The Church at Home: Could Your Church Go Underground? Part 2
There are many types of “Believers” in the church. Some truly love the Lord and desire to worship corporately with other Believers on Sunday morning or some other designated day. Then there are those who like the social aspect of church or those who just do it because of habit. And, there are those who go to church out of fear of not going to Hell! But what if church as we know it ceased to be? What if those getting their social fix couldn’t meet with others? Or, what if those who did it as a habit, all of the sudden realized their world upside down and ALL of their usual habits disrupted? What if those who loved to worship corporately didn’t have that option? Would the church meet underground? Could the Church adjust to church at home?
The Church and Hard Times
Years ago I wrote part 1 to this article, “Outlaw Faith: Could Your Church Go Underground? Part 1.” Back then, I was looking at the anti-Christian climate and wondering out loud if Christians would stand in their faith during a time of persecution. I still believe the church is persecuted today. The world hates us. Jesus said it would happen. (John 15:19) But now, due to the COVID19 pandemic and many churches moving to online services, I’m wondering, if Christians are standing strong in the faith and keeping their relationship with the Lord their number one priority?
Another things that I’m wondering about is, what would happen if all of these platforms, that are allowing online church services, suddenly started shutting down their access to churches, or started throttling them back to where video and audio is so choppy it isn’t able to be understood by an end user? Big churches who have the funding for it would most likely still find a way to share their online services, but the small church, the backbone of American Churches, would greatly suffer!
Already, small churches are seeing a decrease in their weekly tithes and offerings. This is due to many losing their jobs, spending more on groceries or just not remembering to give because they aren’t getting up and getting dressed to go to a church building on Sunday morning. As a result, many small and medium churches will be forced to let go of church staff or even close because they can’t pay salaries, mortgages and all their other monthly expenses.
In part 1, I brought up the idea of churches being able to go underground in hard times. This could be times under a harsh tyrannical government, or this could be the situation in a collapse scenario. Either way, would your church be in a position where it can still minister to the congregation? Are there contingencies in place for church at home?
This rest of this article will discuss more practical considerations on how a church can function in a collapse situation and then look at the possibilities if the pandemic gets worse and Christians are social distancing.
Church at Home Needs to “Get Small”
In order to be effective, the church will have to get “small.” This means that there wouldn’t be one pastor that everyone goes to church to hear on Sunday morning. It means that families will gather in homes. 10-20 people gathering in homes is a good size for a small group. The great thing is that many larger churches already have some sort of small group ministry in place. So the structure is already there in some cases.
Church at Home Leadership
As far as leadership goes, I can foresee a couple of different options. One option, if the situation would allow it, would be for the leader of each small group to meet with the pastor on a weekly basis. The pastor could provide encouragement, lessons and even strategic planning with the rest of the leadership. Another option would be that each small group ran independently of each other.
The leader wouldn’t necessarily have to be the one that shared messages or the Bible with everyone. They could be, but the sharing of Scripture and messages could be shared among everyone present.
Music could be easily provided by someone who plays a guitar or even done accapella. I would not disregard music in your worship time, it is very powerful! Worship songs, with chords, can be easily found on the internet. If you rather go the traditional route, you can find good deals on used hymnals at used book stores.
I know of one church who didn’t have a band for the longest. The pastor played worship music and he sang along with the track. This is another option. Again, don’t neglect music.
Church at Home and Kids
If we are honest, some parents like going to church because they can let their kids go to “Children’s Church” and it gives them a little break. Many Christians appreciate having “Children’s Church” during “Adult Church” because it takes away all the distractions from the service. I have a problem with this. You will notice I put Children’s Church and Adult’s Church in quotes.
When did “The Church” move to this model? You never see this in Scripture. In fact, when the disciples tried to remove kids from Jesus’ presence, He told them to bring them to Him.
Children don’t have a a Jr. Holy Spirit. If they belong to the Father, they have THE Holy Spirit. When we remove children from our services, it is for our own selfishness. As adults, we don’t like to get distracted.
Instead, we should teach children to be part of the Church. They should be active members of the church, listening to the messages, praying and singing. Yes, they might squirm a little. They might fuss a little. But adults should look at this and know that this is another soul that is learning to worship the Lord.
So in a collapse scenario, where church at home is the norm, children don’t need to be removed from the adults. Instead, they should be allowed to participate. They should be asked to read a Bible verse, pray and sing along. Give them two sticks and have an adult help them keep the beat of a song. They might not get everything that adults would get, but they will catch more than you realize. Not only that, they are seeing the Faith modeled right in front of their eyes.
Tithes and Offerings
If the church is in a collapse scenario, but church leadership is in place and the pastor is ministering to home church pastors, there should be an attempt to bless him and provide for his family. Galatians 6:6 says, “The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.” This could be monetary, but it could also be vegetables, eggs, milk, etc…
If there isn’t church leadership in place, the church at home could choose to not necessarily take up a weekly offering, but instead, choose to help those in their group who are in need or even reach-out to those in their local community that could use the help.
So many Believers have become accustomed to going to church and having a “professional” minister share the Word on Sunday morning. They believe that teaching or preparing a sermon can only be done by someone who has a degree or went to seminary. That is so far from the truth!
In a collapse scenario, where small groups are meeting for church at a home service, someone will have to share the Word. Yes, the more knowledge someone has of the Word, the better. But, the real key is listening and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
The Believer that has a close relationship with the Lord, who reads His Bible daily, who prays and who is led by the Holy Spirit is qualified to bring the Word. And in reality, that needs to be every single Believer, all the time!
Church at Home in a Pandemic
Church at home during a pandemic would look very differently. First, the pandemic that I’m talking about would mean that there is a serious public threat that would cause everyone to quarantine AND, churches wouldn’t be allowed to use online services like Facebook and YouTube LIVE.
Instead of meeting together in small groups in homes, church members won’t gather together. Instead, they would have to meet in their own individual homes. The responsibility of the message, music and prayer would all fall on individual family members. The family could still use a CD player or their online playlists if they are still available. But someone would have to bring the Word. This could be a short, prepared, inspirational message or even a Scripture passage that is read aloud.
Again, the key here is that Believers are taking their walk with the Lord seriously and seeking Him daily, even in all the chaos of a pandemic and what that means for the general public.
In, Spiritual Preparedness – 9 Things Christian Preppers Should Be Doing, I listed nine things that Christians could be doing now to help them in their walk with the Lord. All 9 don’t apply in a collapse or pandemic scenario, but most do. I encourage you to read that article and evaluate your own spiritual preparedness.
One of the sayings that I like to say is “just because we experience an SHTF scenario, it doesn’t mean that Christian Preppers suddenly put on their camo, grab their AR’s and turn into Rambo.” Christian Preppers are Christian’s first. Nothing changes when the Poop Hits the Fan! Jesus is still Lord and your Faith is still important, if not more important. The one thing that an SHTF situation will do is to show those who are true believers.
So whether you are in a time when you are worshiping in your local church building, attending an online worship service or doing church at home, make sure that Jesus is your very first priority. Always adjust to Jesus and be found right in the middle of His will!