When a group of folks want to explore becoming a house church, one of the staff offers a Catacomb Experience: one to three house church worship experiences.
If you would like to be a part of Catacomb Experience, please contact Liz or Terry below and we will get you started. We may know people in your area who are also interested.
Once a group of people decide to begin to form a house church and they begin to meet, we have resources for groups to get to know one another, form their values as a group, and begin the process of discerning how they will love their neighbor. Some of these we require. Others we do not.
We like to use the metaphor of an artist's pallet for this process. Each group decides together how to become a group. By choosing what activities to do and when to do them, the group begins to regulate its own life as a community.
In other words: the community begins to paint its life in a mutual and collective way from the many colors available to it.
Orientation with Staff: (Required)
A House Church is just a form of church, with unique opportunities and challenges. Terry and Liz want to spend some time with you early one to talk about how we do church in TCC, to answer questions you may have, and to just hang out some.
The Basics: (Required)
Each House Church is responsible to find its own patters of life. Please talk as a group about the practical issues about being a house church. We encourage you to check in from time to time about how the community is doing and if expectations are reasonable and are being met.
Learning how to tell our own stories of lived experience – both oppressive and joyful, is a key element in learning to deepen our respect for our authentic self. Our story is key to how we become a part of community. Our stories matter – to ourselves, to one another, and to God.
Building individual relationships:
Practicing listening to the truths and experiences of another person is imperative in the building of nourishing community. To know another is to know their joys, struggles, hopes, and anger. Doing this intentionally is a necessarily practiced skill that goes beyond laughter and camaraderie, and deep into accompaniment and love.
People who can play together build longer lasting relationships. It’s not enough that we discern, challenge, accompany, and love one another – we need to play, too!
Discovering who makes your community? Personality and style - how do you relate to the world and one another? Discovering who makes your community and how you engage together as such is valuable for sustaining relationships. Knowing about the personality styles of each person can assist in both the development of self awareness and how house church members can work together.
Relationship/volunteer/accompany/engage with ‘other’ed people:
What does it mean to know your neighbor? We believe it’s more than knowing their name and address. Rather, to know your neighbor means knowing what their joys and struggles in life are. Being authentic in our curiosity helps us know how to better live out our call to be justice and peace seekers in our communities.
Public Witness/being in public together/external engagement:
Many churches struggle to be seen as more than greedy for worship attendance and charity suppliers. Being public witnesses to the authentic relationships we have because of – and sometimes in spite of – our faith, is often life-giving salve to people yearning for their own relational communities.
Physical Group Activity:
Being the body of Christ together nourishes not only our souls and relationships, but our bodies as well. We yearn to live full and fulfilled lives, and being active is necessary for that.
Relational Values (Internal): (Required)
Group dynamics ebb and flow, but how do we remain intentional to who we are as a group through those shifts? Creating relational values as a group help manage discomfort, challenge, and care. The TCC staff can facilitate this if you wish.
Understanding Group Values (External): (Required)
What issues is your group passionate about? Who do you have a burning desire to love? Who are your neighbors that God loves but who are under pressures that deform their lives? The TCC staff will facilitate this session with you.
Boundary Training: (Required)
One of the key ways the church as a whole has learned in the last 30 years is how to love one another by maintaining appropriate boundaries. This facilitated group process is begun with a video and then a discussion about how we can maintain healthy boundaries and protect vulnerable people in our house church from being taken advantage of, and learn who to call in the event that someone is hurt.
Rule of Life:
A Rule of Life for a house church is good but optional part of a house church life. A Rule of Life is a set of spiritual practices that the group chooses to engage in when they are not together. These practices are not “another thing to do” but rather a chance to take a break from our hyper-productive society and remember who we are. Individuals can have more detailed rule of life that can include what the group chooses to practice. When you fall short of the practice (notice we did not say “if”) just pick it up the next day. It is a practice to remember you are loved not a requirement for God to love you.