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AGAPE SIMPLE CHURCH HOUSE FELLOWSHIP – WHEN WE MEET
 

Agape Simple Church follows a simple yet biblical approach: Jesus → You for individual accountability and at a corporate/group level Jesus → You → One-to-Another. Elders are present, but receiving, ministering, and sharing in the Lord is not centralized to them only. Jesus’s life could be expressed through all members of the church equally.
 

INDIVIDUALS: Jesus, who is King and holds the highest spiritual office, invited us all to come to Him directly apart from hierarchy structure: Matthew 11:28-30 and JOHN 6:37 NKJV. We have full access to the chief commander, and we can approach Him with boldness and confidence. The chain of relationship is simple, Jesus → You. No tiers. No human hierarchy needed for heavenly access.


CORPORATE/GROUP: Not only did Jesus do away with any hierarchical structure relationship with God and us but he levelled any sense of hierarchy structure existing between our relationships with each brother and sister in the Lord in Matthew 23:8-12, NKJV. What Jesus says in this passage about leadership among believers is contrary to the way traditional church leadership is carried out. Jesus says that we are all on the same level. So we have adopted the Jesus → You → One-to-Another approach to accountability. He is to be our only teacher, pastor, and priest. Brothers and sisters who are stronger in faith are not be called leaders or masters. They are not to be looked upon as ones who hold a position in a hierarchy. Just as there is no hierarchy with the individual accessing God there is also no hierarchy between fellow Christians. None. See our Christ-centred structure below.      

 

As each person come to know God directly and more fully and is discipled by their elder peers, they in turn were encouraged to share the fruit of that relationship amongst the community. Everyone was instructed to love one to another, to serve one to another, minister and teach one to another, and share in the Lord one to another as each one has received the gift: “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”   I Peter 4:11 NKJV.  Agape Simple Church agrees that what is found in the New Testament is an overwhelming persuasive approach not coercive but instead with words such as: appeal, exhort, beg, urge, warn, beseech, and admonish – Romans 12:1, Philemon 1:8, Hebrews 3:13, Titus 2:15, Philippians 4:2, Romans 16:17, I Thessalonians 4:1, Ephesians 4:1, Galatians 5:19-21. 

Agape Simple Church is accountable to Jesus Christ for this local church and is not affiliated with any church denominations or organisations. Jesus did not die for denominations or organizations but for the church. What unites us is that we are One body and One church under Jesus Christ and our identity and membership is with Jesus Christ alone. We do, however, have wonderful partnerships with many like-minded bible-believing churches for which we are grateful for the opportunity to work alongside.

 

Agape Simple Church House Fellowship on Format/Program

Our House Fellowship embrace an open format/program and we don’t exhibit a strict order of worship because our meeting dynamics are fluid. Although we do have a program handed out at the beginning of our meeting, we remain flexible to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Our program is geared to help us in a variety of ways but not used to be strict. Everyone present is encouraged to actively participate, share, and minister Jesus to others. It is a fully participatory experience. We welcome and support those whom God has enabled with special spiritual giftings for the building and edifying of His Church. We also benefit from recognizing experienced and well-seasoned brothers and sisters (elders), from within our church, to share and model their life in Jesus to the community for edification and care. As indicated above, our house church does not exhibit a functional hierarchy. The division of “laity” and “clergy” is non-existent at Agape Simple Church and the conventional roles of traditional leadership are decentralized. Duncan and Rhonda see themselves as equal with everyone because everyone is before the Lord, and among the group, and welcome to share and express Him during the meeting. Our house church produces an atmosphere where the expressive gifts of the Spirit are coveted, encouraged, and able to be shared. Exercising the gifts, to reveal the mind of the Lord for His Church, is focused around providing a benefit/edification to the community. As a house church we rely heavily on the interdependence and discernment on/of the guidance of the Holy Spirit for order and activities in our time together. They affirm that God has placed His Spirit into all believers to abide with, direct, guide, empower, and influences our lives. Both as individuals and together as a group. We seek to give Jesus control over the meeting dynamics as much possible by pursuing corporate sharing that is, by all best attempts, directed by promptings and inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Please see our church’s biblical based simple structure. Within there are elders, deacons and leaders with the sole aim to love God, love others and make disciples.

 

Agape Simple Church House Fellowship on Men and Women Roles


We believe that from the beginning, God’s design for men and women has been for them to both equally and uniquely rule over His creation, working together to fulfil His purposes and to glorify His name (Genesis 1:26-28). This principle continues in the New Testament which describes the exalted position of believing men and women as co-heirs of the grace of Christ and co-recipients of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be used to serve the church and to participate in fulfilling the Great Commission. All believing men and women are therefore called to Christlike maturity and significant kingdom leadership. We also believe that God has reserved certain roles and functions within the church for mature, believing men, namely the role of elder and the function of teaching/preaching when the gathered church worships. Our position therefore most closely aligns with a “Complementarian” interpretation of scripture (men and women have different but complementary roles in the church and home).


What does this mean at Agape Simple Church:-
1. The Bible is God’s Word and is our authoritative guide on all matters it addresses, including the roles of men and women in ministry (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
2. We are careful not to create “man-made laws” or boundaries that go beyond scriptural guidance (Matthew 15:8-9; Colossians 2:20-21).
3. Men and women are both equally made in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27), receive salvation on the same terms (John 3:16), and are included within the church as equals (Galatians 3:28-29).
4. The genders are not interchangeable; each gender has been given unique roles and responsibilities by God (Genesis 1:27; 2:18,23-25; Ephesians 5:21-33).
5. All believers are expected to participate in the prayer, worship and fellowship of our church (Acts 2:42-47). Women should not be separated or excluded from worship services. Note in particular that in the early church women were allowed to publicly participate in the church worship service according to 1 Corinthians 11:5.
6. All believers, male and female, are gifted by the Spirit and expected to use their spiritual gifts for the edification of other believers (Romans 12:4-8; 16:1-7; 1 Corinthians 12). In the early church, this included women praying and prophesying to the gathered church (1 Corinthians 11:1-16; possibly Acts 21:9) and women helping to teach men on an individual basis (Acts 18:26).
7. Agape Simple church respects the role of eldership and deaconship to mature, believing men (1 Corinthians 11:3; Titus 1:6; 1 Timothy 3:2). See also Acts 20:28-31; 1 Corinthians 14:29-38; Titus 1:9; 1 Peter 5:1-4. See this explained in the diagram below fully based on 1 Timothy 3:1-13. 
8. Overall teaching and preaching our fellowship is the responsibility of gifted men as directed by the elders (1 Timothy 2:12). Bible study takes place 3/4 times per month and this is participatory by all in attendance.
9. Everyone who serves, leads or teaches at Agape Simple Church, whether male or female, is to do so in a humble spirit that seeks the unity and edification of the church rather than self promotion (Philippians 2:3-4; 1 Peter 5:5-6).

 

Four Reminders
1. God has gifted both men and women to understand and teach His Word, to care for others in God’s family, to organize and to lead. The only question Biblically is in what sphere those gifts are to be used. God and His church have great use for the gifts and energy of qualified women, but not in the role or responsibility of teaching or leadership over the congregation in general.
2. Being a man does not qualify anyone for leadership in God’s church. Though we believe the Scriptures teach that men are to lead in the church, no one should think that gender alone qualifies a person. The character qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 mean that many or most men in the church are not yet qualified for leadership.
3. The Bible teaches male leadership only in the home and in the church. The Bible does not command male leadership in politics, business, the academic world, the community, and in other such institutions. God has special purposes for both the family and the church that go beyond pragmatism or efficiency.
4. God’s role and responsibility for men in the family and the church are not given because men are more inherently spiritual or gifted. Again, God has special purposes for both the family and the church that go beyond pragmatism or efficiency.

Examples of Women in Ministry in Scripture
Here are some compelling glimpses of women in ministry in the Bible the hierarchical camp needs to consider:
1. Paul was happy to be assisted by a female deacon. Romans 16:1-2:“I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant (diakonos; i.e. deacon) of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.” (NKJV; parentheses added) Phoebe was a woman who Paul refers to here as a deacon (diakonos; servant). Apparently, she had delegated authority to carry out the vision and mission of Paul, her pastor. She wasn’t operating as an authority over the people. But the church in Rome was exhorted to respect the authority of the pastor who commissioned her. Question: What would that look like in your ministry?
2. Philip’s daughters prophesied. Acts 21:9-“Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.” 1 Corinthians 14:3 tells us that prophesy is speaking “edification, exhortation, and comfort to men.” Question: Did God violate 1 Timothy 2:11-13 when He gave these women prophetic words for God’s people? Or does our application of passages like 1 Timothy 2:11-13 need to be questioned in light of verses like Acts 21:9?
3. Paul acknowledged that women prayed and prophesied in the gatherings of the Corinthian church, and he didn’t rebuke them. 1 Corinthians 11:5-“But every woman who prays or prophesies…” The context of 1 Corinthians 11 is the communion dinner. Of all the things people debate about in this passage, what is clear is that women were praying and prophesying in the Corinthian congregation.
4. Paul commanded Titus (another pastor) to facilitate opportunities for the older women to teach younger women about biblical womanhood. Titus 2:3-5: “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in
behaviour, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
5. Priscilla helped her husband explain God’s truth to a young, ambitious church-planter who had some funky doctrine. Acts 18:26-“ So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”

Agape Simple Church House Fellowship on Giving, Tithing and Stewardship 
The Bible has a lot to say about Christians and their money. In fact, the Bible contains more than 2,000 Bible verses on the subject. Time and again, the Bible associates our money with our commitment and relationship to the Lord.
 

WHAT IS GIVING?
The word give has been defined as “to make a present of.” One of the many ways we can help others is to give financially. Through giving, the early church helped one another and invested in what God was doing. Sadly, the concept of giving has become distorted today. Yet our giving is vitally connected to who we are.

 

GIVING IS AN ACT OF WORSHIP
Giving is a spiritual sacrifice and an expression of love and gratitude, because everything we have comes from God (1 Chronicles 29:14). Some people say, “I can’t afford to give!” In reality, we can’t afford not to give. David said that he would not give to the Lord that which cost him nothing (2 Samuel 24:24). No matter what we give to God, what is left will always sustain us better than if we hadn’t given at all.

 

GIVING IS A TEST OF OUR FAITHFULNESS
The way we give indicates a great deal about our spirituality. Our giving reveals our value system. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). God does not ask us to give because He needs our resources. Rather, He challenges us to make Him the focus of our lives instead of our money and possessions.

 

BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR GIVING
Although the Apostle Paul never overemphasized the subject of giving, he never neglected the importance of it, either. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-12, we find specific guidelines for giving: it is also to be a universal practice for believers (v. 1); it is to be done weekly (v.2); it is a personal act (v.2); and it is something we should be prepared to do (v. 2). As we give, God will meet our needs and prosper us (2 Corinthians 9:6-10).

 

MOTIVES FOR GIVING
God promises to bless us if we have the right attitude toward giving (Luke 6:38; Proverbs 3:9-10). However, some people give with the wrong motives. They may give in an attempt to manipulate God, to relieve guilt, to increase self-worth, to achieve recognition, to obtain power, or to gain tax advantages.
However, the Bible instructs us to “let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). The motives that God desires for our giving are to: express our love to Him, please Him, lay up treasures in heaven, and help reach the world for Jesus Christ.

 

THE PRINCIPLE OF STEWARDSHIP
A steward oversees the affairs and property of another person. Stewardship implies that everything we have belongs to God. Being a good steward means to manage our resources well and use them to glorify God.

 

THE PRINCIPLE OF TITHING
Old Testament law required God’s people to give 10 percent of their income, which could include flocks, herds, or crops. This 10 percent was known as a tithe. In addition to the tithe, God’s people were required to give offerings to the Lord for the care of the temple and the salaries of the priests. In the days of Israel, tithing was not voluntary giving. It was demanded as a form of taxation. Is tithing for today? Dr. J. B. Gambrell made this observation: “It is unthinkable from the standpoint of the cross that anyone would give less under grace than the Jews gave under law.” God makes an incredible promise to those who give to His work. He will “open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10-11).

If you desire to give to Agape Simple Church, please remember we are not a charity, all donations/support ARE NOT tax-deductible. Please keep this in mind when supporting our church. Please go to the Contact us page. 

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