HOMECHURCH GUIDE


Sanctuary Church

Week of April 4



Sanctuary Church is built around the idea of following the path of Jesus, together. We believe that to be an apprentice of Jesus is to order your life to journey in 4 directions:
UPWARD / be with Jesus,
INWARD / become like Jesus,
OUTWARD / do what Jesus did and
WITHWARD / follow Jesus together


Our dream is that we would live by faith, be known by love, and be a voice of hope for our world. Our prayer is as Jesus prayed, that God’s will would be done in our neighborhoods as it is in Heaven.

Every time we gather in our home church we hit some or all of these four directions. For instance we may focus on UPWARDS by doing a traditional bible study or we might turn more attention INWARDS to wrestle with the application of the message by exploring spiritual practices.

Personal & family practices and a shared Rule of Life suggestion:


ARRIVAL

*Before you begin, if you are meeting online please check out our online homechurch suggestions for engagement.

As you gather spend a few minutes catching up on life. If you have new folks do introductions. Keep things on the shorter side.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Intro To Sanctuary – This Wednesday on Zoom
Register for In-Person services

Begin with prayer (5 minutes)

As you gather – have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. 


ARRIVAL EXERCISE

As you gather say a quick prayer to invite the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. Then spend a few minutes in silence. Why silence, even while together? Because we live in a busy, noisy world, under a non-stop assault of distraction. In the midst of all the chaos, it’s hard at times to hear the voice of God, and that of our brothers and sisters. As we gather together as a family, we want to hear what the Father is saying to and through each of us, and respond in turn. A great way to do that is to begin each time with silence and prayer.

Debrief the teaching in a breakout (10 minutes)

If you are in a HomeChurch of seven or more, divide into small groups of 3–4 people each (ideally same gender) and talk through the following debrief questions about the teaching:

  1. Did you listen to the teaching? What stood out to you?
  2. What was most challenging? / What was most encouraging? in regards to trust and control

Read this overview

God is trustworthy. We know this in part because the Word of God is trustworthy. This weeks practice centers around the engaging the scriptures.

There are many ways to read the Bible. Some of us wake early in the morning and, before doing anything else, sit down with our Bibles and read. Others of us listen to it through an app while we ride the bus to work. We read it with our kids before going to bed, or in the park on our favorite bench. We sing or chant small chunk in liturgical readings with our roommates, or in songs while we drive. However we may read the Bible, one practice that many of us don’t often consider, but was fundamental to followers of Jesus for centuries, was reading large portions of the Bible out loud in one sitting. 

Before the printing press and Bible apps, the people of God would crowd together in a room with a single copy (or usually just parts) of the Scriptures, and one person would read aloud whole books or large chunks from it as everyone listened intently. In fact, there are places in the world today in which followers of Jesus still do this by necessity. Whether because the Bible is considered illegal propaganda, the community does not have enough money to purchase Bibles for everyone, or the Bible hasn’t actually been fully translated into their language, our brothers and sisters still crowd together in a room to listen to large portions of the Scriptures be read out loud.

This week, we want to practice this age old tradition of reading a large portion of Scriptures aloud in one sitting. As we do this, if you are not the one reading, let the Scriptures be read over you and keep in mind that posture is more important than technique. Pay attention your posture, and if you are able, take note of what happens as you listen to the Scriptures in a posture of surrender, opening yourself to God’s voice and letting the words you hear challenge, shape, and bless you.


Inward Practice | Large Scripture Portions Aloud

(20 minutes) 

There are many parts of the Bible that come to life in new ways when we read them out loud together and in one sitting, so we want to do just that. Spend a few moments reading through the following steps in order to make the necessary decisions and familiarize yourself with the process before doing the Practice. Once you’ve made the necessary decisions(which passage, who reads, who’s praying, etc), do the Practice together as a HomeChurch. 

  1. Get Comfortable – You’ll be reading for the next 20 or so minutes, so make sure that you’re in a place, position, and posture to be still, attentive, and open to God.
  2. Pick a Passage – There are so many passages and books of the Bible with which to try this, so if you don’t already have one in mind, below you will find a list of passages and books that would be a great place to start. Pick one of them to spend time reading out loud as a HomeChurch.
    • Ruth
    • Psalm 119
    • Matthew 5 – 7
    • John 18 – 21
    • Galatians 
    • Philippians
    • James
    • 1 John, 2 John, & 3 John
  3. Establish The Reader(s) – Decide who will read it. One person can read the whole thing, a few of you can split it, or(what we would recommend) each person can read some of it until the whole passage is read. Spend a moment to decide how you will break up the text and who will read.
  4. Invite the Holy Spirit – Take a deep breath and settle in. Have one person invite the Holy Spirit to help you all to listen in a posture of surrender and to form you by what is read. 
  5. Read – Spend time to read the entire text in one sitting aloud together. 
  6. Silence & Prayer – After the last verse is read, don’t rush onto the next part. Take a moment in silence and stillness, letting the words reverberate inside your mind and soul. After a bit, have someone pray to thank God for the experience of this Practice.

Discuss the coming week’s Practice (1 minute)

The Practice for the week ahead is pretty simple. Pick a day, such as your Sabbath, and set aside 20 minutes or so to do the exact same thing we just did. You can do this on your own or with someone else (e.g. a friend, spouse, family, roommate, co-worker, etc.). You can read at the park on your lunch break or on your couch with a cup of tea. You could read in between classes with some friends or with the men/women from your HomeChurch over brunch on Saturday. Feel free to use the same passage as the one you read tonight, pick another from the list, or choose another passage or book of the Bible entirely. And take some time when you’re done to process how the experience was for you.

Work through these discussion questions before you call it a night (5–10 minutes) 

  1. How was your experience reading in this way (i.e. a large portion out loud together in one sitting) different for you from when you read your Bible by yourself? 
  2. As you consider the Practice for the week ahead, what ideas come to mind about your setting, the passage, by yourself or with a group, etc., that you want to try?
  3. Any creative ideas or suggestions about this Practice? 

Outward Practice

If we are easter people then we must be a voice of hope. A voice that demonstrates and announces the good news of the kingdom of God. The good news that God is reconciling all things back to himself The good news that injustice and despair and fear and hatred – do not have the last word!

  • What opportunities exist for you to demonstrate & announce the Good News this week?
  • Who has God been putting on your heart recently?

Withward Practice / closing

  • Make sure needs are taken care of, and/or take time to bless and/or pray for one another.
  • Discuss how the Lent Guide is going

Have a great week! Enjoy the journey… 


PATH COMMUNITY

The goal for Path Community is to gather regularly with 3-5 people of the same gender, to press in together as disciples of Jesus, and to practice the most neglected commands, disciplines, and practices of the Christian life.
We don’t want to be people who just hear the Word without putting it into practice, allowing deception into our lives. We believe that following spiritual practices in these 4 directions can produce disproportionate spiritual fruit for the time and context in which we are called to follow Jesus.