Many who are awakened to the truth about the Sabbath, the Biblical Feasts and following Torah find themselves feeling alone in their walk. Maybe a friend introduced you to this lifestyle and you can get together on the Sabbath. But what if you have nowhere to fellowship on Sabbath?
And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming Yeshua as the Messiah (Acts 5:42).
The early believers, who were mostly Jewish, went to the Temple or a synagogue with the other Jews. But after a while, the unbelieving Jews rejected the followers of Messiah, forcing them out. For a while, the believers met together in their homes as well as going to the public meetings, but eventually their gatherings were mostly in their homes.
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Messiah Yeshua… Greet also the community that meets in their house (Romans 16:3-5).
Aquila and Prisca greet you warmly in the Lord, with the community that meets in their house (1Corinthians 16:19.
Greet the brothers and sisters in Laodicea, as well as Nympha and the community that meets in her house (Colossians 4:15).
To Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the community that meets in your house (Philemon 1:2).
The Left Foot of Fellowship
In a similar way, many who come to an understanding of Torah while they are in a Christian church continue to worship and fellowship there. But all too often, fellow church members do not share the same joy and excitement about this discovery. After a while, the church rejects this newfound light and eventually most are forced to leave church fellowship. Just like the early believers, many meet in small home fellowships instead.
You may be blessed to find a Messianic home fellowship group in your community. If that is not the case, consider hosting a home fellowship yourself.
Have a Plan
When you meet together, know in advance what you are going to do. In many Messianic home fellowships, they read and discuss the weekly Torah Portion, including readings from the New Testament. There are a lot of resources available to help you lead a study. You don’t have to preach or teach, just facilitate a study.
If you are uncomfortable leading a study, you may want to consider using DVD or CD teachings from respected Hebrew Roots teachers. Use discretion; there are a lot of fringe teachings out there, but you should be able to find teachers you can trust. Watch or listen to the teaching as a group, pausing when necessary to discuss what was said. Always stick with Scripture.
Several ministries now live stream their Sabbath services. You may find it helpful to start by just tuning in to a live or pre-recorded broadcast. Jacob’s Tent in Cleveland, Tennessee streams a service every Sabbath at 11:00 EST. You can find previous services or other congregations on YouTube.
When you gather, don’t just focus on teaching or study. Spend time worshiping God. During teaching and study, our God is giving something to us – understanding, direction, peace, and more. But during worship, we are giving something to our God. Don’t be selfish and always receiving. Take time to give.
Use instruments or recorded music to sing praise to the Father. Or, just sing acapella. Be prepared ahead of time with printed words and, for those who can use it, chords or music. If you can play instruments, ask others to participate.
Consider incorporating liturgy in your worship time. Don’t just run through it, but focus on what you are saying. Use Scripture; read it aloud together. You can find some traditional liturgy specifically for Messianic believers in a Siddur. Go here for a Messianic Siddur.
Also be sure to include a time of prayer.
When he [Peter] realized this, he went to the house of Miriam, the mother of John (also called Mark), where many were assembled together and praying (Acts 12:12).
So confess your offenses to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous person is very powerful (James 5:16).
Fellowship Meal – Oneg
Many home fellowships share a meal together on the Sabbath. Often it is referred to as the oneg, a Hebrew word meaning “delight.”
If you turn back your foot from Shabbat, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call Shabbat a delight (Strong’s H6027: exquisite delight, daintiness, delight, pleasantness), the holy day of Adonai honorable, If you honor it, not going your own ways, not seeking your own pleasure, nor speaking your usual speech, then You will delight yourself in Adonai, and I will let you ride over the heights of the earth, I will feed you with the heritage of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of Adonai has spoken (Isaiah 58:13-14).
Be careful not to make the oneg fellowship meal a burden to anyone. Keep things simple, and choose food dishes that can be prepared the day before. Use disposable table service to keep cleanup to a minimum.
Now Is the Time
You don’t need to be an evangelist, pastor, teacher or any other similar calling to host a home fellowship. You just need a willing heart. Spend time in prayer before each meeting. Have a plan, create a safe environment and encourage participation. Trust God to bless your efforts.
If you have comments about your own experience hosting a home fellowship that might be edifying to others, feel free to leave a comment below.
6 thoughts on “Starting a Home Fellowship”
I was raised Lutheran & I have been a practicing Pentecostal for 30+ years. Through a variety of study means I have come to the conclusion that the organized “SUNDAY” church does not belong to the Lord because of a lot of reasons from it’s emphasis on OT tithes (to build denominational buildings & pay salaries), to the divisive nature of denominations/non-denominations, to the unbiblical origins of communion (versus a Last Supper, Corinthian Love Feasts), to the unholy practice of Halloween, Christmas & Easter celebrations; while ignoring the Jewish Feasts. Even how the Catholics worship Mary while the Protestants ignore her altogether. My wife & others think I have flipped & on the rare occasion I attend my former (my wife’s current) Assembly of God people act like I have returned to the promise land. I use to be an ordained independent Charismatic minister & I have a D.Min. from a loosely based Baptist independent seminary. I hate titles & I prefer the name MICHAEL. I could be the Rev. Dr. Michael Quay which is such hypocrasy; yet I spent most of my time working with children. I have NO ONE to start a home fellowship with (E. Hawaii is not a large population base). I feel so alone! I see the hypocrites making their millions from Baptists to Charismatics (My wife calls me judgmental).
Hey Michael, it can be difficult when people don’t always understand where we are coming from. Maybe you can start just inviting people to a Bible study, not making it specific to the new things you’ve learned, but just discussing them as they come up. Now might be a good time to start planning, then start right after “Easter” so you don’t have that controversy. At that point, you would be leading up to Shavuot/Pentecost, the one Biblical festival that is observed in the organized church. This might even give you an opening to talk about the fall Feasts before the churches start getting distracted by Christmas.
Thanks for this article. You describe how we are feeling in our christian church. My husband keep saying to stop going to it and begin in our house just us. But I am so afraid, what if it doesn’t work and doesn’t help our kids. We have 3, a youth, a teen and a child. The same minded fellowships are really far from us. We live in Puerto Rico. Thanks again and prayers for his guidance.
Thanks for the comment. You may want to consider beginning a home fellowship before you leave your church. Use the opportunity to invite church friends to your Sabbath Bible study. You might even find that there are others searching for the same thing as you but they have never expressed it.
That was quite insightful and I would like to that. My question would be, how to start one up, if you do not attend a church or go to a synagogue?
Thanks for your comment and question, Myra. Most all home fellowships start out small – maybe just you or your family and a friend or other family. Come together on the Sabbath and set aside time together specifically to worship by singing or listening to music, reading Scripture and sharing or studying together. Then invite another friend or family to join you. There isn’t a set formula, and different things will work for different fellowships. Remember that starting the fellowship is a secondary focus – your primary focus is to honor the Father and observe the Sabbath. I pray you are blessed as you do so.