Years ago, Derek Prince introduced me to the concept of 20/20 vision. His revelation came from Acts 20:20b, which speaks of meeting "publicly and house to house." Derek's point was you need both kinds of meetings if you want to experience maximum Christian growth. The public gathering ought to provide more mature fivefold ministry, and the home group more intimate care, sharing and personal ministry.
I believe that with the technological advancements available today, the home group category can include internet groups, as these provide interactive live streaming video and audio, allowing us to see and hear one another share. Group members can give and receive personal prayer ministry, prophetic ministry, healing and deliverance in these internet groups.
My Original Experience With Home Groups
When I established home groups in my church in the 1980s, we took two years and worked our way through the Bible. Today, 40 years later, people from those home groups tell us that those two years were where they gained their foundational knowledge of Scriptures. They read 15 chapters a week, examined Scriptures diligently to answer reflective questions and journaled to hear what God was speaking to them through this section of Scripture. Our home meetings were times of sharing insights and revelations of what God had spoken to each of us. We also prayed for needs that were presented by the group members. We cast out demons, healed the sick and prophesied over one another.
I still hunger to be part of such a group. Close relationships are knit, love and compassion felt, revelation shared and personal needs are met through prayer and helping one another in very practical ways.
Paul Tells Us What These Groups Should Look Like
When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification" (1 Cor. 14:26).
We all know that the one who prepares the lesson is the one who learns the most. Since every member is required to come with something prepared to share, everyone grows at an exponential rate!
Everyone seeks God for a revelation to share. We don't come expecting a lecture, or people offering things off the cuff. We come expecting Spirit-led and Spirit-anointed body ministry where everyone participates and everyone receives.
Spirit-Anointed Teaching Is Where We Practice Truth Together
When I taught at Buffalo School of the Bible, I designed my classes this way. Students were required to come to class with something to share, and that included me, as the instructor. Here are some key definitions to help move us forward with this kind of training:
- Spirit-anointed teacher—The teacher must have a living relationship with the subject at hand (a love, passion and mastery of the area), and invite his students into that relationship, as full partners, to experience their own living relationship with the subject.
- Spirit-anointed teaching—"To teach is to create a space where revelation knowledge is experienced and practiced." (more here)
What Do We Experience in These Spirit Life Gatherings?
- Companionship - A compassionate touch (Matt. 14:14).
- Hearts burning as He opens the Scriptures to us (Luke 24:32).
- Inner healing as Jesus walks through painful memories (Luke 22:54-62; John 21:15-17).
- Dreams interpreted so we receive God's counsel and wisdom (Ps. 16:7).
- Deliverance and freedom as demons are cast out (Mark 16:17).
- Miracles and healing as we pray for one another (1 Cor. 12:28).
- The ninefold expression of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-11).
As a result, the fire of God grows in our hearts and we experience increased personal freedom. The opportunity to practice the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit in this safe setting results in increased boldness to step forward and minister by the Spirit in public settings.
God Has Used Home Groups to Spread Revival
- China's house churches have grown the church from 1 million to 60 million in recent years. (see reference here).
- Wesley's revival was grown through home groups (see reference here). The focus of Wesley's groups was the addressing of sin. I prefer instead that the focus of a Spirit Life Circle be the receiving of revelation from God (Eph. 1:17,18). When His light comes in, sin and darkness flee as a natural byproduct, without me ever having to focus on it. Biblically speaking, my focus is to be on Jesus (Heb. 12:1,2). There is no command to fix my eyes on my sin. We become a reflection of what/whom we focus on. So we choose to focus on Jesus and become a reflection of Him!
- The charismatic movement grew rapidly through home groups which exercised the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their groups.
- Are you experiencing 20/20 vision by meeting both publicly and in a small group?
- Are your groups practicing 1 Corinthians 14:26?
- Click here to discover online Spirit Life Circles you can join that practice 1 Corinthians 14:26
Mark Virkler, Ph.D., has authored more than 50 books in the areas of hearing God's voice and spiritual growth. He is the founder of Communion With God Ministries and Christian Leadership University (cluonline.com), where the voice of God is at the center of every learning experience. Mark has taught on developing intimacy with God and spiritual healing for 30-plus years on six continents. The message has been translated into over 40 languages, and he has helped to establish more than 250 church-centered Bible schools around the world.
This article originally appeared at cwgministries.org.
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