How to hold a Church meeting in your home

In ministry we are almost always holding meetings, whether it is a team meeting, a planning day, a discipleship or mentoring session or a pastoral catch up.  The space that you choose for your meeting is really important in setting the boundaries and tone of the meeting.  Finding good spaces to hold meetings is part of your job in ministry.

At times I have held meeting in a few places that just didn’t work.  Perhaps the meeting room was next to band practice or the café was so popular that we couldn’t get a seat.  One time the café was public that everyone from our church that walked past stopped in to say hello, interrupting the flow of conversation.  In this series I want to look at choosing the right location for your Church or Ministry meetings.

In this first post we will look at holding church meetings at your house.  When my wife and I had kids it was much easier at the time to have people over to my house for a church meeting.  It was great for social events with a ministry team or a planning day that was going to take several hours.  The home environment gave us a greater opportunity to offer hospitality but there a few drawbacks as well:

  • Cleaning up – every time we have people from church over to our house there is extra cleaning to be done.  Whilst you don’t want to put on a show for people, the house can’t have the same clutter that your family might put up with every day.
  • Getting people to leave – at the end of the night you just want to go to bed but how do you encourage people to your house?  You have to set a finishing time before you start so that people know when you are expecting them to leave.
  • Kids – everything goes well if the kids behave but what if they test the boundaries just when the meeting is starting?  You should establish some ground rules with your kids before your ministry team arrive.

Several years ago when my wife and I were starting a church ministry we held the leadership meetings in our house.  We had a big house with an upstairs living area for our two boys so the boys could play whilst we held the meetings.  If you have a meeting in your family home don’t make your family sit in their bedrooms whilst you take over the house for meetings.  If there isn’t room for your family as well as running the meeting  then meet somewhere else.

Recently I read about the guidelines for a Vicarage within the Anglican Church, these are the standards that all houses should meet for a minister in the Anglican Church:

  • Four bedrooms – which are off limits to guests
  • Two living spaces – one for the family to live in and one that could be used for meetings
  • Study or an office
  • Separate toilet for guests

Whilst your house may not meet those requirements, if you are going to use your house as a meeting spot think of the needs of your family.  The advantage of having a meeting at your home is that your family can be part of your ministry.  It is a great blessing for your ministry team to witness what a family is really like.  But if your home is not suitable or it places too much burden on your family then choose another location for your church meeting.

In the next two posts we will look at holding church meetings in other places:

  • Public spaces like a Café
  • Church property

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Sometimes in ministry we need to “Pay it back”

Have you ever heard the term “pay it forward“? It is a term that often gets used in ministry circles to encourage us to sow the blessings we have received from mentors into the next generation.  We receive so much from the mentors who formed us and we pay it forward to those that we mentor.  But do we ever pay back those who have mentored us with a thank you?  Ministry can be such a thankless task that occasionally we need to thank those who mentored us along the way.

Recently I was working with a great young leader, asking him about his journey of faith.  He had a great outlook on ministry so I asked him about his role models and he was able to list four or five men who had mentored him.  These were youth group leaders or young pastors in his Church.  It happens that I know some of these men and I bet they would love to know the fruit of some their work.  More importantly that experience made me reflect on the people who I needed to thank for sowing into me.

St Paul talks about watering seeds that other have planted and to recognise that God does all the work.  Sometimes in ministry we seemed to be doing a lot of sowing and watering without much growth.  In many cases we never see the fruit of our labour because God plants the person in another ministry or another church.  We can go for years without knowing what we have achieved.  If you find yourself in this situation here is three things to do:

  1. Create a culture of Gratitude:  instead of waiting for someone to thank you for your ministry, start thanking those who serve  with you in ministry.  Thank the volunteers who serve every week, thank those who pray for the ministry and thank those who financially support your ministry.  Don’t forget to thank the people above you, your Senior Minister, Parish Priest, Vestry, Elders board or Parish Council.
  2. Thank your Mentors: think of all the people who have mentored you and sown into your development. Write them a little thank you note, message them on Facebook or email them.  Whilst it is nice to send them a card, just thank them any way you can.  Often we still look up to our mentors and forget that they are real people who get disheartened just like we do.  If you appreciate your mentors by thanking them it will help them stay strong in their ministry too.
  3. Love your Family:  often our family are the forgotten heroes of our ministry.  Perhaps your parents took you to church as a child, supported your faith or paid for you to go on camp.  Maybe your relatives encouraged your development as a teenager.  Maybe your wife, husband and kids have allowed you to go to one more ministry event.  Love your family first and thank them for the support they give you.

We should take the blessings sown into us and pass it forward to the next generation.  But don’t forget to pay back the mentoring, love and attention that you received from others.  Learn to pay it forward and pay it back.

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