Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Let the Mistakes Begin!

I thought I would start sharing my thoughts and personal experiences as I go about starting a local Messianic fellowship.  I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing but perhaps it will be helpful for some of you just to hear my thought processes, the issues involved, and, last but not least, all the mistakes I've been making and will be making in the coming weeks and months.

CURRENT STATUS:

I found out this week that the local church we visit is not going to let me use the facilities for a Messianic fellowship group.  When I first got turned down, I felt angry.  Then I thought, maybe G-d doesn't want it to be that easy...and maybe it will benefit people to see me make every mistake in the book.  

NEEDS ASSESSMENT:

To have a Messianic fellowship, you need to have a meeting facility that you can reserve on a regular and reliable basis.  But the libraries around here don't let you do that (and I don't know any pastors who would let me use their church facilities).  This is a problem because I need to be able to advertise a regular meeting time (which will probably involve putting flyers up in libraries and grocery stores).

STRATEGY:

I was thinking that a great intermediate step might be to create a local Facebook group for people who are interested in joining a Messianic Fellowship Group.  So this is my homework for the week.  I'm not a big Facebook user.  But this week I'm going to create a Facebook page.  That's step 1.

Step 2 will involve advertising for this Facebook group.

I don't have Step 3 yet.  But if enough people join the Facebook group then I can reserve a conference room at a local library and send out a group notification.

INPUT:

All input is welcome.  If you have any helpful suggestions, please share!  I'm new at this!  : )

Shalom,

Peter



18 comments:

  1. Read the book of Acts. They did not open a Facebook account, nor did they rented space from a church. They started at home and grew from there.

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  2. Matheus Machado RincoFebruary 5, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    If I would start something, I would do it by making friends with people of like mind and starting to study the Word together at home (even if you only find one person). Than if and when it became large enough to rent a place and start something more open, I would. Why this maybe shy aporach? You create true friendship and love between the "founders" of the larger community AND a strong enough group to lead other people.

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  3. Matheus Machado RincoFebruary 5, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    And, also, it is least like a church....

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  4. Dan,


    I want to be careful about the people I invite into my home considering how many registered sex offenders are out there today. The first-century Believers didn't have to worry about that. Also, the first-century Believers lived in a communal culture; American culture is anti-communal, everyone is isolated.


    We can't do things like the First Century Believers because we live in a different time and culture.

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  5. The trick is finding those like-minded people. How many Messianics have you met randomly in your town? I've personally never been shopping in the frozen food section and struck up an acquaintance with a Messianic. I've had to search them out--on the internet. That's how I found the nearest One-Law fellowship (which unfortunately it is quite far).

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  6. Dan,


    Facebook is very Jewish; it was created by Zuckerberg. : )

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  7. So was the Apostolic congregation, it was created by Yeshua LOL...

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  8. Mazel tov, Peter. Running a fellowship or congregation is a lot of work. I personally have to look at congregation running as a service to God, otherwise I'd get overwhelmed.


    There are numerous Messianic groups on Facebook, you may wish to mention in those groups that you're starting a congregation in your state.


    One other bit of advice, if you care for it, is to get helpers. You cannot run a congregation yourself and doing so will just stress yourself out and take the joy out of service. Spreading out the workload is essential for your sanity and it actually helps build a bond between those sharing the load.

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  9. If you start your group on FB, I will support it.

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  10. I had a home fellowship for a number of years. It was based on people that I met through the local Messianic community and some personal friends. We started in my one bedroom apartment with a study that consisted of 2-3 couples and the odd guest. Within a few months it had grown to many more regulars and a wildly variable number of guests.


    Over the course of a couple of years, no one wanted to contribute more than what is required of a pot luck dinner. As a group, they were consistently late for prayer and praise, but were never late for food. Starting later changed nothing. They just showed up later. So my wife and I would sing praises, pray. We would let them eat while one of us read the weekly portion and shared a midrash or teaching (usually me).


    Later, someone joined the group that had a meeting room at his offices and everyone moved over there. We were sad, but we were glad. We were tired. We went back to what we were doing before.


    Sounds like you are getting good advice. I strongly suggest you take it. Without a strong core group with a spirit to serve God and each other, you will find you only have yourself and Him anyway. Which isn't always such a bad thing.


    I wish you well and pray that God blesses your efforts.

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  11. I don't know if you are doing this alone, or have at least one other couple helping you. It sounds like a big undertaking solo. You really don't need a location for a small group, but I can understand that you wouldn't want to open your home to strangers.


    I would advertise everywhere: FB, various sites that connect Messianics, you can even put a free notice in your local Christian paper. You could gather info of people who are interested, and perhaps meet at a coffee shop or restaurant to discuss. You might have told me where you live, but I forgot.


    I know where we live we have a community room in our development that you only need to put down a deposit and get the $$$ back if it is left clean. Personally, it is more comfortable to meet in a home, especially if there is an area where the kids can play. Perhaps for the first meeting you can host, and I hope you like to cook. :) It is possible to trade off locations; you just keep everyone informed via email or FB. Perhaps a building is something in the future, or not even necessary?

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  12. I have also been in wonderful home groups. But one problem, as you mentioned, is a complaint one of the leaders had, that people bring something for the pot luck, but don't bring something spiritual to share with the group. People are so used to having professionals ministers that do all the work, and people get burned out. I don't know what to say about this, except the mentality has to change, and each home must become a mikdash meot (miniature sanctuary) and as in I Cor. 12-14, everyone needs to be encouraged to use their gifts.

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  13. Restaurant meeting rooms are usually free, but you need to know that a group is coming and they have to order food. Since I am TO, I would only meet at a restaurant after sundown on Shabbat.

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  14. Peter, I agree. Especially for those with children, I wouldn't invite a complete stranger who I had never spoken with, had any social media contact with or who didn't know someone I knew into my home.

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  15. D'oh!! I didn't even think about the buying of food on Shabbat. We never do restaurants during Shabbat... Totally slipped my mind. LOL!

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  16. Matheus Machado RincoFebruary 6, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    What I am saying is: maybe you shouldnt be looking for a place or a lot of people, but for one or two who would like to sit and study and have fellowship and start from there...
    Maybe what you are doing is the right way to find them...

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  17. This is the reason why I think setting up a congregation should be done top-down. First establish a leadership group with a few trustworthy and reliable friends. With them you search for a strategic location to start a Synagogue. After that you begin to hold the daily services according to a traditional style liturgy for the interested group you have. In this way anyone can simply participate just by walking in and following the service. This creates a basis for further outreach. And in this way you can avoid a lot of useless discussion and frustration. People who want to become members have to accept the leadership and ministry. Don't start by organizing pot lucks and other socializing activities. This will come later, and of itself. First establish a functioning Synagogue with fixed services. Keep the leadership firm in the hands of a few. No democracy. If they don't like it, they can go anywhere else.

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  18. Good comments. I cannot but agree.

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