Humans have inborn desire to express themselves. Sharing what is in your heart is the best way to relieve and manage stress. Since House church is where you can share what is in your heart, it is bound to succeed. However, sharing deeply and honestly in house church doesn’t just happen automatically. The right atmosphere has to be first established.
We process facts but we connect with feelings. We need to “feel” first before we can connect. When we share only events and personal updates in house church, it is difficult for members to connect with us. I understand when someone finds it challenging to share their emotions because I also have the same issue. I was brought up in a way that did not promote sharing emotions at all. I got used to keeping things to myself so when we first started house church, it was pretty challenging (and still is). However, sharing our emotion can get better through constant practice. I believe the best way is to share your inner “struggles”.
Everyone has a struggle. We struggle in relationship, discipline, finance and the list goes on. Especially if you are a Christian, you have more standards you feel you don’t measure up to. So sharing your failures is a great place to start if you want people to connect with you because you are simply being ”real”. One of the reasons why Christians are often accused of being hypocritical is that we don’t share our failures. Non-Christians don’t have many problems with teachings of Christ or even sins of Christians. What they do have a problem with is pretension. Let’s be honest – “Who doesn’t fail?”
A couple weeks ago in my house church meeting, I realized that almost everyone was sharing about how they have failed in their relationships that week. My members were sharing their feelings of hate and guilt. Then I was reminded of what James said in James 5:16: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed…” I’ve read this verse many times but I could never understand it because I couldn’t imagine myself confessing my sins to church members after Sunday service. But in house church setting, this makes perfect sense and that’s what I was witnessing on that day. Everyone was honestly sharing their failures and sins, not with bitterness but with thankfulness. They could do it because they felt safe to share it, without being judged.
To create a safe atmosphere that is conducive to honest sharing of “emotion”, Shepherds need to be transparent in their sharing first. When leaders first share their failures and honest feelings, it creates a safe boundary for members. If you are afraid of disappointing people by sharing your failures, let me share a quote from Pastor Craig Groeschel: “People would rather follow a leader who is always REAL than one who is alway RIGHT.”