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 How often to celebrate?

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ruach Posted - 09/16/2003 : 00:20:20
We are in our first church plant. We have begun in our own small way. Right away we were shocked with the financial resources in our group that didn't have to support a building. We feel like we are going to keep it that way. Anyway what we have been talking about is celebration services. How often should a small start up church have celebration services? I have been involved in both mega churches and small churches that focused on the "main event" each week and it was a major investment of both time and resources. If we aren't going to dedicate our lives to once a week celebration meetings how often should we do it? Anyone have any experience on this?
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Front Porch Posted - 10/20/2006 : 22:18:20
This is a great topic. We are praying for guidance and discernment for a new church plant. If anyone else has experience to share, I am sure many of us new to the cell group/church concept would love to read them.


Christianity is not a's a Lifestyle.
dkulchar1 Posted - 03/08/2005 : 19:16:09
We celebrate around the communion table. As a new cell church plant we started with a leader's cell. We have now birthed 2 first generation cells. As pastor I visit each cell every 3 weeks and share a common teaching and break bread. We are Anglican and use the Book of Common Prayer. Our goal is to multiply to 4 groups before we start a weekly public celebration in a rented facility. In the mean time we are looking for occasions for the groups to come together for fellowship and communion such as "Holy Week".

Dave Kulchar, Flushing, MI - New Wine Anglican Mission
Link H Posted - 01/22/2004 : 09:28:12
From a biblical standpoint, some try to tie the 'celebration service' to the larger meetings of the chruch in Jerusalem on Solomon's porch. This is a little different. Their meetings were for the whole church, not just one 'brand name' or fellowship of home meetings-- but for the whole city church.

I am not saying that you shouldn't have 'celebration meetings'--just that we need to keep this in perspective Biblically. One option to keep in mind is having celebration meetings with brethren who are not a part of the same fellowship of cell churches. If Christians meet only in small house churches, they need to have a broader view of what the church is than just their own house churches. Maybe celebration meetings can help with this. It also can help unmarried believers meet potential Christian spouses-- but I suppose that is more of an issue in an unreached country than in the US.

Some who promote occasional celebration meetings believe that the home meetings should follow the Lord's commands for meetings in I Corinthians 14, allowing for 'regular believers' to exercise their gifts of teaching, prophecy, etc., as opposed to the tradition of having one religious professional do nearly all the minsitry of the word in the meeting.

But from reading I Corinthians 14, which is addressed to the whole city church, and mentions them coming together, I gather than Paul's instructions apply to the whole city church gatherings as well. He mentions all coming together into one place. He mentions them coming together to eat the Lord's Supper as well (or what was supposed to be the Lord's Supper, but wasn't because they were eating their own supper.) The ate the Lord's Supper as a meal.

The Corinthian church may have had several home meetings in a larger church community. But Romans mentoins that Gaius was the host of the whole church. So maybe they were all able to squeeze into his house or onto some property he owned. Maybe he hosted the whole church over a period of time in small meetings. It's concievable the Corinthian church went to Gaius house for 'celebration gatherings' and met in other homes in smaller groups as well. Again this is the city church in Gaius house, and not just one fellowship of house churches within the city.

If you do have a larger celebration gathering, consider the commandments of the Lord for church meetings as laid out in I Corinthians 14. It can work in a larger gathering. I once attended a gathering of 300 people in which anyone could speak. They did follow a certain, unwritten perhaps, order of service. People knew what to do. But there was a lot of mutual ministry. A teacher in the congregation was free to teach. This was a predominantly Chinese group that had roots in China, btw. They didn't have communion as a full meal, though. That might be a little hard to orchestrate, but nto impossible. I like the method of having the bread and cup at the close of the meal, as Jesus' did with His disciples.

James Bell Posted - 01/08/2004 : 16:15:38
Amen! That is a really good post, my friend. Oh, that was my post... How embarrassing!
James Bell Posted - 11/07/2003 : 11:55:23
Be careful not to get an "anti-building" mindset. If you grow, you will have to obtain some kind of place to meet outside of homes. Regardless of what we call it, your cell meeting right now is your "service". I agree that you need multiple groups before you come together in a larger celebration. Also consider: If you state that the cell meeting is not about teaching or preaching, when will your members receive that? An apostolic church will have teaching...or it will end up in the ditch somewhere along the way. If the 5-fold ministry is not equipping, then you are really on your own, without biblical precedent. You need that weekly service with teaching and worship emphasized. Of course, this is just one opinion...
rmyer Posted - 09/23/2003 : 17:49:32
We have done it a number of different ways. The key is that you are allowing the Lord to lead you in this. We have some of the churches still only meeting once a month in a larger celebration. We have some that meet every other week and of course we have many that meet every Sunday for celebration. I would at least wait till there is a larger group or it will seem like you are duplicating cell. Use this time to really solidify this core group. We usually say wait till there is at least two cells before there is a Sunday clebration. And then the frequency of that is up to you. As you have mentioned there is the freedom of finances when there is no building to maintain. We have rented buildings, leased buildings, and also purchased buildings. The point is, what is the Lord saying to you as a church plant.

Ron Myer
DOVE Fellowship International

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