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To Start A Fellowship

. Posted in Teachings.

We are often contacted by individuals who are looking for a Messianic or Hebraic Roots fellowship. When the Father and Spirit awaken people to the foundations of their faith, they often feel lost and alone. No longer do they fit into a typical church environment and Messianic assemblies are not found on every corner. After a bit of searching, the natural place to end up is, “Why don’t we start a fellowship?”

Many have gone down this road and, unfortunately, most have not been able to maintain an assembly for any length of time. When things fall apart, it can cause damage to His people and the message. In this article, we offer some tips for, starting a fellowship that will hopefully benefit your efforts.

Here are 5 P’s to starting a fellowship:

Pray

Prayer is essential. Separating our will from the Father’s direction is critical when it comes to starting and leading an assembly of faith. One of the first questions to ask is, “Father, do you desire for me to be part of an existing assembly, or begin a new one?” You may not want to be a part of an existing assembly. Perhaps you feel it is not the right fit, or too far to travel to, etc.

God may have another opinion. One very essential principle of leadership is: to be a good leader, you must first learn to be a good follower. It may not be the perfect assembly (there are no perfect assemblies), but you can learn something there. Maybe all you learn is how to show up each week faithfully. Perhaps the lessons will be deeper. Make sure you get a “go” from Him before you begin.

Pray about the vision for your fellowship. What is it the Father wants you to accomplish? His people perish for lack of vision is not just a catchphrase, it is truth. This process will help to clarify specific direction for the group. There are many forms of assemblies today. Some are rigid and some are very relaxed. There are many good things an assembly can accomplish, but what does He want you to accomplish? Seek Him through prayer and He will answer.

Pray for protection and equipping. When you step out to teach the truth of His Word, expect the Enemy’s darts to fly your way. Often, Satan will use those closest to you, to thwart the will of the Father. You will need to be properly equipped with wisdom and gifting to lead; expect to be tested along the way. Pray for protection for your family, pray hard for this.

Prepare

Leading a fellowship is difficult. Preparation will help you avoid many of the pitfalls that have crippled other well meaning souls, who thought it would be cool to start an assembly.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

Study His word, so that you can effectively disciple others, but also study how to teach and how to lead. There are many great books concerning each of these topics. Scripture is full of great examples. Take the proper amount of time to prepare yourself to lead.

The best place to begin your leadership training is at home. The disciples under your roof are your training ground. Scripture tells us that those who lead an assembly must be the husband of one wife and have their children in order. There are other instructions as well, but these two deal with your home. Do whatever it takes to lead your home effectively, first.

For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God (1 Timothy 3:5)?

If you are not willing to pay the price to be a good leader of your home, there is no sense in stepping out to lead others. It will be a disaster. Take the time to get things in order (not perfection) and you will be blessed on many levels.

Review the list for leadership in 1 Timothy and Titus 1, then make a plan to improve any personal deficiencies. The Father will bless your efforts to live up to His standard. Be honest with yourself. Perhaps you will determine that you are not to be the ultimate leader. You can still be the catalyst for getting things going.

Preparation also involves things like determining location, meeting times, budgetary concerns, flow, structure, and all the little details. Use your wisdom, and a little common sense, to figure out a starting place for each component of a meeting. Remember, the Father created our spirits and also gave us a brain. Use it well. Know that things will change over time, but you need to start somewhere. Be structured, but flexible on these matters and see where He leads you.

What other tools might be needed? A workman in any trade has a set of tools he has had to invest in. Working for the Father is no different. There are spiritual tools and physical tools. Consider your relationship with Him. How are things looking these days? Again, be honest making any needed adjustments, allowing them to take root for a season, before you step out.

Invest in the study and reference books you need. While there are plenty of Internet option, there is nothing quite like have a few old fashioned books around while studying the deeper things in Scripture. Add to your library as you can afford and use them wisely realizing that nothing tops His written Word for insight and understanding.

There may be some other physical tools needed as well. Things like chairs, sound equipment, worship instruments, and more. These do not have to be “top of the line” tools, but they should not distract from the worship experience the Father wants you to present to His people. If I were a plumber for Joe’s Plumbing, I would represent Joe. As a shepherd in the body, I represent Yeshua. Do it to the best of your ability.

Persistence

This is where vision is critical. If you do not have a firm grasp of why you are starting an assembly, when trouble comes it will knock you off course. Persistence is important and only possible in His strength. Yet, He teams with men and women to accomplish His will on earth. If you are a person who has a history of giving up easily, don’t even start. Look at the patterns in your life, are they patterns of faithfulness or something else? The faithfulness muscle is something you can develop. Perhaps it needs strengthening. If so, get it stronger before you begin. If it is in good shape, know that it will be tested.

The testing will often come through naysayers. These may be people who are close to you, sometimes even out of good intentions. They may not be able to see the person Yahweh is building. They might be confused, or even a little jealous. Keep these verses handy:

Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:30-31)?

The tests will also come through your mistakes. It is not a question of, if you will make mistakes, but rather how you will react when they occur. This may even fuel more doubt in those around you. Remember that perfection is not a prerequisite to leadership. Persistence may lead to perfection, but a strong need for perfection can often cripple persistence. Press in and press on.

Partner

The principle behind the instruction,

… at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established” (Deuteronomy 15:19).

has application as one sets out to establish a fellowship. Do you recall how the spies, and later the disciples, were sent out in pairs? Look for a partner, one who will be honest with you and supportive of your efforts.

Your primary partner should of course be your spouse. The Father gave you a particular spouse to help complete you. To not listen to their counsel and partner with them in ministry is just not wise. If your spouse is not in agreement, concerning starting a fellowship, then wait. Remember, a leader must first have their home in order. Waiting is often an excellent course of action.

You, will need more help as well. Find someone else through whom you can begin to build a team. Do not look for a “yes man.” Better to find someone who processes differently than you, for then, you will have a more complete picture of any situation. This is not to diminish the role of your spouse, but rather to increase your support team as the battle you are about to enter is larger than you imagine. Look for someone to whom you will listen when they speak, especially when they disagree with you.

A good choice for this partner is someone who can mentor you. Perhaps they have been down this road before, or at least down the road of life longer than you have. Like a Nascar driver, drop in behind them and gain power from their experience. Let their mistakes smooth out your journey. Their lessons in life will save you energy and a great deal of time. Mentors are good.

Hopefully, this mentor is also an encourager. Not blind encouragement, but the kind that will help bring out the good in you that can make all the difference. Find someone who helps to bring out the Yeshua in you. The world is full of folks who like to tear people down, surround yourself with encouragers, and you will accomplish a great deal for His Kingdom.

Over time, build a team of strong pillars. They will help to stabilize and grow the fellowship. This growth will be in numbers and spiritual insight. When the leader can spend his time seeking the Father, then everyone grows faster. If the leader has to wear all the hats: apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher, evangelist, prayer warrior, worship leader, janitor etc., everyone suffers. The “five-fold ministry” is essential for a balanced and stable community of faith.

Pray

The daily Temple service began with and ended with the same type of offering.

The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even (Numbers 28:4).

We too, must be willing to double our offerings, this time through prayer. What began with prayer needs to continue through prayer. This is a great place to get others involved. Have people within your trusted, “inner circle” pray and seek the Father on your behalf. Listen to His instruction that comes to you through them.

As the instruction comes, adjust your plans to match His. Do not be so dogmatic in your plan that you run afoul of His perfect will. Let Him lead you, line upon line, as you move forward. Allow an attitude of continuous improvement to permeate your soul. Seek the Father on how to make those improvements and who should be a part of the process.

Pray for discernment. A shepherd knows the sheep. He can discern their needs and adjust to the conditions. People will come and go in the assembly. Part of that is a natural life process. Be ready to serve whoever is committed to the community of faith. This means that the spiritual food and physical assistance you provide will change over time. Stay ahead of the need. You do this by staying in close communication with our God.

Finally, before beginning a fellowship, ask yourself, “Am I willing and ready to serve.” If you cannot answer a strong yes, then wait. Realize that this service will be to a wide variety of people with a great divergence of needs. It is easy to serve those who are lovable. Yeshua served all. Are you ready to serve? If not, you will soon become frustrated. Check your heart to see if you are willing to minister to those who are difficult to love.

I have often said, “Leading a fellowship is not for sissies.” It has serious consequences and takes a concerted effort. Better to wait a bit then to rush in. Perhaps it is your call, but not the right season of your life. Take a good inventory of yourself and your life at this time.

If the Messianic Covenant Community can help, please give us a call at 800-874-4MCC. Our collective experience just might be able to support you along the way. Perhaps you are already leading a fellowship and could use some support. The journey can get a bit lonely. It can get down-right hard. Let us help each other walk together, as He gets all the glory.

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