Agape Home Fellowship-Angleton
House Policies: The Agape Meal and the Gathering
- Operating Principles – We operate under the principles found in Philippians 2:3; 1 Corinthians 11: 20 – 34; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8; 1 Corinthians 14:26, 27. As such:
- We will allow God’s Agape Love to rule our gathering.
- We will “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
- Be lead by the Spirit of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:26, 27).
- We will serve one another and ensure others needs are met before our own (1 Corinthians 11:33).
- 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).
- 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. The host will coordinate this during the week.
- Everyone who is a regular member of the gathering is expected to contribute to the Agape meal.
- 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 not necessarily responsible for the main course. It can be their duty if they so choose. Their main concern is coordination. This can be done the week before or during the week prior to the gathering.
- 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 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.
- All regular members are expected to give freely to the Lord for His Kingdom Work (2 Corinthians 9:7). Please see our giving page, which will give you more information on who the Lord expects you to 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 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 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.
- 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 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.
- No Disruptions – Disruptive behavior is a serious hindrance to our praise, worship, prayer and Bible discussions. Disruptive behaviors come in the form of disruptive children who are crying unconsoled, children who are not disciplined properly or who are causing distractions, or adults who are having conversations not pertinent to the current discussion at hand or who are on their cell phone. These disruptions do not apply during our eating or fellowship times. 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. Disruptive behaviors will be identified by group leadership and those causing disruptions will be warned in love. Remember, we are here for important business: KINGDOM BUSINESS! We are in the presence of the KING of KING! We owe HIM our complete attention and devotion!
- 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 put-downs 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 agrees. 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 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 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.
- Parents are responsible for keeping their children from being disruptive to the group. 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 someone else. What might not be disruptive to the parent (since they are used to their child’s behavior), may be totally distracting to others. 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, or we have been told by the group leaders, we owe it to the group to ensure the child is either disciplined or removed to that they are not 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. Another example would be a child who is not behaving and not minding their parent but is instead making noise and being a distraction during the lesson and prayer time. It is the responsibility of group leadership to identify this disruptive behavior to the parents and then it the parents’ responsibility to discipline their child and to ensure their child is no longer a distraction to the group. If a child continues to be a distraction after three warnings, the family may be asked to leave the fellowship.
- 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).
- 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.