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. Read a short Scripture portion (based on the song that was sung) before offering worship. Keep in mind to offer worship based on the Scripture you read, which is based on the song.
4. 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 worship and read them sincerely unto God.
5. Do not use the name "Lord" or "God" or "Father" multiple times as gap fillers. Let your worship be conversational, just as we see in Psalms.
6. If you pray to the Father, end with the phrase "In the Name of our Lord Jesus." If you pray to the Lord Jesus, no need to use the phrase "In the Name of Jesus" because you are praying to Christ and not to the Father.
7. Offering individual worship should not take more than 2 minutes.
4. PUBLIC READING OF THE SCRIPTURE
1. The person must prepare prayerfully that this public reading of the Scripture will have a spiritual effect on the church.
2. The person 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 person must read the Scripture slowly so that people would follow his reading.
4. The person must read the Scripture audibly and pronounce the words clearly for the comprehension of the congregation.
5. The person must not be monotonous in his reading but have variability in his tone.
6. The person 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. Everyone who wants to become a member of EEF must share their born-again testimony before the church. This helps the members to know you are a born-again Christian and aids in affirming your membership. Only those who are born-again become a member of EEF.
2. The testimony is only confined to your understanding of the Gospel and born-again experience. There may be many encouraging experiences you may want to share, but this testimony time is not for that purpose. Failure to highlight the Gospel and born-again experience may result in having you share your testimony again.
3. Some may suppose, “I have not committed gross sins and have no dramatic conversion.” No worries. The worst sin we all have committed is the sin of living for ourselves and not loving God with our entire being. God’s Word says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The focus is on how you realized your sinful state and have come to the cross of Christ.
4. The brother or sister who gives testimony must write it in the Word document and send it to Cyril Nehemiah for approval. Cyril is appointed by the elders to evaluate testimonies. This practice ensures that the testimony carries the essential factors of the Gospel and born-again experience.
5. The sharing of testimony must not take more than 15 minutes.
6. The testimony must be prepared according to the format provided in the document (ask for it).
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 as many members in one loaf also represents 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."
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. Let's participate with joy and gladness.
2. The Lord's Supper is not just for individual reflection but also essentially for a community celebration. Let us partake in the breaking of the bread with a community sense.
3. 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.
4. Only believers who are genuinely born-again should partake in the breaking of the bread. If you are not a believer of Christ Jesus, please talk to us to know Christ and HIs free gift of eternal life.
5. 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.
6. Let the visitors participate only if they are born-again and in good standing with their local church.
7. Urge the congregation to take the bread and the cup and wait for all to receive the elements. After everyone receives the elements, lead 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. And then say, "Let us all now as the body of Christ 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 / CONFESSION OF FAITH
1. The brother must prepare prayerfully that this reading of the confession will have a spiritual effect on the church.
2. The brother must read the confession slowly so that people would follow his reading.
3. The brother must read the confession 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.
5. Mention these words, "I ask only members of Ekklesia Evangelical Fellowship to rise and confession. I request that visitors and prospective members stay seated. We look forward to prospective members to covenant with the church."
6. Also mention, "I urge ALL the members not to pay lip service to the confession simply. May we be sincere in our confession and allow the Holy Spirit to convict and lead us to live according to the confession."
9. BREAKOUT GROUP LEADERS
1. It is necessary that you attentively listen to the sermon, 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.
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.