I came home from work at about 5PM today knowing that Josiah’s house church will be meeting at our place and Lynette will be gone teaching pre-marital class elsewhere. Youth house church usually meets at 6:30PM but at about 5:30PM, three students arrived already. I welcomed them and asked them why they came so early. They said they came straight from church after praise team practice. I went inside my bedroom to lie down to rest my eyes for a little while. Then, I started to hear loud noises coming from the living room. They were playing cards. I started to get annoyed. I got up at about 6:20PM to tell them to stop playing cards and get ready for house church and went into the kitchen to see if there was any food. There were two bags of frozen French fries. Great! I asked Josiah if people are bringing any food. He said people will be coming with main dishes and drinks.
A few minutes later, four more students came with food and drinks: two different kinds of fried rice, dumplings and drinks. Then, two more students came without any food. House church, we have a problem! How can this be enough for ten hungry teenagers? They prayed for the meal in the kitchen and started to serve themselves. I prayed for manna and quail from heaven! I got annoyed again.
While they were serving themselves, I quickly went on to the Pizza Hut website and got ready to order two large super supreme pizza. After they were all served, I asked them if the food was enough or if they wanted to get some pizza. They all said they are okay and don’t need extra food. So then, I started to cut up melons that we had in our refrigerator and served them as dessert.
When they were done with the meal, they started to play cards as a way of doing ice breaker. I got more annoyed! But I started to do the dishes in the kitchen waiting to see what will happen next. When they were done with the ice breaker, they started to praise. They sang several praise songs loudly with unbridled youth, enthusiasm and passion. They sounded awesome and beautiful and I almost joined them to praise God. It was that good! And that’s when it all started to come together for me and helped me to realize once again that the way we are doing youth group house church is the way to go and it actually is immensely beneficial for our children.
After finishing doing the dishes, I grabbed the laptop and quietly sat by the dining table in the dark away from them as they were sitting in the living room area. They sort of knew that I was there but not really. And I am writing this as I am listening to their sharing. I am being an invisible man.
After the praise, they did a very short Bible study commenting about Pastor Sam’s message, how good it was. And then, they went on to the time of sharing, talking about how their week went and sharing their prayer requests. Of course, they had a very difficult time staying on track. But they somehow managed to share their week and prayer requests.
There were no adults, only one chaperone, me. But the older students led and the younger students responded to the older students’ leadership. Yes, they are young. Yes, they are immature. And yes, they need to grow up. But as they are learning to serve one another selflessly in their house church, they are growing and they are becoming more mature. They just need to be encouraged and challenged more to reach out to their VIP friends in their schools when school starts because inwardly focused house churches will not last long.
This was the first time that I secretly sat through an entire youth group house church meeting where my children were present. And it was very good. If our teenage children don’t have house church on Saturday evenings, what would they do and where would they be? I remember hanging out with my friends at diners or bowling alleys every Saturday night away from home when I was growing up in New York City before I came to know Christ. But our youth group students are spending their Saturday nights at their house churches learning to share their lives with their house church members, learning to serve others and learning to spread the good news of Jesus with their VIP friends. What more can you ask for?
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