Episode 127: Neighborhood Church – Simple Strategies for Hosting Service Anyone Can Do
In this episode, we talk to two veteran Neighborhood Church leaders about some best practices when opening your home to host church.
About Episode 127:
In today’s new, socially-distanced climate, we face new and unseen challenges around our everyday tasks. We may act out of precaution for the health and safety of our most vulnerable members, but when we can’t meet together at church, we often feel sad and disconnected from one other.
So how can we solve this? When we can’t bring ourselves to church, we bring the church to us at home. Since we’ve gone online to bring the Message home to our families, we’ve seen two new spiritual experiences: the home church, and the neighborhood church. What’s the difference you may ask?
The home church is exactly what it sounds like: church at home, where a single family watches service online from their computer or smart tv. The neighborhood church is similar in delivery but is experienced along with other families in a small gathering at a host’s home. The difference between these two experiences might seem trivial, but the impact of incorporating community is huge! Special guests Krista Harrison & Carolina Corrales have about cracked the code on how to host a neighborhood church.
The first step to starting your neighborhood church is to remove all expectations of what church is supposed to be like, and instead focus on the present moment. At Torrey Pines, neighborhood churches aren’t meant to replace Sunday services but instead serve as an extension of the Torrey Pines church experience.
Next, understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all program that will suit every neighborhood church. Date the model, but marry the mission. Jesus’s ministry was a perfect example of the neighborhood church. He had a mission but changed his model depending on the people and the circumstances. When we focus on people over programs, we avoid the awkwardness of trying to force ourselves to fit into the “perfect” church program. So fear not! Instead of stressing about the details during each gathering, take a step back and allow yourself to be flexible. It helps to start with people you’re close to, so you can get feedback from people you’re comfortable with. Be okay with change, and keep changing things until you get them right. For some groups, this might look like sharing a meal while watching the service together. Others may prefer a discussion of the message over light snacks. Maybe your group connects best while roasting marshmallows outside, but who knows what works until you try it!
Throughout this episode, we can’t help but emphasize the importance of “going with the flow.” Don’t give up too early, persevere, and be willing to push through when things “go wrong.” After service finishes, meet with your team and talk about what can change for next time. It’s a blessing to meet together, so it’s important to be intentional with our relationships. Use this time to build stronger relationships within your community through God’s Word.
If you’re thinking about hosting a neighborhood church, we encourage you to go for it! There are no losses in taking a risk here – if things aren’t as perfect as you imagined, know that it’s a learning moment. Give yourself grace, know that things will be hard, and that’s okay! You’re making a difference in the community around you, and that’s something to be proud of.