Great podcast. Thanks Shealan and John. One thing that works against those deep, meaningful relationships is when a church gets big. Its too easy to remain superficial in these circumstances. But in every conversation we have with brothers and sisters in Christ we really need to be listening not just to their words but to their heart, and be responsive to what we hear from their heart.
PS. Will you be running any face to face courses this November John?
Thank you, Renee, for your observation that it is more difficult to relate at depth in a large church. All the early churches, probably for the first three hundred years were essentially house churches with the church meetings taking place in a home. Church historians agree that house churches could rarely have been more than 15 or 20 people—simply because they took place in small apartments. Probably as many as 90% of people lived in apartments of one or two rooms crowded above or behind shops. When a house church grew too big to be accommodated it simply multiplied by starting another house church nearby. Automatically this issue of being too large to know everyone was solved!
The church would normally meet in the dining room of a private home as it was usually the largest room. Most apartments shared a public courtyard with adjoining units, and families cooked in the courtyards. The dining room and courtyard provided space for teaching and preaching, prayer meetings, celebration of the Lord’s Supper and various missionary activities. Most of church life was conducted in full view of any neighbours who were interested enough to observe!
The question is, how do we take those principles and apply them in our culture today? Any thoughts?
Halesworth Community Church