The AIM is to ENCOURAGE everybody, to love each other, to participate,
to help each other, to nurture each other, to minister to each other, to
discern, to teach, to heal, to preach the gospel, to worship, to disciple, to
build up the Church, to establish God's kingdom on earth.
If you are truly lead by the Spirit, then you can do anything
you like, including singing, teaching, prophesying, healing, praying, serving
God is a God of order and not disorder.
Somebody should oversee the meeting, but not necessarily the
most senior person. In fact it is good for the more senior members of the
group to disciple the younger members by allowing them to lead the group.
The person who oversees the meeting is responsible for
maintaining order and unity. He should open and close the meeting and
focus on the needs of the group. (a bit like the chairperson in
parliament) He is not there to set the agenda but rather to work out what
it should be according to the particular needs of the group on that day.
The most senior person should disciple others, training
them to become leaders too. He/she should, therefore, be letting the
younger ones be doing more and providing feedback and correction as lead by the
Spirit. The role of the shepherd is to guide, guard and and protect, not
Silence can be good. It provokes people to think of what
they can say. However, the best meeting are those where it is hard to get a
word in because everybody wants to say something. If you don't get an opportunity
to speak, don't resent the group. Don't pull down people who speak to
much. These are often the ones that the Holy Spirit is using at the
time. If you tell people off for speaking too much, you will end up with
long silences where nobody wants to speak.
The younger members of the group should be encouraged to
contribute or ask questions. New Christians often bring life to the group
and give the group meaning and purpose. Inevitably, the new ones will feel
shy and that they don't have much to contribute particularly if it is a big
group or if they have various disabilities. They should be encouraged to
participate in the fellowship but not forced.
Let the Holy Spirit lead and convict people. Don't do the
Holy Spirit's job for him.
It is important to maintain the interest of the group by keeping
things relevant and nourishing, provoking discussion by asking good questions.
The leader should be like the interviewer on a talk show. If the group
consists mainly of new Christians then maybe it would be better to get one of
the New Christians to be the leader and ask the questions in the Study Notes
while the senior member of the group answers them if the other don't know.
It is good if the leader can synthesize
and summarize what has been said at the end of the meeting if things still need
to be clarified
If somebody is getting upset, wisdom is
required to know when to persevere and when to back off. This will depend
on the level that the leader himself is at. It is important to know when
to say "I don't know. I will ask somebody else." There is
nothing wrong with saying "I don't know." In fact it is good to recognize
this as you will then go and seek an answer.
We all start from different vantage
points. Thus, we all have different perspectives about what God is
like. It is only by experience, fellowship and reading the word that we
can come to know God properly. The Bible says that we come to know the
depth and breadth and height of God's love by fellowshipping with the
saints. We enlarge our own understanding of God when we fellowship with
others. We may not appreciate the significance of what others say until
God gives us an experience that proves it true.
God perfects us (or sanctifies us) when we
speak in the meeting. If we say something that is not right, the Spirit
It is good to say Amen to encourage others
or support what they are saying.
People should be given the opportunity to
testify in the meeting as this is also very edifying for the speaker and the
group. There are many different ways that this can be done.
Sometimes, public confession of sin can be
very positive. If people fear rejection, the confession of sin can set
them free as long as the group accepts them and they are truly repentant.
We can only forgive others when we ourselves have been forgiven. We can
only accept others when we ourselves have been accepted. Only Jesus can do
Different groups have different
needs. It is important to address the needs of the group. Sometimes,
the needs of an individual may need attention before good fellowship can be
established. If something unexpected comes up, be prepared to drop what
you planned to do and do what the Spirit tells you.
Once the agenda has been set, it is
important to flow with the Spirit. It is therefore, important to choose a
topic that is relevant and of interest to the group. It is good to ask
questions, even if nobody knows the answer. Once enough has been
said on that topic, it would be appropriate for somebody to raise a new topic
When one person is speaking, the others
are discerning. It is not necessary to correct all errors as this can be
discouraging. Let the Holy Spirit do the correcting.
Sometimes, however, it is necessary to
confront an incorrect teaching or a bad spirit. Certain beliefs and
attitudes keep us in bondage. It is important to confront false beliefs or
we ourselves become corrupted and the life of the group suffers. When
doing this, we must stand on the authority of God's word, not our own. It
is not good enough to say "well, this is what Brother XXX
says.". We must find the answer for ourselves in God's