And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
SUNDAY FELLOWSHIP MINISTry guidelines
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. GREETINGS AND OPENING PRAYER
1. The brother must bring a word of encouragement from a Scripture that speaks about the importance of church fellowship. The encouragement should be focussed on the joy and privilege of coming together as a church to worship the Lord, to pray together, to learn and obey God's Word, to fellowship with one another, and to minister to each other for one another's encouragement.
2. The brother who brings greetings and leads in opening prayer must begin by letting the church stand up and recite the mission statement.
3. The prayer must also be offered with a similar focus.
4. The brother's encouragement in the Holy Spirit should stir up the hearts of the people to get ready for the ministerial activities in the body of Christ. The greetings and opening prayer time should not take more than 2-3 minutes.
2. SONG LEADERS
1. The brother who is leading in songs should select songs based on the theme of the expository message. He will lead in singing three songs at the beginning of the fellowship and sing the fourth song right before the message. A brother and sister will offer individual worship after every song (only for the first three songs).
2. The one leading in songs must know the theme of the message from the preacher, select four songs, and send the songs for approval to Stephen David. The songs must be congregational (everyone must be able to sing), theologically sound, thematic (according to the theme of the message), and edifying to the church.
3. The brother must offer words of encouragement according to the song or can briefly share the history of the song. His encouragement in the Holy Spirit should be given in such a way that the congregation would be fanned into flame to sing with joy and vigor. This encouragement must be brief, just a minute, before every song.
4. By Friday, the song leader must post the songs in the church's What's App group. This would help the congregation prepare for congregational singing and inform the individual worshippers after every song to prepare worship accordingly.
3. INDIVIDUAL WORSHIPERS
1. Dear brother/sister, consider it a great privilege to offer words of worship unto God in the assembly of the saints. The Psalmist exhorted, "Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly." (Psalm 149:1)
2. Remember that you are offering worship on behalf of the whole church. So, be conscious of using "We" rather than "I".
3. You may choose to read a short Scripture portion (based on the song that was sung) before offering worship, or you may directly offer worship. But keep in mind that your worship is based on the song that was sung, and if possible, according to the theme of the expository message. Let your worship be more of praising God and less of the petition. Make sure you are not distracted by other issues in your worship. So do know the song beforehand and reflect on it. If you lack confidence in offering spontaneous worship, you are free to write your prayers and read them sincerely unto God.
4. Offering individual worship should not take more than 2 minutes.
4. PUBLIC READING OF THE SCRIPTURE
1. The brother must prepare prayerfully that this public reading of the Scripture will have a spiritual effect on the church.
2. The brother must listen to the audio Bible for practice and correct any pronunciation blunders. It is good to practice reading the Scripture portion not less than three times.
3. The brother must read the Scripture slowly so that people would follow his reading.
4. The brother must read the Scripture audibly and pronounce the words clearly for the comprehension of the congregation.
5. The brother must not be monotonous in his reading but have variability in his tone.
6. The brother must mention the Scripture reading portion twice, give a couple of seconds for the congregation to open their Bibles, and then begin reading the Scripture. He must read only from English Standard Version.
Suggested article to read by Tim Challies: The Public Reading of Scripture
5. BORN-AGAIN TESTIMONIES BEFORE CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
1. Every person who becomes a member of EEF must share their born-again testimony before the church. Only those who are born-again become a member of Christ's church.
2. This testimony must be prepared according to the document (ask for it), featuring life before believing in Christ, how you came to believe in Christ, and life after believing in Christ. The testimony must be Gospel-centered, highlighting sinful rebellion against God, hearing the gospel (death and resurrection of Christ), repentance and faith in Christ, and the change that came by the transforming power of the gospel of Christ.
3. The brother or sister who gives testimony must write it in the Word document and send it to Shankar Babu for approval. This practice is to make sure that the testimony carries the essential factors of born-again experience.
4. The sharing of testimony must not take more than 15 minutes. Remember that this testimony is only confined to your born-again experience and not a presentation of your personal biography. May God use the testimony to glorify His holy Name and edify His church.
6. THE GOSPEL EXHORTATION
1. We, as a church, believe in the weekly breaking of the bread. The Lord's Supper is a celebration of the Gospel of Christ Jesus. There is 10-15 minutes of Gospel exhortation every Sunday to prepare believers for meaningful participation in the breaking of the bread.
2. The exhortation must be Gospel-centered, meaning, addressing man's depravity and God's work of salvation through the sacrificial and substitutionary sacrifice of Christ Jesus on the cross. This brief message must be salvific and not moralistic.
3. The exhortation must end with application to both believers and unbelievers. To unbelievers, there must be an invitation to repent and believe in Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and to receive the free gift of eternal life. To believers, there must be a call to reflect upon the Gospel with gratitude and a renewed commitment to Christ, the Lord.
4. The brother who gives Gospel exhortation must submit his message to an elder for approval by Wednesday. This practice ensures that the message is well prepared and centered on the Gospel.
5. The brother must preach the Gospel exhortation between 10-15 minutes and must not go beyond it.
7. THE LORD'S SUPPER
The brother who leads in the celebration of breaking the bread must begin by reading the Scripture from 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 and 1 Corinthians 10:16-17.
After reading the Scripture, let him, with his two hands, lift up the bread and say, "This bread symbolizes essentially the body of Christ offered for the forgiveness of our sins. Our participation in it shows the oneness of the body of Christ, which is the unity of the church." After this, let him, with his two hands, lift up the cup and say, "This cup symbolizes the blood of Christ shed for the forgiveness of our sins."
The brother then leads in thanksgiving and prayer for the body and blood of Christ offered for our sins and for the church to participate worthily by being in a peaceful relationship with one another.
Before having the bread and cup pass to the congregation, the brother must give the following instructions:
1. The Lord's Supper is the celebration of Christ's death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead because of which we have received the gift of eternal life and became one body of Christ. Let's participate with joy and gladness.
2. Only believers who are genuinely born-again and are baptized should participate.
3. Examine yourself whether you are at peace with the members of the church. Don't participate with bitterness and division but in a worthy manner.
4. Encourage the congregation to meditate on the Gospel of Christ during the participation of the breaking of the bread. May the encouragement be to participate in a worthy manner focusing on the crucified Christ.
5. Let the visitors participate only if they are born-again, baptized, and are in good standing with their local church.
6. Urge the congregation to take the bread and the cup and wait for all to receive the elements, and then participate together by saying "Let us all now eat the bread and drink the cup in remembrance of the Lord's death until He comes."
Assisting Bread and Cup: One brother and sister will assist in the breaking of bread and in the offering of the cup. They must go and stand immediately with the brother who presides over the celebration of the breaking of bread. After that, they must distribute the elements to the church.
8. CHURCH COVENANT
1. The brother must prepare prayerfully that this reading of the church covenant will have a spiritual effect on the church.
2. The brother must read the church covenant slowly so that people would follow his reading.
3. The brother must read the church covenant audibly and pronounce the words clearly for the comprehension of the congregation.
4. The brother must not be monotonous in his reading but have variability in his tone.
9. BREAKOUT GROUP LEADERS
1. It is necessary that you clearly understand the content of the message and faithfully represent it to your group. Do not misrepresent the preacher.
2. It is good that you take notes actively to lead your group effectively in the discussion.
3. Focus your conversations on the key lessons that the preacher taught and how that personally encouraged the participants. Balance both the content and the application.
4. It is possible that you may have disagreements on some issues with the preacher. But it would be good if you were not divisive in leading your group. You may discuss your concerns directly with the preacher, but lead your group peacefully and have a healthy discussion.
5. If you find someone in the group has some questions and you cannot answer them, call the preacher to answer those questions. The preacher of the day will not be leading any groups but will be available to help the groups if they need him.
6. Do not dominate the group by talking more but engage all the participants to speak and share their thoughts.
7. Unless the participants are interested, limit your discussion to 15-20 mins or to the fellowship meal time and not stretch beyond it.
8. Make sure you prayerfully prepare yourself to lead the group and end the discussion with a word of prayer, either by you or by someone in the group.
FINALLY, please do cooperate in following the above instructions shared to help us all do our ministries efficiently for the edification of the body of Christ. Even if it is a small activity, let us do it prayerfully and with humble dependence on the Lord.
Thank you ALL for your service to the body of Christ. Take every responsibility seriously in the Lord. May the Lord richly reward you for all you do for His church.