Questions, Questions and More Questions—or Not!

Not long ago I met with a group of people who’ve been sharing life as a house church over the couple of years. They had read a lot of my books and articles, but we had never met. In preparation fo our time together, they sent me a list of the questions they were hoping to cover when I was with them. Here’s what they sent:

  • What are the areas of holy living that we cannot ignore as true disciples of Christ? (the standards for living)

  • What about headship and accountability in the small group setting? Who is responsible to keep order, make decisions, deal with breaches of conduct?

  • What kinds of information is appropriate to share; what kinds of questions can we ask others that will be helpful to the growth of the body, and which will cause division?

  • How do we deal with differences in age, education, economic levels, geographic, standards of dress or entertainment, strong opinions on health food, home schooling, etc.

  • How can we overcome roadblocks to real relationships? (personality quirks like stoicism vs. epicurean, giftings such as speaking vs. serving, training and backgrounds like Baptist vs. Pentecostal, paradigms and thinking patterns such as models for church vs. Holy Spirit led, etc.)

  • How do we grow and develop a deeper love for one another which would cause others to see something special?

  • Where do we find fellowship with a larger circle of believers?

  • What are some specific things we can do to humble ourselves?

  • How can we turn our focus to Jesus instead of ourselves in conversation without sounding pious or super spiritual?

  • How is speech that is full of grace characterized?

  • What part does prayer have in the unity of the body of Christ? Are there standards defining who we pray with, how often, or of quality that we should be aware of?

  • Describe a Spirit-led person. Describe a Spirit-led gathering.

  • How do fear of rejection, fear of conflict, etc. interfere with relationships? How can we overcome those?

  • Is the house church just another model, if so where do we go from here? Are there those breaking out of the house church model? Why?

I got tired just reading down the list. While there are some good questions here, when I first read them I was struck with how preoccupied they were with the life of ‘the group’ as an entity and not with our life in Jesus, who does have first place in all things with the church. I found myself hoping we’d forget about the list, and find the choicest fellowship at Jesus’ feet.

And that’s exactly what happened. When I arrived to gather with these people, we spent Friday evening sharing our journeys, talking about the amazing work Jesus accomplished for us on the cross and how he is calling people to himself these days. It was an awesome time of fellowship. We even had someone in the room that was a bit resistant to some of what was shared, but that even allowed us to see how to treat folks who don’t see things the same way we do.

Halfway through our time on Saturday, I said to my host, “Do we want to work on some of those questions this afternoon?”

He smiled at me and responded, “Don’t have to. They’re irrelevant.”

I loved it! I didn’t take it to be a slam on the questions, but a refocusing of our life around Jesus. As long as we are focused on the group, we’ll have an endless array of questions to deal with. When our focus is on Jesus, the questions become less important. In his presence and with his leadership he’ll make his way clear in our hearts. Having him, nothing else really matters. We went on to have a great weekend together and come away with hearts more clearly focused on his work in us and how we yield to him each day.

That’s why I’m so convinced that people preoccupied with creating fellowship rarely find it. They only end up with an unreasonable facsimile there of. But those who set their focus on Jesus and his kingdom, will in time find more fellowship than they will know what to do with.

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12 Comments
  1. Dominic May 21, 2005 at 11:49 am

    I found this simple,powerful and well simply profound that when beleivers focus on keeping "control" over the body that God doesnt seem to bless or honor that.When they simply find His love they are set right where they need to be.I always had this written on my own heart but there was never a ministry i could find and be a part of that sopported,clsrified and moved with these prcious things in mind…thank you so much Wayne,and truly ..God bless you,Dom

  2. Dominic May 21, 2005 at 2:49 pm

    I found this simple,powerful and well simply profound that when beleivers focus on keeping "control" over the body that God doesnt seem to bless or honor that.When they simply find His love they are set right where they need to be.I always had this written on my own heart but there was never a ministry i could find and be a part of that sopported,clsrified and moved with these prcious things in mind…thank you so much Wayne,and truly ..God bless you,Dom

  3. Randy Wingle May 23, 2005 at 7:16 am

    As I began to read the list of questions my stomach began to knot up as I had flash backs of "pastor days" gone by. The past three and ahalf years out side the system has been a breath of fresh air and life. All the questions truly are irrelavant when the focus is on walking together with Jesus. It is still a walking by faith and not sight but what freedom! Glad the we are on the journey together and hope to meet in person some day. Randy

  4. Randy Wingle May 23, 2005 at 10:16 am

    As I began to read the list of questions my stomach began to knot up as I had flash backs of "pastor days" gone by. The past three and ahalf years out side the system has been a breath of fresh air and life. All the questions truly are irrelavant when the focus is on walking together with Jesus. It is still a walking by faith and not sight but what freedom! Glad the we are on the journey together and hope to meet in person some day. Randy

  5. Kelly Martin-Shirk May 23, 2005 at 3:48 pm

    I too had knots in the stomach and a growing feeling of suffocation as I read the list of questions. "…people preoccupied with creating fellowship rarely find it." Amen! It sounds so simple, but human nature being what it is, so not simple. And yet – when we see Him – when we SEE Him – then we can let Him build the/His fellowship. Thank you Wayne for telling us about the gathering. May there be many multitudes more released into the liberty of Christ. Kelly

  6. Kelly Martin-Shirk May 23, 2005 at 6:48 pm

    I too had knots in the stomach and a growing feeling of suffocation as I read the list of questions. "…people preoccupied with creating fellowship rarely find it." Amen! It sounds so simple, but human nature being what it is, so not simple. And yet – when we see Him – when we SEE Him – then we can let Him build the/His fellowship. Thank you Wayne for telling us about the gathering. May there be many multitudes more released into the liberty of Christ. Kelly

  7. Steve May 25, 2005 at 4:31 am

    What, who, how, where…..only creates more questions.

    Jesus puts a much needed end to them all, thank God.

  8. Steve May 25, 2005 at 7:31 am

    What, who, how, where…..only creates more questions.

    Jesus puts a much needed end to them all, thank God.

  9. TADAISHA August 15, 2005 at 2:58 pm

    I WANTED TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO DENOMINATIONS AND WHY CAN’T THE DENOMINATIONS COME UNDER AS ONE? IF WE WORSHIP THE TRUE LIVING GOD WHY IS THERE SO MUCH SEPERATION? I THINK IT’S BECAUSE MAN WANTS TO HAVE POWER AND NOT GIVE IT ALL TO GOD.

  10. TADAISHA August 15, 2005 at 5:58 pm

    I WANTED TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO DENOMINATIONS AND WHY CAN’T THE DENOMINATIONS COME UNDER AS ONE? IF WE WORSHIP THE TRUE LIVING GOD WHY IS THERE SO MUCH SEPERATION? I THINK IT’S BECAUSE MAN WANTS TO HAVE POWER AND NOT GIVE IT ALL TO GOD.

  11. Wayne August 21, 2005 at 4:29 pm

    Tadaisha,

    There are too many Baptist denominations to answer this question fairly and too many Pentecostal ones for that matter.

    But I think you hit it on the head as to why we have too many denominations. As Jesus said, we will be one flock when we live to one shepherd. As long as we have hundreds of thousands of shepherds to follow who shape us after their image and with their pet theologies, we will knot know the oneness that the body of Christ really knows in the world…

  12. Wayne August 21, 2005 at 7:29 pm

    Tadaisha,

    There are too many Baptist denominations to answer this question fairly and too many Pentecostal ones for that matter.

    But I think you hit it on the head as to why we have too many denominations. As Jesus said, we will be one flock when we live to one shepherd. As long as we have hundreds of thousands of shepherds to follow who shape us after their image and with their pet theologies, we will knot know the oneness that the body of Christ really knows in the world…

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