Creating Spaces for New People

posted on September 01


Many churches have found new (and not so new) ways to successfully reach new people, build community and engage their neighbors. Due to the inability to safely gather in large groups, many churches have started and/or increased their church’s digital presence and online experience as the way to reach new people outside the church and connect with and continue to foster relationship in their congregations.
 
Some churches, on the other hand, didn’t stop there. They are doing the “new thing” — expanding their digital ministry AND they are doing something “not so new” — adding House Churches (or gathering places) as a way to continue meeting.
 
In an interview with Rev. Trey Skaggs, pastor of Indianola First UMC, Rev. MJ Kirby, pastor of Gautier UMC explains how Gautier UMC got started. “Necessity is truly the mother of invention,” states MJ. With the limitation of COVID, she found a need to get in touch with her church members, to stay connected – so their House Churches were born. MJ explains, “House Churches are becoming the touchpoint of care for our people.”
 

 

Why House Church?
Two primary factors lend themselves to the establishment of House Churches. The current climate and the changing climate. In the current climate, the use of House Churches is an effective way of continuing to meet while still maintaining small group gatherings and being connectional in worship. The changing climate shows that smaller group settings are on the rise. The adoption of a model that allows for both small group contact and larger connectional worship will be a great additional tool to help the church move forward.
 
For the first few centuries of its’ life, the church was generally held in people’s homes. Neighbors and strangers were invited into a believer’s home. The gospel was preached. Community was created. If this sounds familiar, that may be because it is also very Wesleyan in nature. John Wesley engaged in and organized people into smaller groups that met with each other on a regular basis and then came together as a larger group. They were known as Classes, Bands, and Societies. Although not exactly the same, the focus is bringing people together in connection, worshipping God and doing life together.

Want to know more? Contact Rev. Jason Zebert, FCF Office Project Coordinator/Office Administrator at jzebert@mississippi-umc.org, or 769-243-7073.