Agape Home Fellowship-Angleton
The Agape (Love) Feast
- Operating Principles – We operate under the principles found in 1 Corinthians 11: 20 – 34. As such:
- We will not be gluttons (1 Corinthians 11:21, 22, 34).
- We will eat the meal in connection with the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11: 23 – 26).
- Partaking of communion is important in the Christian life and as such, should be taken seriously. All participants are HIGHLY encouraged to spend Sunday afternoon examining themselves to ensure they do not partake of the Lord’s Supper unworthily (1 Corinthians 11:28, 29).
- We will serve one another and ensure others needs are met before our own (1 Corinthians 11:33).
- Responsibilities – It is the responsibility of all participants to contribute to the Agape Feast. It is not the responsibility of the host family alone. This is a shared responsibility.
- Each participant is responsible for following the menu for any given week.
- Each participant is encouraged to check the supply needs of the group and to help out.
- Each participant is advised to bring enough food for them and their family (on “pot luck” nights).
- The house church host is responsible for ensuring their home is neat and tidy.
- Giving – All participants are reminded that part of giving to the group is to provide for the group’s needs. This is certainly true when it comes to the Agape Meal. Each participant is expected to give of their time, talent and treasure to the group freely…and this is partially fulfilled when we provide food, drink and supplies to each other during the Agape Feast. Bringing food, drinks, supplies and DESERT (!!!) is one way we give.
Time of Gathering
- Our Leadership – As a group, Agape Home Fellowship – Angleton operates under the leadership of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and operates under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. We sing when He says “sing.” We pray when He says “pray.” We discuss when He says “discuss.” We minister when He says “minister.” All is done for the Glory of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
- We Will Share Ownership of the Group – Agape Home Fellowship-Angleton belongs to all of the members, and all of us are responsible for ensuring that the gathering follows the agreements. While group leaders will gently remind members of the agreements if needed, each member also has the right to ask for a “process check” if one of us feels the group needs a reminder on a certain rules and policies.
- We Will Keep Confidentiality – What’s said at AHF – Angleton’s home gathering stays at the home gathering unless permission is given to share with others. We will provide a safe environment for members to share their deepest thoughts when they feel comfortable doing so.
- We Will Start on time – The group will start at the designated time with the eating of the “Agape Meal.” We end when the Spirit says “Go home!” Those in attendance will make every effort to be punctual. It’s a simple matter of respect for the Lord and for others. If a participant needs to leave before the gathering wraps up…they are certainly free to do so. People may leave at any time, as long as they do not disrupt the flow of the gathering.
- We Will Attend Gatherings Consistently – Because consistently participating in the gatherings is key to forming and deepening connections among our members, we all agree to make attendance a high priority. We come to care about each other, and miss those who aren’t here.
- Silencing of Cell Phones – Group members will silence their cells phones. Recognizing the use of cell phones today for online Bible study and Bible Apps, we do not discourage the use of these devices. However, the group asks humbly that all cell phone use is for the purpose of the gathering. If members must talk on their cell phones, they will excuse themselves from the room.
- We Will Remember Discussion Involves Everyone – For the gathering to be effective, everyone needs to participate as a listener and as a speaker. Nobody is to monopolize the conversation. Likewise, everyone is encouraged to share. Part of being a member of the Body of Christ is the edification of your fellow members.
- We Will Remember Our Manners – We will avoid dismissing the thoughts of others, won’t laugh at others when they’ve shared (unless they’ve just told a joke), and there will be no putdowns of any kind.
- We Will Remember It’s OK to Agree to Disagree – One thing we will all agree to is “God’s Word is Truth!” If a thought on an issue differs from the clear teaching of scripture, the participant making the point will be gently reminded of the scripture and carefully guided to the truth that is in God’s Word. Concerning non-scriptural issues: If the group, or members of the group have differing thoughts on an issue, there’s no requirement that everyone agree. We agree to disagree and move on. We operate under the following guidelines: In ESSENTIALS – UNITY; In NON-ESSENTIALS – LIBERTY; In ALL THINGS – GRACE.
- We Will Listen Deeply – We will focus on listening intently and honoring all contributions. We won’t criticize, make judgments about, or offer unsolicited advice to other group members.
- We Will Remember Respect Differences – We won’t judge one another. We will accept the inherent worth and dignity of each member and listen to one another with tolerance and respect. We will practice compassion and acceptance of others. We won’t use hate language.
- We Won’t “Cross-Talk.” – When other members are speaking, we won’t interrupt. In addition, we should refrain from commenting until everyone else has had chance to share (often referred to as no “cross-talk”).
- We Will Maintain the Right of Reticence – If a member doesn’t feel comfortable sharing during a particular part of a gathering, she or he has the right to pass and share later or not at all.
- Children – Children are most welcome at Agape Home Fellowship – Angleton. They are welcome, and encouraged, to participate and worship with the gathering. We believe that children grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord when they see their parents worshiping the Lord through song, prayer, ministry and fellowship. Older men are to be Godly examples to younger men and boys…and older women are to be Godly examples to younger women and girls. We will operate under the following guidelines concerning our children:
- Parents are ultimately responsible for the safety of their children. It is not the responsibility of the house church pastor, elder or host to keep children safe from harm. That is a parent’s job. All efforts will be taken to protect the safety of children at all times by all members of the gathering. However, this responsibility ultimately lies at the feet of the parents or guardian. If a member of the group sees a child in an unsafe situation, they will 1) Intervene and 2) Notify the parent IMMEDIATELY.
- Two Adult Rule – The “Two‐Adult Rule” states that there must always be two non‐related adults present when supervising one or more children if a parent or legal guardian is not present. This rule is designed for the safety of children as well as adults.
- Parents are ultimately responsible for the discipline of their children. While it is the responsibility of every adult to present a Godly example to our progeny, it is not the responsibility of the group to raise or discipline any child other than their own.
- All children are a blessing from God, but not all children are raised the same. What might be “no big deal” for one person could be “totally disruptive” to another. Parents are responsible for keeping their children from being disruptive to the group. What might not be disruptive to the parent (since they are used to their child), may be totally distracting to someone else. When it comes to this dynamic of the group, we will operate under the principle: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3. If we have the slightest indication that others are distracted by our child’s behavior, we owe it to the group to remove the child from the group until such a time they are no longer a distraction. An example of this is a child that is crying and cannot be consoled during prayer time. The parent, even though they too wish to pray, should quietly remove themselves from the room until such a time the child can be consoled.
- Likewise, those participants without small children of their own will operate under the same scriptural principle (Philippians 2:3) but will also follow the guiding scripture found in Ephesians 4:1 – 3: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”…remembering “Love bears ALL things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).