– The few special toys that only get pulled out for blanket time or church.

– Yep. And we do it in the morning so that, if we do it every single day, that was our goal, but we were pretty inconsistent for a while, but if we did it every single day–

– Some weeks we didn’t do it at all.

– By Sunday, they were used to it. And even now, we’re going into having four kids, all of the other three are used to it and that’s because as parents we’ve been consistent in teaching our kids like, there are times where you can be patient. We tell them, even at one years old, you gotta have self-control right now and it’s a repetitive thing and it can be a challenge at times, but that’s what we do.

– And they’re not perfect every time because they’re still kids.

– Yeah.

– And they’re hungry or they’re extra tired or the nap schedule is off, so it’s not like we figured it out and then every week they’re just perfect.

– It’s not perfect.

– There’s some weeks that they’re awesome and everyone recognizes it, and there’s some weeks that they’re harder, and we just have to step up our game a little bit that next week. And if you’ve followed us for any period of time on Instagram, you’ll notice that we post about our Bible time sometimes where we sit with the family, the kids sit in their chairs, I read to them and that’s and intentional way of doing a couple things. It’s to train them to sit and listen for an extended period of time and it’s a way that we as a family can be in the Bible together, and it’s just so good because we’re the one discipling our kids, not the pastor of our church, not other people, we’re discipling our kids. Now, everyone plays a role, but we’re the main ones that are responsible for their spirituality. So, not only was it training them for Sunday mornings, it just turned into a lifestyle that we’re training them throughout the week always.

– Yeah, and I’d love to give a couple tips for those listening who are thinking, “I wanna try doing Bible time,” or even if they’re in a home church and their kids are sitting with them. Some things that we do, we got camping chairs for all of our kids.

– Which works for a little bit older kids, like three to five.

– Yeah, we just got Wyatt one he’s one and a half, a little over one and a half, so–

– He has a hard time staying in it.

– Before one and a half, we do a blanket with special toys that they get to play with. And then our three and five-year-old, they get these little journals that I get from the store with some colored pencils so they can draw. They each have a Bible that they can look through. And then our oldest, who’s five, that’s all he gets. And then our three-year-old also gets like a baby doll or one to two toys.

– Yeah, because she’ll color for awhile and then she’ll be done coloring and then she’ll wanna hold her baby. So, just knowing your children, that’s another thing, like recognizing what helps them. But as they get older, like Elliot, we’re starting to teach him like, “Actually, you can sit quiet longer. “You can just look through your Bible.” We got him a Bible that has pictures in it.

– Yeah.

– So he can flip through it. And the Bible tells us in the Old Testament, it says, “Train up your child in the way he should go, “and when he gets older he will not depart from it.” And so that one thing where we’re like, “Okay, how can we train them to be a part of the church?”

– Yeah.

– And how can we train them to be in the Word of God, how can we train them to have self-control and sit still which are all very valuable things.

– And I’ll be honest. For the first year that we were doing this, it was hard for my flesh because I just wanted to be able to pay attention without being interrupted. I wanted to feel like I was being a part of the church, but eventually I realized that I was still able to participate through prayer and listening and getting the meat of the message as my kids became familiar with the process. And so I just wanna encourage those listening that if you do have small kids, it can be done. And for me it was a matter of a heart shift of I can do both. I can speak quietly to my kids and remind them that it’s quiet time right now and still hear the message and not feel like I’m missing out.

– And the other thing we had to realize, and we were encouraged by others and older people in the church, is that our children are a part of what God’s doing.

– Yep.

– So like us going and just being fed the Word of God is not the only thing that we’re supposed to be doing.

– Right.

– Right, and that’s good, it’s good to hear the Word of God, it’s good to learn it and grow in it and be equipped.

– But it’s not just for us.

– But it’s not just for us. Our kids are a part of that. And so we’re training them and they’re gonna get better and better at that and they will always have been a part of it instead of just eventually we invite them in. So it’s been hard, but it’s been awesome and that’s actually been one of my favorite things about being in a home church is having my kids with me, even though it is difficult.

– Yeah. Another thing I wanna share is on our drive to church, we usually say, “Okay, who wants to give us the run down?” And then between Elliot and Olive, we get the whole–

– The expectations of the day, on them, on what church is gonna be about.

– They talk about, “We’re gonna sit quietly “and we’re gonna be respectful, but we’re also gonna play.” After church is kind of dismissed, the kids help get all the hymnal books and the worship books and put them away, so they’re participating in helping in the process.

– So, we prepare their minds and hearts for what is about to happen. We also use that opportunity, you started doing this a few months ago, saying, “Hey, how can you go and bless “someone today before church? “Can you got to a friend and tell them that they “look nice, how is their week going, “how can you bless someone?” Our son Elliot likes to bring cards that he draws sometimes to give to people.

– How can you encourage someone?

– Yeah, how can you encourage someone? That reminds them and we tell them, “The reason we go to church is to be equipped and trained “to do ministry for God.”

– And to fellowship.

– And to fellowship. And so we teach them what church is even about. And so we say, “Find someone to go and love on.”

– Yep.

– It’s just an awesome thing for our kids.

– So the next thing we’re gonna move into is kind of just like how does home church work, how does it operate for us and what we’ve been used to. So, we usually open up with a time of prayer and praise in the beginning where people can share testimonies, prayer requests, songs that have been on their hearts that they wanna share with the body, and, yeah, I love that time. I think it’s a really great and beautiful time to hear what’s going on in people’s lives, how is God moving.

– It’s usually super encouraging and it’s sometimes humbling because you hear prayer requests and you’re like, “Oh, man, I forgot we were supposed to be prayer for that,” or “Now I know I’m gonna be praying for that more.” And we take the time to pray right then.

– Yeah, which is really nice.

– And then we also use that time to remember what we’re gonna be praying for later. And also like the testimony side, this last week we just testimonies of salvations happening outside the church from ministry and those are so bolstering to our spirits and it encourages us and reminds us of what we’re even gathering for in the first place. But that’s what that beginning time is and how does the worship time, the praise time, because that was another apprehension we had was going from big orchestrated churches with production and the music.

– Well, I remember it kind of jolted me a little bit because I like the big performances, I liked the guitar player and singer at church and we had friends who sang so good at church. We moved to this home church and we sang out of hymnals and what we call the white book, which is more modern, cotemporary songs.

– Yeah, they printed out songs with the lyrics.

– But for the most part there, it’s all a cappella and we just, whoever requests the song, leads it out and–

– If they know it.

– Yeah, if they know it, otherwise they ask someone else to lead it out. Occasionally there’s someone that has the gift of music that brings a guitar or plays the piano for us, which is really nice. But for the most part, we just sing and, again, at first I was jolted because I thought, “What is this?” And I wasn’t used to singing hymns at all. Over the years that we’ve been going, it’s one of my favorite parts and I absolutely love it. I think that it’s–

– In some weeks we don’t sing anything.

– Yeah, that’s true.

– And other weeks we sing lots.

– Yeah.

– Because it’s just what’s moving, if someone’s bringing, like, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about this song all week.” Or, “As a family, we’ve been singing this song.” What changed my heart, because I was the same way, I was like, “Man, this is like not at all “like what I’m used to.” But what I realized for me, I sort of asked myself the question, “Who am I even doing this “for in the first place?”

– Right.

– Is it for God or is it for myself? This doesn’t fill me up, this doesn’t sound good to me, this doesn’t, and I realized, I’m not even worshiping for me in the first place.

– Right.

– I’m singing these songs because I love God.

– Yeah.

– It’s not to just serve my own need. And I actually changed my mind, now, like you said, it’s one of my favorite things too.

– Another reason that I love it is because some people bring a song and it lines up with the message and it’s not like people prepared for that to happen, but it’s just another way that you see the Holy Spirit at work in the way people request things. I just love it.

– It does, it fits really nice when you let the Spirit move and–

– And our kids love it.

– And He orchestrates the morning.

– Yeah.

– Which is awesome.

– Yeah, the moment we start singing, our kids look up and they’re looking around the room like this is the coolest thing ever.

– Yeah. Well, and again, it goes back to the training thing. We have opportunities throughout the week to teach them songs.

– Yeah.

– We don’t do it every single time, but we teach them old hymns that we love that are beautiful and we teach them new songs and so they get to participate. And some mornings you’ll be like, “Can you remember that song we’ve been singing all week? “Do you wanna let everyone know you wanna sing that?” And then we’ll say, “Hey, Elliot has a song “he wants to sing,” or “Olive has a song she wants to sing.”

– Well, we sing some young kid’s songs like, “Jesus love me, this I know,” things like that which the kids just get a kick out of.

– Well and they get to participate and they know the song. What was that good Christian soldier song?

– Oh, I love that one. “Onward, Christian Soldier.”

– “Onward, Christian Soldier.”

– That’s a good one. So that’s kind of how our, the beginning of the morning starts is prayer, praise, encouragement, testimonies.

– And then we move into teaching. Did you wanna share a little bit about that?

– Yeah, we have structure, but it’s not like from 10:00 to 10:30 is this, and then from 10:30 to 11:30 is this, we don’t do that. What we try and do, and again it’s organic, we’re trying to get better and better at it, we try and let the Spirit lead, and so whether someone brings a song or two songs or three songs, is just how the Spirit’s moving that morning. And then sometimes in the testimonies and in the prayer, there’s been some mornings that that’s taken up the whole service. And then there’s other mornings where it’s lots of teaching. So there’s no dedicated, like, “Okay, now, we’re “transitioning at this time.” But, what we’ll do is we’ll say, “Okay, you know, “does anyone else have anything they wanna pray for “or a testimony or a song?” And if it’s quiet, we move onto teaching. And we have a teaching elder. He is always prepared to teach. And then there’s an encouragement in the community for the men to come prepared to teach. Not everyone does every single week, but then there’s some weeks when there’s two or three. Some week there’s one. So there’s not just one person responsible for all the teaching. Even though our teaching elder will teach a lot. You know, there’s times that I teach. There’s times that others teach. And it’s awesome, again, we watch the Holy Spirit move and if two or three people bring something, also with the testimonies that we hear and the songs, they always have this theme, this message, and we’re like, “Oh, that’s what the Spirit’s “trying to say to us today.”

– I also really love that every man that does teach comes with a little bit different perspective or way of teaching that’s just really moving. I love hearing all the different hearts during that time.

– Well, it’s also cool to know that the other men and the other families are coming prepared, with their hearts, it’s an every member functioning body. It’s not just one person and we come to be spectators.

– Or rely on them.

– Or rely on them only. There’s kind of this elevation of like we’re a part of this church and we have giftings and talents and we should come prepared with the those to use them in the order that they’re called for. I love it. Some weeks it’s different than others, but every single time, you’re like, “Man.” The Spirit of God is wanting to do something in our lives and we can hear it and receive it. So the last thing I wanna mention about the teaching time, because we could talk about all of the dynamics of it, but I’m not gonna right now. But there’s one aspect, and I know someone’s gonna ask this, “Well, if other people are coming to teach, “are they trained, are they this.” You know, that’s the point of coming together as a body in the first place is for the training and the equipping of the saints to do the ministry and the work that God has for us to do.

– So they’re learning how to do it.

– So it’s practice, yeah. So the purpose that we come together in the first place is to be trained and equipped to do the ministry and the work that God has for us.

– Right.

– So, coming prepared to teach, even though I’m not formally trained or a formal pastor or an elder, right, I might have giftings in that and I’m cultivating them and what happens is there’s protection because we do have teaching elders that are always listening and they’re always judging and they’re always paying attention to, and being in the Scriptures, so that if I come prepared to teach something and I’m off and I say something wrong, they will protect everyone and say, “Oh, actually, Arron, you know you…”

– They’ll correct you right there.

– They’ll correct me. And you know what, I have a heart willing to receive it because I’m practicing and I wanna be trained up and I wanna be yielded to that. And so they’ll be listening and their only purpose for correcting me if they do is to protect like the children that are there listening and the other people that might hear me say something and think like, “Oh, that sounds right,” and maybe I’m wrong in the way I presented it or in the way I interpreted something. And so, I get to practice it, I get to come prepared and we see other men do the same thing and it’s just, it’s actually incredible. What’s amazing about it is, again, we talked about every member functioning church, you get to see people operating in their giftings and you get to encourage them like, “Man, that was actually a really good word “you brought this morning, how you brought up that Scripture “and how you presented that and that way you tied it “into your story,” you know, all those things and you say, “That was really awesome.” It encourages them. And guess what? We get to go from there and use those giftings and those gifts from the Spirit in ministry outside the church for the purposes that God has for us. So, I just love that aspect about how we do the teaching time at our church. So let’s move on from teaching. What’s happens, we gathered, we met, we did our prayer and praise time, we had a time of teaching. What happens at the end of that?

– So there’s this expectation of fellowship to happen, so what we do is kind of like a potluck-style family lunch/dinner.

– Yeah.

– Where everybody brings a crock pot of food or however they wanna bring it.

– Usually home cooked. Some people bring pizzas.

– And so, all the woman go in the kitchen and prepare and set everything up so that it’s easy to get plates for everyone and then we just spend time eating. And that time is expected and when I say expected I mean people don’t just come and then leave, there are occasions, but people will let us know, “Hey, I’m leaving “because of this reason,” and we miss them, obviously. But for the most part, every week, there’s an expectation that we’re gonna fellowship, we’re gonna eat together, we’re gonna have this meal time together. The kids love it, the kids will take their plates outside and eat with their friends. It’s just a really good time to just sit and talk. We talk about the message, we talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives.

– Time for prayer if necessary.

– It’s not like a half hour thing, it sometimes can linger two to three hours, just depending on who sticks around.

– We usually start church, well, we gather 30 minutes before and we do coffee and hanging out and talking and getting to, you know, checking in on with each other and then we start around 10:00-ish and then we go until noon-ish for the service, and then we go until 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, sometimes longer depending on how that evening’s going. There’s been times it transitions into dinner.

– That’s true.

– With the person we’re having church at their house. The meal, in our minds and as a home church, it is a part of the church experience. We have a meal together, we use that time to exhort each other, to encourage each other, to love each other, to play with the kids, to let the kids play. And so it’s not like a optional thing, usually, as in, we all know that that’s coming. That’s a part of what we do on Sundays, it doesn’t happen sometimes, it happens every single Sunday. Someone’s probably gonna ask, “How does the food work? “Do you bring enough food for everyone?” Because it can get pretty large, or how do we usually do it?

– Right, so, what they say is bring enough for your family and there’s not usually a theme unless it’s like a special holiday or something.

– But sometimes it’s all spaghetti day.

– Yeah, sometimes that just happens.

– Just happens, yeah.

– So everybody will bring enough for their family, but it’s shared, so we each get a plate and we go around. It’s usually set up on an island.

– The ladies go through first, get food for them, for the kids.

– And then the guys.

– Often times the younger guys, they get in there right, whenever it’s their turn.

– Yeah, so everybody just takes small portions of everything and we just go on and enjoy it.

– Yeah, and it’s awesome.

– Yeah.

– Something about eating food with brothers and sisters in Christ. There’s something about eating food period. The Bible talks a lot about dining with each other and breaking bread with each other and eating with each other. We have that as a part of our church experience with each other, our gathering and it’s family, it’s real.

– And I would say that this portion of how we do church now has been one of the number one causes or impacts of our Sunday routine, so I don’t know if you wanna share a little bit about that, but I feel like just going with this expectation that there’s no time frame, that there’s no rush to get out of there, it’s changed our perspective and our hearts on all of Sunday.

– Because it used to be like, we had plans, we’re gonna go meet someone, we have a lunch day, we have this, and so we get to church and we’re like, “Oh, see ya later,” and we don’t say hi to people, we don’t talk to people.

– It’s like an hour and a half and then we’re done, then we can do whatever we want, where now it really is more of a Sabbath.

– We leave our phones in the cars.

– Yep.

– That’s pretty common unless there’s a reason we need to have them, our phones stay in the cars. And that’s not to try and be more holy, it’s to not be distracted.

– It’s like taking off a watch. We just don’t look at the time.

– We put our phones in the cars, we’re not distracted with our social media because it’s easy for us to be distracted. And we also, we don’t make plans.

– Yeah. We keep Sundays open.

– We keep Sundays open. That doesn’t mean we don’t eventually make plans. Like what happens often is, we go to church, we’re experiencing fellowship and then we might make a plan with at couple there, we’re like, “Hey, let’s have dinner tonight. “Hey, let’s go for a hike.” But that happens in the midst of fellowship. But we don’t make plans prior to that, usually. There’s definitely been times, like we have a trip to go on or someone’s coming into town, those happen, but those are occasional things, not common.

– Right.

– But what’s common for us is to leave the phone in the car, not make plans, just Sunday is dedicated to being with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

– I feel like it’s so much more peaceful and so much more restful for us and our family compared to before we started going to home church.

– Yeah. And so that’s been how our church experience has been over the last three and a half years at home church. Those are like the big over arching areas of how home church works and–

– Do you wanna talk about some of the benefits before we go?

– Yeah, so I’ll just say this. The closeness that we’ve experienced with other brothers and sisters in Christ has been exponentially deeper.

– I agree.

– Now, not that we couldn’t have had this depth of relationship at other churches, we just didn’t. We had close relationships, but we have close relationships with much more, we have the capacity to be close with much more because of how small it is. And more than just friendships, but like deep, like we know where people are at, we’re helping with families and issues and situations and we’re all able to be a part of each other’s lives as the Bible so clearly maps out for us, what God desires for His Church and the unity that we have.

– And I wanna add to this because I think this is a really important aspect that has changed my perspective of church and how we do it. Before, in the bigger church setting, we always just sat side by side and kind of looked forward, which there’s nothing wrong with that, but in this setting particularly, where we’re at now, the chairs are set up in a circle formation, around a couch and then chairs, so everybody’s kind of looking at each other throughout the entire service. You catch eye contact with pretty much everyone in the church at some point and it’s such a good reminder that we’re there for them and that they’re there for us. And that has boosted my ability to be intimate with each and every person. There’s just something really intimate about eye contact and seeing people face to face, being reminded that you’re there for each other and I really like that aspect so I wanted to share that.

– Yeah, what’s another benefit that you’ve experienced over the years? You mentioned one about the kids, about our parenting and the intentionality, being forced to train.

– Yeah, I feel like I’ve hit a huge growth spurt in my parenting because of the accountability that comes with doing church this way and the encouragement that we’ve gotten from some of the, I’ll just speak specifically for me, some of the older women in the church have come alongside me and given me advice or said, “I’ve seen these gifts in your children.” They’re just really encouraging and so they’ve helped cultivate in me a desire to intentionally parent. And I see that way more than even just on Sunday. I see it all throughout my week and how it’s impacting me and you.

– Yeah, so overall, we’ve really enjoyed this smaller-style church experience and, again, just to reiterate it, the church isn’t the place you gather.

– Yeah.

– It’s the people you gather with. And that’s what we’ve learned, just that final benefit of learning what Christ was praying for in John 17, the oneness and the unity that we would have. And, to be honest, it’s one of the things that Marriage After God exists for, is to teach you in your marriage not just to be one together, but to walk in oneness with the body of Christ, to be used as a couple for His purposes, for His ministry in the world, because that’s what we’re here for.

– Yeah.

– As we learned this last Sunday, we have a holy calling. It’s not just about us and our happiness and what we’re doing right now, everything we do is to be done for God and with God and for His Kingdom and for heavenly things. And that’s the perspective that we need to have, so we wanted to encourage you, wanted to share that with you that that’s kind of our experience. Maybe you’re curious about it. Maybe you’re curious about finding a home church. I couldn’t tell ya how to find one. We were just blessed to know someone that was a part of it. But maybe where you’re at in your current church, you’d be encouraged to start operating this way. Because, like I said, we are the church, so start being the kind of person you would want to be towards you. Start being the family that you want to others to be with you and start pursing those relationships.

– Yeah, and even if it’s not home church, maybe it’s just your traditional church, or maybe you haven’t been going at all, our desire with this episode specifically is to remind you that a marriage after God is one that cultivate faith in your family and in your marriage and so we want you to be consistently a part of the body of Christ, we want you to be in fellowship with other believers because there’s an amazing purpose for it in your life and so our biggest encouragement is just please, please, please be doing this weekly, be consistent and husbands, lead your family out in this.

– Yeah. And I wanna got a little bit deeper with that. It’s not just our encouragement, but it’s not optional for the believer. It’s something that God command of us, to walk with one another. The Bible’s very strong in how it commands His believers, the body of Christ, to be one with each other. So if you’re not walking in fellowship, if you’re not commuting with other believers on a regular basis on a deep level, you should just ask the Lord to reveal that to you and just start driving you into that, into the body of Christ and to connect you and to make you one like He’s prayed, like Jesus Himself prayed that we would be. So we hope this encourages you this week. We thank you for joining us as usual. And now we look forward to having you next week. Did you enjoy today’s show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at MarriageAfterGod.com and let us help you cultivate and extraordinary marriage.

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