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Finding Value in Simplicity


ovember 2011 marks the third year Generation Church has been meeting in a house. We like meeting in someone’s home. It works well for us. No rent or mortgage payment means we have funds for ministering to the needs of others. We don’t have any plans to get a building of our own. We know that if we grow much beyond the twenty-five who currently participate in Generation Church, we can start a second church in another neighborhood without worrying about the cost of facilities. But as much as we thrive meeting in a home, that’s not really what Generation Church is all about. As far as we are concerned, where we meet is much less important than how we function. Three years ago, after wrestling with several questions about how the local church functions in a community, we initiated some changes to the way we work and worship. The following are two examples: Church Leadership* - The New Testament clearly teaches that God has given the ministry of overseeing and shepherding (pastoring) to the elders of the church (Acts 20:27-28). In keeping with this teaching, I freely choose to function as one of the elders of the church rather than in the traditional role as “the pastor.” I minister primarily by “preaching and teaching” and helping to “direct the affairs of the church,” a ministry Paul attributes to elders in 1 Timothy 5:1718. We make sure that all five of us who serve as elders constantly touch base with one another by e-mail and face-to-face meetings. All of us actively share in the ministry of overseeing (protecting and guiding) the church. All of us are able to teach (a biblical qualification for an elder) and all of us share in that ministry, either through one-on-one mentoring or in the corporate gatherings of the church. Meetings - Our gatherings are simple and unhurried. According to 1 Corinthians 14, we meet in an orderly fashion yet give 12

freedom for the working of the Holy Spirit, avoiding our former practice of tightly planned and orchestrated programs. We sing a few songs, pray often, give opportunity for persons to share how God is working in their lives, and provide extensive teaching from God’s word. Our teaching always includes opportunities for questions and reflection. If someone needs prayer, it is not uncommon for us to ask the elders or the entire church to gather around that individual so that we may lay our hands upon that person as we pray. Before and after our meetings we spend time chatting with one another over a cup of coffee or getting to know someone new. Our gatherings typically last a couple of hours. There are also many other things we do differently from traditional or institutional church, but not because we want to be different or innovative. Our concern is this: If we make the functioning of the church more complex than Jesus intended, or if we incorporate

practices not supported by the Scriptures, we usually end up depending more on our own devices than on Jesus and the power of his Spirit. Anytime we attempt to succeed in our own power or wisdom the effectiveness of our witness is diminished. *(I also share in the ministry of Desert Rose Church in Tempe. Although the two congregations are very different from one another, when it comes to the role of elders in the church, we practice the same principles in both congregations. In Desert Rose, I minister primarily as a teaching and preaching elder while one of the other three elders takes primary responsibility for directing the affairs of the church.) Rev. Forrest Erickson serves as pastor of Generation Church in Chandler, AZ and Desert Rose Church in Tempe, AZ. VISIT ONLINE

Faith & Fellowship

Revelation: The end of the story is just the beginning  
Revelation: The end of the story is just the beginning  

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