We’ve put together some common questions and what we think are some answers.
The answers may not be the best and you might be able to contribute that missing bit of the puzzle!
- I’m already attending a church but would like to gather in a house church setting can I still come and gather? ………….. Yes, if your a follower of Jesus your welcome. The book of Acts tells us that “And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Act 2:46-47 …. Gods people love to gather. You can gather as often as you want with the saints at any time and every time you gather you are the church. Sadly exclusive commitment to one local church is a symptom of our fragmented view of church. When God looks at Newport He sees one church and its unfortunate that we often don’t have that same viewpoint.
- Do I have to hold particular views on the bible etc and what happens if someone doesn’t hold the same view as me? ………… The early church didn’t start off with a bible and their only distinctive was “Jesus is Lord”. We start from this one confession of faith and walk the journey of that faith by following Jesus. If God had wanted a unified view of the teachings of the bible He would have probably made things a lot clearer….but they aren’t and maybe He wanted us to experience the fellowship of love that gives freedom to brothers and sisters to hold different opinions. The Apostle Paul wrote “Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand” Romans 14:3-4. The principle is simple we follow Jesus not a specific set of doctrines. Those that have insight are able to teach us and persuade us in sound doctrine rather than dominate us by a self appointed authority.
- Will the church meet in the same house each week?………… That all depends of the needs of the church family. You may not be able to host a gathering for many reasons but if you can and want to make your home available it will be good to gather with you. Ideally it would good to move around homes but that may not always be possible.
- Are you already gathering in Newport? ……. this will be a new gathering of saints and although we are gathering with saints in the week we have yet to start the 1st day of the week (Sunday) gathering of the saints around the love feast. We are two families with connections to others who are interested in gathering. The purpose of this web site is to draw in those that are seeking to unite in the intimate and Spirit led gathering of the saints in Newport. We hope that you will contact us and express and interest so that we can begin to gather soon.
- Although I love Jesus, I left church a long time ago and don’t want to return to the difficulties I faced then! ……………This is a statement rather than a question but at the heart of that statement is a heart felt cry for fellowship with saints. You may have had really good reasons to withdraw yourself from “The Church” and we don’t believe that any church is better than no church. The simple truth is “God resurrected you in the new life of the Spirit to gather with saints”. We can’t guarantee you’ll find us perfect but the simple practice of the New Testament church, meeting in homes, with no hierarchical structure, no desire to dominate and a big desire to love might be the place you’ve been searching for.
- Will these gatherings eventually move into a building as more saints attend? ………. As we gather and grow our gatherings will be replicated in other locations. Our gatherings will remain small and intimate. It’s not an aim to become large, but to remain as family gatherings that can fit into a house. If the house is too small to gather then we need to start a further gathering in another house. That new gathering, although hopefully retaining the basic principles, would be free to be led by the Spirit in a different expression of that same freedom. House gatherings may choose to come together for a specific time of teaching or united prayer and this might be in a bigger place than a home.
- Will there be a collection of money when we meet or will I be encouraged to tithe? …………. There won’t be a collection plate and you won’t be encouraged or expected to tithe. If you want to tithe then that’s between you and God and you can give God’s money to whoever you are led to assist. The only giving that we would expect to occur amongst a family is “one to another” and “according to need”. In the book of James we read – If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? James 2:15-16.
- Will children be a part of our gatherings? …………….The early church gatherings always involved families and children were a part of most gatherings, especially the Love Feast held on a Sunday each week. Our present experience of church services tends to focus on an organised format that follows a very common layout that is managed by leaders and worship teams. There’s the introduction, the worship session, the notices and then the preaching. This needs organisation and control with a children’s ministry to take care of children during the preaching. The early church gathered in a participatory style with every saint being able to contribute. “What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification”. 1 Corinthians 14:26. The Sunday gathering is set around a family meal and the saints have opportunity to share the word with each other, so as many contribute there will not be occasion for a single saint to speak for 30 minutes or more. Children are able to be a part of the gathering just as they would in the gathering of any celebrating family.
- Statement of Faith …….Where is the statement of faith on this web site? If your looking for a long detailed statement of faith you won’t find one. The statement of faith of the church is “Jesus is Lord”. The early church didn’t have complex statements of faith, these came much later when the established system decided to lay down a set of beliefs that all had to adhere too. Its not that a statement of faith is wrong, but it can be used to exclude people who don’t fit our standard or worse still, be the set standard for persecuting others, even those that follow Jesus, who don’t have the same views as the majority at a given time in history. Sadly church history confirms this terrible truth. Its interesting that those who have accepted Jesus as Lord generally hold a very similar understanding of much of the scriptures teaching without the need for a statement.
- Will there be a leader or leaders in the church? ………. That’s a question that you may be asking from you present understanding of church leadership. The early church did not have a pastor or a bishop and they didn’t have the “position” of leader or elder. They had the ministry of leadership which was found in the elders of the church. These elders did not have authority over the saints and they were generally accepted as elders, with the consent of the saints who accepted them as such because of their ministry as servants of the body. Leadership is not about climbing up a ladder its actually about climbing down to serve the saints. Jesus makes the principle very clear in Matthews Gospel …. But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. “It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28.
- Why does your site always refer to “the saints”? …………. We use the term saint to refer to anyone who has chosen to follow Jesus as both Saviour and Lord. A saint is not a high order of Christian or someone given this title by the church. We use the term “saint” in contrast to the term “sinner” …… if you are a follower of Jesus then you are not a sinner saved by grace but a saint who once was a sinner and now saved by grace. The scriptures tell us that a saint no longer continues to sin 1 John 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Using other scriptures to help us understand this statement we conclude that although a saint may sin this will be the exception rather than the rule of life. To be a sinner is to continually engage in sinful activity, being rebellious against God and living a life motivated by the welfare of self. Our end goal in life will be the motivation for all we do, if its looking after number 1 then others will suffer. If its the transformation of our lives into the life of Jesus then we are saints and the universe will benefit.
- A lot of whats written seems critical of other churches, what is your relationship to other churches? …… A church or gathering that defines its identity, commitment and ministries in isolation from the other Christians in the same locality makes the clear mistake of failing to recognise the Body of Christ in a given locality. Paul dealt with this issue saying “I am of…” and “I am of…” (I Cor.1:12-13). Commitment to a group of Christians in one church or gathering that fails to recognise the reality of the entire church outside that congregation is clearly wrong. Our relationships among Christians locally, nationally and world wide are spiritual in nature. They are not defined in terms of ‘belonging’ to one or another church or small group, as in a club or organisation. They are defined in terms of ‘organic,’ God-ordained, real-life interaction that takes place (mostly) outside church meetings. We love the body of Christ, Where ever and however it finds its expression and we want to support and bless any gathering of those who follow Jesus. Unfortunately our break from the traditional way of “doing church” may highlight an alternative that offends because it implies that the traditional requires change.